First name / Last name
Natasha Annie Tonthola
fields of expertise
Child, women rights, youth and gender Activist (Charity and humanitarian)
I´m constantly looking for
innovation that will switch women globally from disposable sanitary products to Eco- friendly reusable, washable sanitary products
Natasha Annie Tonthola is a 28- year old Malawian child, women rights, gender and youth activist. In order to achieve this she established a Non-Profit Organization called Mama Africa Foundation Trust in 2011. Mama Africa Foundation Trust focuses on workplace and household gender related issues; empowering the youth and women economically by giving them adaptive tools and skills for sustainable livelihood in the communities they live in.
She holds Diplomas in HIV/AIDS and Nutrition, in Community Development,Business Management and in Fashion designing.
Certificates in HIV Testing & and Counseling (HTC) in T.V presentation, and Cosmetology.
In 2013 Natasha was elected good will ambassador (for girls with physical disabilities) by Kachere Rehabilitation Center, a national framework which supports and cares for people living with physical disabilities.
From 2013- to currently Natasha campaigs for girl rights; she conducted 70 Primary school outreach programmes to sensitive girls against early marriages, school dropout, drug and substance abuse, how to cope with adolescent age, (sexual reproductive health education) career talks and HIV /AIDS. In this activities she involves the traditional leaders, parents, boys and teachers. Sixty thousand girls were reached across the country during the campaign.
Natasha has vast experience in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, home based support and counseling coupled with years of experience in community based outreach programmes in the areas aforementioned. The above undertakings gave Natasha incentive and establish her as a complete model and the voice of the voiceless.
Her passion to work for girl child, vulnerable children, women and the youth goes unchallenged beyond measure. She is optimistic that African children and women will be liberated from the social evil challenges. She continues to inspire thousands of women who have been abused and continue to be victims in our society.
Being herself an orphan and a victim of early marriage, school dropout, early pregnancy and gender based violence. Natasha relives her past with renewed resolve and optimism. She is a mother who cares for her extended family of fifteen people in her home. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has not spared her family just like most families in Malawi and the Sub- Saharan region. Natasha hopes to be the servant of the people by serving them as the face and the voice of the voiceless in Malawi and beyond
Natasha is a loyal, talented and a caring person who loves to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, youth and women. She has excellent ability to remain unflappable even when under pressure. She is mature and hardworking. She strives to achieve the highest standard of responsibility at any engagement. She has excellent communication skills; she is able to relate to a wide range of people in a problem solving situations.
From 2012 to currently Natasha is implementing a Dignity project to keep girls in school. She designed ladies panties and washable pads to make sure that girls do not miss classes during menstruation and do not drop out of school due to lack of appropriate sanitary wear. She has so far managed to identify 300 marginalized girls across the country in all the 28 districts in Malawi and are the benificiaries of the project. She has also designed washable diapers to sustain the environment. The washable pads and diapers will contribute 100% to the fight of climate change and global challenge of waste management services and landfills as the washable pads and diapers are Eco-friendly and biodegradable as compared to disposable sanitary products which are hazardous to human health and dangerous to environment as they contain chemicals such as Dioxin and they do not biodegrade.
Disposable pads are expensive, particularly to the environment. At the rate of 4 per day, 6 -7 days a month, 12 months a year, for over 35 years, an average woman will be throwing away about 10,000 pads or tampons in her life as well as their plastic packaging. These are then either incinerated (bad for air quality) or put into land fill (where they will take 500 years to break down), during this process they release toxic chemicals into the earth. The pads are made up of super-absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs), surfactant-laced gels and leak proof plastic backings.The long term impact of these things on both the environment and our health is largely unknown. In the U.S., alone * more than one billion tons of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on cotton crops every year. Many of these pesticides can damage the nervous system, lead to cancer or function as hormone disruptors. Therefore it is no big surprise that conventional disposable products are contributing greatly to the waste problem that we are now facing. By switching to reusable menstrual products we can eliminate a vast amount of waste during a woman’s lifetime. Natasha’s dream is to make Young girls and women menstruate GREEN.
In 2015 on the 4th of December, Natasha through Mama Africa Foundation Trust
(MAFT) officially launched the campaign to keep girls in school on a national level the guest of honour was Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Hon, Patricia Kaliati M.P. The purpose for the launch was to raise awareness, advocate and fundraise for washable sanitary pads to keep girls in school.
This year Natasha got her first nomination for Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel Civicus innovation awards under youth Activist for her efforts to liberate a girl child is one of the 5 shortlisted in this category out of the 107 entries who were nominated. http://youcanbethechange.com/youth-nominations/1210-natasha-annie-tonthola