Ms. Elisa Muianga

Acting Head of Office and Project Officer


As the eldest of six girls, there was always an expectation that I would be a model for my younger sisters. My father was a service worker who taught us that if we wanted to succeed in life we should put our emphasis on education. He inspired us by his example: he worked as a waiter by day and at night he attended school. My mother who started to work very early in a cashew nut factory also believed in education. After independence in 1975, so many of the teachers, doctors, nurses and other professionals went to Portugal that my generation had to cover the gaps. When I turned 18 years old, I had to become a teacher because of the gap left by those who immigrated to Portugal. I was sent to the provinces far from my family. At 21, I got married and continued to teach. I have two children and three grandchildren whose education I support. When the public university—Eduardo Mondlane University— reopened, I applied to study history at night, while during the daytime I was still teaching. During my studies, I was invited to work at that University as an assistant for a regional programme called Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA). They encouraged me to apply for a Kellogg Foundation fellowship. KSAL support enabled me to get my Master’s in Social Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand. The topic of my thesis was A Comparative Study of Associations of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Mozambique: The Case of Maputo, Manica and Zambeze Provinces. Today, I head the Maputo office of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa. AWEPA works in partnership with African parliaments to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Africa, keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe, and facilitate African-European parliamentary dialogue. I am grateful for the values given me by my parents and also for the opportunities given me by the Kellogg Foundation to increase my knowledge and leadership skills.