The Foundation was established after the launching of its first initiative known as the “Mkapa Fellows Programme” in July 2005. The Programme of Mkapa Fellows was initiated by the Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E Benjamin William Mkapa and the Former President of the United States of America, H.E. William Jefferson Clinton in July 2005, through the financial support of the Government of the Royal Kingdom of Norway. The Fellows Programme aim was to accelerate HIV/AIDS services, through addressing the shortage of skilled health professionals in rural underserved settings.
The Foundation prior to having in place a full time Management team it was under the interim guidance of the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) of the Clinton Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health, Community, Development, Gender, Seniors and Children.
As from November 2006, the Mkapa Foundation gradually began recruitment of the Management team and staff. Collaboratively the Board of Trustees, Management and Staff proceeded undertaking and expanding into various initiatives that focus on addressing Human Resource for Health challenges and accelerating HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment services, as well as Maternal and Newborn health services within Tanzania.
As the Foundation grows its shifted its focus from implementing initiatives that a focused on strengthening HIV/AIDS service delivery and Health System, particular Human Resource for Health (HRH) to focusing on implementing beyond HIV/AIDS. Therefore resulted into the change of name to “The Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation (BMF)”