Jeannette Kagame wins the African Woman of Excellence Award
Written by: George Kalisa
Sunday, September 30th, 2018, 0:09
Rwanda’s First Lady H.E Mrs Jeannette Kagame was September30 awarded the African Woman of Excellence Award in honour of her commitment, drive for excellence and overall contribution to Africa’s development. Rwanda’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Vincent Karega received the prestigious award on her behalf at a colorful ceremony.
Madam Kagame through her twitter account thanked everyone for the supportive messages, adding that the award serves as an encouragement not only to herself but to all women in their continuous fight for what they believe in for the benefit of African people.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your supportive messages. Receiving the African Women of Excellence Award is an honour and serves as encouragement not only to myself, but to all women to continue fighting for what they believe in, for the benefit of our people,” said Mrs Kagame.
By press time congratulatory messages were pouring in from all corners of the African Continent and beyond.
Mrs. Jeannette Kagame has through her energy, office and rare devotion given a beacon of hope for a better future to tens of thousands of young Rwandans and millions of people the world over who had lived in helpless desperation.
She is a founding member of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in 2002 and served as the organisation President from 2004 – 2006.
In recognition of her relentless contribution in 2007, Mrs. Kagame was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the High Representative of the Africa AIDS Vaccine Program (AAVP) to ensure the active participation of African stakeholders in all areas of HIV and AIDS research and development.
In 2008, Jeannette Kagame was named Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance – Rwanda Chapter, an initiative dedicated to ending maternal and infant mortality. In 2010, the World Food Program (WFP) appointed her Special Representative on Child Nutrition. In 2013 she was elected Vice President of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA).
Madam Jeannette Kagame boasts of an endless list of activities through which millions of people that see a true and passionate mother in her as well as source of inspiration have found meaning to life.
She has so far taken thousands of young Rwandan girls and abandoned children under her wings through different pro-poor and pro-needy initiatives under the Imbuto Foundation a non-profit and purely humanitarian organization she founded in the time when many thirsted for help after the country had been devastated beyond repair by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In 2001, Protection and Care of Families against HIV/AIDS (PACFA) was established as a project under the Office of the First Lady, to mobilize resources desperately needed in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This initiative primarily focused on providing a holistic approach for dignified lives of families, including women deliberately infected with HIV/AIDS during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Over the years, PACFA grew to embrace more programmes and in 2007, it changed its name to Imbuto Foundation to reflect its evolution and new fields of activity, through programmes in health, education, youth and economic empowerment.
Currently, more than 3,000 formerly desperate and abandoned children receive parental care and education under the network codenamed Malayika Murinzi [Guardian angels]. She finds them foster parents who through adoption give them parental love and care.
In 2005, Imbuto Foundation launched the Promotion of Girls’ Education Campaign (PGEC). The campaign rewards Inkubito z’Icyeza or Best Performing Girls (BPGs) in different school cycles from around the nation.
Since the launch of the campaign for the girl-child education Imbuto Foundation has awarded over 4,438 girls as of March 2017.
In 2013, Jeannette Kagame launched the Early Childhood Development and Family (ECD&F) programme, as a means to support the holistic development of children aged 0 – 6 years old.
The project aims to increase knowledge on HIV prevention and improve sexual reproductive health among youth aged 15-24, promote positive behaviour by uplifting Rwandan values, and create a network of peer educators at district level to raise awareness. The project is implemented through 14 youth-led community-based organizations in 10 districts.
She ignites young people through the Innovation Accelerator - an initiative implemented by Imbuto Foundation and UNFPA with funding from UK aid.
The Innovation Accelerator (iAccelerator) is a mentorship-driven acceleration programme, which aims to promote an entrepreneurial spirit among young people, and encourages them to think critically and creatively on issues related to sexual and reproductive health.
Also, Jeannette Kagame is the brainchild of the mentorship programme that was created as a means of guiding young genocide survivors by pairing them with mentors. This programme provides life skills through youth conversations on various topics such as, financial fitness, career guidance, patriotism, and leadership skills.