Malawi’s Other Banda

Memory Banda–Rise Up Advisory Board Member & Girl Leader–not yet 20–has spent the past few years of her young life in Malawi campaigning against child marriage. Her efforts are paying off. Read more about her journey in this Forbes Women Africa article.

The Period Comics We Wish We Had When We Were Going Through Puberty

Rise Up Youth Champion & Pakistani sexual-health activist Samreen Shahbaz launched Menstrual Matters Comics in partnership with CFx Comics to provide a non-threatening, positive, accessible way for kids to learn about periods.

Photo Essay: Acting and Chatting to End Early Marriage in Malawi

Despite the significant step forward by the Malawian government in raising the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18, Faith Phiri, Executive Director of Rise Up partner Girls Empowerment Network, talks about the work that must still be done to ensure elimination of the issue.

What Life Is Like When A Girl Marries At 11

Memory Banda, 19, was inspired to help end child marriage in Malawi after her sister was impregnated by a man at an initiation camp and forced to marry him.

Memory Banda shares her fearless journey to stand up against child marriage

On the second day of Mashable‘s seventh-annual Social Good Summit in New York, Banda, now 18 years old, spoke on stage with Denise Dunning, founder and executive director of Rise Up. She shared details about her fearless journey to stand up for herself and the rights of other girls.

TEDWomen Update: Memory Banda and a warrior’s cry against child marriage

Over the years, we’ve had so many wonderful and moving talks at the TEDWomen conference, but perhaps one of the most striking was Malawi activist Memory Banda. The amazing 18-year-old presented at last year’s event – and inspired us all with her story.

Staying Above Water: How One New Orleans Native is Fighting for Her City in Hurricane Katrina’s Long Wake

Rise Up Youth Champion Nakita Shavers talks with Family Planning Voices about the population, health and environmental struggles faced by communities in the United States.

Reaching and Teaching Ethiopia’s Girls Through TV

News Deeply’s Women and Girls Hub sits down with Rise Up Youth Champion Tinbit Daniel to discuss how her innovative TV and radio shows are improving literacy rates among Ethiopian youth.

Love Matters: India’s Anti-Violence Sex Advice Site

News Deeply talks to Rise Up Youth Champion Gayatri Parameswaran, a member of a group of young Indian journalists and experts bringing sex advice to the country’s 520 million Hindi-speakers with Love Matters, the first website of its kind.

Girls’ Globe Impact Series Part II: An Interview with Francesca Adeola Abiola, a Youth Champion for Women and Girls

Rise Up speaks with Francesca Adeola Abiola, Program Officer, Action Health Incorporated, Nigeria and Rise Up Champions for Change leader.

Girls’ Globe Impact Series Part I: An Interview with Wale Adeleye, a Youth Champion for RMNCAH in Nigeria

Rise Up speaks with Wale Adeleye, National Coordinator, Civil Society for Family Planning, Abuja, Nigeria and Champions for Change leader.

Skoll World Forum – Investing in Girls Yields Big Returns

In this article, girl leader Memory Banda discusses the importance of investing in girls and their allies as an effective strategy to improve laws, policies, funding, and programs for girls.

New York Times – Op Ed -Girl, 15, addresses UN commission

Denise Dunning, Executive Director of Rise Up and Michele Moloney-Kitts of Together for Girls teamed up at CSW to support the Girl Declaration, a post-2015 agenda that champions the rights, hopes, and dreams of girls everywhere. This article highlights three reasons why the global community must invest in young women to ensure that girls’ rights are a priority.

NPR – If These Two Teenagers Ran The World, We’d All Jump For Joy

In this article Rise Up girl leaders Memory and Achie talk about how tough it is to be young and female in Africa.

PRI – Memory Banda Escaped Child Marriage in Malawi, But Her 11-year-old Sister Wasn’t So Lucky

This article features Malawian Girl Leader Memory Banda. Memory has been advocating for the passage of the Child Marriage Law in Malawi alongside Rise Up Grantee GENET. She shares why she is an advocate for girls and the personal struggles propelling her work.

NPR – Meet The 15-Year-Old From Rural Guatemala Who Addressed The U.N.

Guatemalan girl leader Emelin spoke at the UN Commission on the Status of Women alongside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Melinda Gates about the obstacles girls face in her community and how she and Elba persuaded the mayor to implement and fund policies to help.

Saving the Lives of Mothers and Babies – Conversations from Women Deliver 2016!

Girls’ Globe talks to leaders working to save lives of mothers and babies at Women Deliver, including Rise Up Executive Director Denise Dunning. Denise shares her near-death experience giving birth to her son and the experiences of women worldwide, who haven’t been as lucky as she.

The Guardian – How girl activists helped to ban child marriage in Malawi

Denise Dunning and Joyce Mkandawire explain how advocates secured the law banning child marriage in Malawi and why this law is a game-changer for girls everywhere.

Teenage girls in southern Malawi reject ‘sexual cleansing’

Rise Up Executive Director Denise Dunning and GENET’s Joyce Mkandawire highlight how local organizations are helping girls speak out so communities can abandon child marriage and other harmful practices.

The Guardian – Aids, Pregnancy and the Church: Young Hondurans Take a Stand

Carlisle J Levine in Arlington and Vanessa Siliezar in La Ceiba write about the Honduran Coalition in Honduras. The Coalition is working to lower the rates of aids and pregnancy in a country where religion is contributing to high rates.

