Graça Machel

Business Leader, Politician

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Graça Machel is the founder and President of the Graça Machel Trust and is a renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights. She is also the President of the Foundation for Community Development (FDC), a not-for-profit organisation she founded in 1994. She is married to South African president Nelson Mandela.

The Graça Machel Trust was established in 2010 to enable Mrs Machel to continue her work with women and children’s rights and initiatives to support democracy and good governance in Africa. The FDC makes grants to civil society organisations to strengthen communities, facilitate social and economic justice and assist in the reconstruction and development of post-war Mozambique.

Mrs Machel’s many awards include the Laureate of Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger from the Hunger Project in 1992, and the Nansen Medal in recognition of her contribution to the welfare of refugee children in 1995. She has also received the Inter Press Service’s (IPS) International Achievement Award for her work on behalf of children internationally, the Africare Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe.

As Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique from 1975 to 1989, Mrs Machel was responsible for overseeing an increase in primary school enrolment from 40% of children in 1975 to over 90% of boys and 75% of girls by 1989. 

She is presently a board member of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization Fund (GAVI Fund), Chancellor of the University of Cape Town (South Africa), a panel member of the Africa Progress Panel, Member of The Elders and Member of the High Level Task Force on Innovative International Finance for Health Systems.