HOW PATRICIA MAWULI- PORTER BECAME GHANA’S FIRST FEMALE CIVILIAN PILOT
John Quincy Adams painted perseverance with his words, “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” Patricia’s impactful journey started about eleven years ago, when she went to seek for a job at the Kpong Aireld in Eastern Region of Ghana but little did she know that she will be the country’s first female civilian pilot in two years after and now the only West Africa’s first woman certified to build and maintain Rotax aircraft engines
31-year-old Ghanaian aircraft mechanic and only female flight instructor in West Africa, Patricia Mawuli-Porter has broken gender barriers by rising from clearing tree trunks for free to becoming the director of an academy called AV-Tech that provides young Ghanaian girls with the skills, training and inspiration to become pilots.
Patricia Mawuli grew up in a mud shack in Ghana’s bush country. As a young girl, she would wistfully watch the planes pass overhead, wishing one day to fly one herself.
In 2007, at the age of 21, she decided to break into the boy’s club that is Ghana’s flight industry. She walked to Kpong Airfield and asked for job.
“I (told) her no, we don’t employ women,” recalls Jonathan Porter, the airfield’s technical director. Mawuli was persistent, however, and when she offered her services for free, he couldn’t resist giving her a trial. He gave her a machete and told her to clear tree trunks. To his surprise, she flourished. “She used her head, not just her muscles,” he recalls. “She thought about how she did things and took out the trees better than the men.”
With persistence and determination, Patricia Mawuli- Porter attained this great milestone and the technical director of the Kpong Airfield, Jonathan Porter, who later became her husband taught her all that she knows about aviation.
Her words to CNN in an interview was, “I said: ‘I will do whatever it takes, I’ll work hard, you don’t have to pay me.’ They told me: ‘Don’t worry. You are so different. You’ve got energy, you have potential. We will do whatever it takes.’ This is when my whole flying career just started to boom,”
This amazing game changer is the co-founder of Medicine On The Move, (MoM), a local NGO that works together with the Aviation Academy to transport doctors, deliver medical supplies and services, as well as health education to rural communities across the length and breadth of Ghana.