Origin Magazine – A Conversation with Denise Dunning

An intimate interview with Executive Director Denise Dunning about what motivates her to advocate for and with adolescent girls. The article describes the work of Rise Up and highlights how readers can get involved.

Christian Science Monitor – Denise Dunning Unlocks Girl Power Through Let Girls Lead

Stacy Khadaroo writes about how social entrepreneurs are transforming their societies with the help of Rise Up, which offers training and support to foster a global girls’ movement.

Forbes – A Teen Girl’s Secret to Finding Real Power? Fix Something That’s Broken

An interview with Elba Graciela Velásquez Hernández, star of the powerful documentary PODER, about the most pressing issues of the day and how she plans to address them.

The Guardian – First the Mayor, Then the world – The Power of Telling Stories

It might not be data-driven and it’s definitely subjective, but enabling girls to tell the stories of the obstacles they face can change community attitudes and policy.

Forbes – What Happens When We Let Girls Lead?

An interview with Denise Dunning about her opinions on the challenges facing our world today and her proposed solutions.

Ms. Magazine – Victory for Public Health in Nigeria

Champions for Change Country Representative Theresa Kaka Effa describes her journey to get the National Health Bill in Nigeria passed to ensure that women have access to better health care services.

Huffington Post – Why Are Women & Children Still Dying?

Rise Up Executive Director Denise Dunning announces the launch of the Champions for Change workshop in Nigeria, asks important questions about maternal morbidity and highlights unique strengths that C4C brings to the RMNCH field in Nigeria.

The Nation – Raising Champions for Change

Journalist David Lawal writes about the highlights and purpose of the inaugural Champion Series workshop that took place in Lagos in November 2014.

The Daily Trust – Champions for Change: A New Dawn

Contributor Aminu Magashi writes about the history of maternal, newborn & child health in Nigeria and the excitement following the launch of new initiative Champions for Change.

Press Releases

Rise Up Advocates for Girls, Youth and Women at the United Nations – 9/2/16

Rise Up girl leader Memory Banda speaks at the Social Good Summit and Clinton Global Initiative during United Nations General Assembly week 2016.

Rise Up Advocates for Girls and Young Women at United Nations – 3/11/16

Rise Up leaders from Africa and the United States make their voices heard at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.


Emerita, Rise Up’s Honduras Country Representative, on 45TV Chanel in La Ceiba (en español)

Emerita is interviewed by Nicolle Cerrat, girl major, on the daily show Cada Mañana in her segment Educando a Papa. The interview focuses on letting girls lead and balancing gender roles starting in the household.

SF Girls Festival Interview with Comcast

In an interview by Comcast, Rise Up Program Coordinator, Claudia Romeu talks about the advocacy workshop held by Rise Up at the first annual World Wide Women’s Girls Festival.

The Power of Youth – Girls and Boys – to Achieve the Global Goals

Rise Up Girl Leader, Achie Gezahegne Gebre talks about the importance of listening to and investing in youth alongside UN Foundation President & CEO, Kathy Calvin at the World Government Summit.

The Malawi Teen Fighting Sex Initiation Customs

Rise Up Girl Leader, Memory Banda talks about fighting against the age-old custom in Malawi of sending girls to so-called “initiation camps” after they start their first period as part of a regular series on African Women You Need to Know by BBC.

Investing in Girls – Denise Dunning on Full Frame

Denise Dunning talks to Mike Walter on Full Frame, CCTV America, about Rise Up’s work to transform the lives of girls, youth and women around the globe.

Clinton Global Initiative — Memory Banda and Chelsea Clinton

During the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative, Rise Up Girl Leader Memory Banda was interviewed by Chelsea Clinton. She talks about why girls end up in child marriage and her campaign culminating in the 2015 national law banning this traditional practice in Malawi.

Social Good Summit – Memory Banda and Denise Dunning

During the 2016 Social Good Summit, Rise Up Girl Leader Memory Banda talks with Rise Up Executive Director Denise Dunning. She shares her powerful work with girls and cites the 2015 landmark law that ended child marriage in Malawi. Watch the video here

Women Deliver +Social Good: Ambassador Catherine Russell & Tinbit Daniel

Rise Up Youth Champion Tinbit Daniel was interviewed by Ambassador Catherine Russell at +Social Good 2016. She talks about her work evolving gender roles in Ethiopia and leading video workshops for girls.

Al Jazeera America – Dr. Denise Dunning

Rise Up Executive Director Denise Dunning tells Al Jazeera America about a new law that increases the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18, representing a victory for Malawian girls. Watch the video here.

LGL Girl Leaders on Al Jazeera!

Memory, Achie, and Emelin join LGL’s Executive Director Denise Dunning to discuss issues facing girls around the world in this powerful interview, which aired during UN CSW 2015.

Denise Dunning Speaks at HWC +SG

Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, of Espolea, Melissa Kubvoruno, Youth Delegate to the African Union, Denise Dunning, of Rise Up, and Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, of World YWCA, speak together onstage at the Health Women & Children +SocialGood event in South Africa. Denise Dunning’s speech is at minute 4:06.

Memory Banda and Graca Machel at the Skoll World Forum

Let Girls Lead advocate, 18-year old Memory Banda from Malawi, took the stage alongside Graca Machel and Mabel van Oranje at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford. Memory spoke of her powerful work to end child marriage.

Media Advocacy – Champions for Change

Champions for Change supports Nigerian advocacy for RMNCAH. As Obinna-Nojoku explains, one factor that may contribute to Nigeria’s rising crime among youth is the wide gap between education and jobs.