On September 30, in partnership with the African Philanthropy Forum and the Higherlife Foundation, the Nnabagereka Development Foundation hosted a breakfast for potential and emerging philanthropists in Uganda. This event, the first of its kind in Uganda, drew over 100 stakeholders, and was organized through the generous support of UN Women.
In her opening remarks, Elizabeth Lwanga, the chair of the organizing committee, explained the vision of the forum: growing philanthropy in Uganda, strengthening those that give and mobilizing the many others that have the potential to give. She explained that despite the remarkable economic growth that Uganda has experienced over the past decade, there were still significant disparities among the rural populations and urban poor. Lwanga noted that philanthropy could contribute to the goal of inclusive growth and sustainable development in the country.
Ndidi Nwuneli, Director of the African Philanthropy Forum expressed her delight with the gathering and the efforts that Her Royal Highness, Queen Sylvia Nagginda and her team had put into organizing a world-class convening. She provided an overview of APF and its activities and underscored the organization’s commitment to supporting the growth and deepening of philanthropy in Uganda.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa, the co-Founder of the Higherlife Foundation served as the keynote speaker. She provided an in-depth presentation on the impetus for the Higherlife Foundation, its mission, vision, programs and impact. Initially propelled by a desire to support workers and their families affected by the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Zimbabwe in 1996, the Foundation has evolved into one of the largest scholarship programs in Africa, and has directly and indirectly supported over 250,000 children to fulfill their potential through education. In addition, through innovations such as the Muzinda Hub and Ruzivo, the Foundation is providing digital skills development and entrepreneurship, as well as e-learning tools in partnership with Econet Wireless, Liquid Telecom and Kwese to over 100,000 youth. Masiyiwa ended her speech by challenging the business leaders and philanthropists present to redefine their approach to philanthropy in order to move the needle and build sustainable models that benefit businesses, governments and African Communities.
Following Masiyiwa’s inspiring presentation, four Ugandans engaged in philanthropy shared their personal stories. They included: Robert Kabushenga, the CEO of the Vision Group, the largest media house in Uganda. Kabushenga actively engages young people across the country to become effective leaders and entrepreneurs; Angella Katatumba, a singer, who through her music and performances has provided resources to fight the scourge of cancer in Uganda; Juliana Omalla, an entrepreneur working in the agriculture and food processing landscape, who has empowered women farmers and transformed communities; and Jamil Sewanyana, representing Buganda Prince Kassim Nakibinge, the Secretary General of the Young Men Muslim Association, whose family donated 80 Acres of land in the center of Kampala, 76 years ago. This land was transformed into a campus that includes preschools, primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions as well as hospitals, all focused on providing social services for the people in the community. Through their stories, these four speakers demonstrated the catalytic role that philanthropy can play in different sectors of a community.
Hodan Addou, Country Representative of UN Women also expressed her delight with the convening and the critical role that philanthropists and the private sector can play in supporting the implementation of the SGDs in Uganda. She commended the Nnabagereka Development Foundation for its vision and commitment to the advancement of women and girls, and broad-based development in the country.
Dr. Jeff Mukasa Sebuyira, the chair of the Nnabagereka Development Foundation, who introduced Her Royal Highness, Queen Sylvia Nagginda, applauded her vision, passion and the Foundation’s activities and impact to-date.
Queen Sylvia Nagginda then provided a rousing speech about the depth of philanthropy rooted in African culture – Ubuntu in Zulu, and obuntu-bulamu in Luganda, which translated means “humanity towards others.” She explained the role that philanthropists play in communities as change agents. Through their effective deployment of financial and human resources they have the ability to shape policy, provide patient and risk capital, and serve as catalysts. She underscored the importance of strengthening the impact of philanthropy in Uganda and across Africa and called on the Ugandan private sector and those with the potential to give to collaborate to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Pragmo, a leading Ugandan musician and philanthropist closed the event with a soulful rendition of the Ugandan National Anthem, as well as the Buganda Anthem.