The actress and James Franco were savaged by critics after the 2011 Oscars - and Hathaway feared the onslaught and opted to work with a children's charity far away from the media attacks.
Hathaway admits the trip was the best thing she could have done - because it put the dramas of the Oscars into perspective.
She tells America's Interview magazine, ""Almost immediately afterwards, I went to Africa for the first time with an initiative that I work with called The Girl Effect, and I just realised that all these feelings that I was having, maybe even the negative ones, were a privilege to be had, and that good, bad, middling, whatever the Oscars were... I mean, I met a woman on this trip who got married at the age of five.
""A lot of people are now coming out against underage marriage, so many of these young girls are now getting educated and lives in these villages are improving. So I went from the most over-the-top, glamorous, grand experience to watching these girls from the age of seven to probably 16 who had written a very involved skit, which they excellently performed, on why underage marriage is bad and the problems that it causes. That experience just knocked my head absolutely into the right place.
""It motivates you, especially when you think about how much attention the Oscars gets, and then you see people who don't receive a lot of attention, but quite frankly could use some.""