Graca Machel

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Mrs. Graça Machel "is a renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. As Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique (1975-1989) she was responsible for overseeing an increase in primary school enrolment from 40 per cent of children in 1975 to over 90 per cent of boys and 75 per cent of girls by 1989.

"Graça Machel is President of the Foundation for Community Development, a not for profit organisation she founded in 1994. 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.

"In 1994, the Secretary General of the United Nations appointed her as an independent expert to carry out an assessment of the impact of armed conflict on children. Her groundbreaking report was presented in 1996 and established a new and innovative agenda for the comprehensive protection of children caught up in war, changing the policy and practice of governments, UN agencies, and international and national civil society.

"Over the years, Mrs. Machel has gained international recognition for her achievements. Her 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 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, amongst others.

"Graça Machel’s first husband, Samora Machel, inaugural President of Mozambique, was killed in a plane crash in 1986. She wed former South African President Nelson Mandela in 1998.

"Graça Machel has served on the boards of numerous international organisations, including the UN Foundation, the Forum of African Women Educationalists, the African Leadership Forum and the International Crisis Group. Amongst her many current commitments, she is Chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization Fund, Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, South Africa and Panel Member of the African Peer Review Mechanism." [1]

"In the late 1970s, President Samora Machel invited David Rockefeller to Mozambique to discuss the government's opening to relations with the West. With Rockefeller was his daughter Peggy Dulany, who became friends with the President and his wife Graça Machel. When President Machel died in a plane crash in 1986, Dulany, who spoke Portuguese, flew to the funeral in the capital city of Maputo to be with her friend.

"In 1990, Mrs. Machel was Mozambique's Minister of Education. When she left that post, the "mother of the country" formed an indigenous nongovernmental organization (NGO) -- the Association for Community Development (ADC). At that time, the only NGOs in the country were foreign. She contacted Dulany, who had founded Synergos in 1986, to talk over the idea." [2]


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Related Sourcewatch


  1. Graca Machel, ACCORD, accessed September 5, 2007.
  2. Achievements in Mozambique, Synergos, accessed September 10, 2007.
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