14th July 2021- DAR ES SALAAM
Your Excellency, Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
Your Excellency Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar;
Your Excellencies Former Presidents of the United Republic of Tanzania and Former Presidents of Zanzibar;
Your Excellencies Former Heads of State and Governments and friends of Late Former President Benjamin William Mkapa;
Mama Anne Mkapa; Widow of the Late President Benjamin William Mkapa;
Honourable Ministers of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar;
Members of Diplomatic Corps;
Our Esteemed Partners,
Trustees of the Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation Board of Trustees
Representatives from the Private Sector and the Non- State Actors,
Family and Friends;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am standing here on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Mkapa Foundation to once again thank you for honoring us with your presence in commemorating our beloved Settlor and Founder of this Foundation, His Excellency Late Benjamin William Mkapa.
I happened by the accident of history to be the first Chair of the Board of Trustee after the death of the Founder and Settlor. What is even trembling, is the fact that I did not see it coming anytime soon. It was so comforting to be the Chair of this great Foundation knowing that I have a heavy weight Settlor on my back in the name of President Benjamin William Mkapa. I could consult with him anytime and reach out to his guidance and wisdom all the time. You can imagine how devastated I was and how empty I felt to have lost him that sudden. A year after his death, I have yet to recover.
Fortunately, Late Former President Benjamin Mkapa was a visionary man. He believed so much in institution than persona. For that reason, earlier on, he entrusted the Board with the governing function. Little did we know then, he was preparing us to endure and sustain this Foundation beyond his physical presence. A year after, we thank him for his foresight and vision. He prepared us so well to carry over from where he ended. We are ready and determined to match ahead, tall and bold. We will follow his footstep and sustain his legacy to our children, children’s children, and children after them.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,
A lot has been achieved by this Foundation in the past 15 years of our existence. This is evident in numbers and in impact. About 537 health infrastructures at different facilities countrywide have been built and rehabilitation. These facilities have been built in far and hard to reach areas which otherwise would have been left out. By doing so, we have increased and improved access to quality health care for women, children, men, youths and elderly in underserved areas. Together with that we have employed about 9,000 + health workers to bridge the gap that existed, and about 90% are young adults below 40 years of them have been retained in service. Thanks to the infrastructure that were built by the Foundation that provided an incentive for many to remain.
Beyond strengthening health system, health infrastructure and human resources for health, the Foundation has not shied away from emerging and disruptive health crisis. During the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the Foundation swiftly joined the national efforts in responding to the outbreak. To-date we have deployed 585 skilled health workers and 2466 Community Health Workers working in different parts of the country in regions on risk, to ensure health promotion, prevention, care, and treatment of COVID 19 cases, as per defined national guidelines.
The success and impact we have recorded could not have been possible if not for the generous support we received from our donors and partners. These include the Norway Government that provided the initial financial support to establish the Foundation in the first 5 years. Sooner, the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria; Irish aid; Abbott Fund; USAID; UNICEF; UK-FCDO(DFID); UNFPA; UK Comic Relief and Walter Reed followed suit. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for journeying with us this long.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Going forward and ensuring the continuity of this Foundation, the legacy and the impact, demands that we have in place a reliable and sustainable funding. And this is the very purpose why I took this podium this morning. My task is one and simple. To introduce to you the Benjamin William Mkapa Endowment Fund and to request you, Your Excellency to inaugurate before your keynote speech.
The Endowment Fund will provide the Foundation with a sustainable and long-term source of income. It is our target to raise about 33.7 billion Tanzanian Shillings (equivalent to 15.2 Million USD) during the first five years from year 2021/22 to year 2025/26.These funds will also contribute to bridge the gaps in the implementation of our 5 years Strategic Plan (2019-2024), particularly those projects and interventions that may be less aligned to donors’ priority.
The mobilized financial resources will be invested in perpetuity to generate fixed income streams that will be used towards supporting and sustaining the work of the Foundation. All key underlying investment principles of preservation of Purchasing Power, Risk Aversion and Adherence to Investment Discipline will be applied by the Foundation in ensuring the Endowment Fund investment is worthwhile and meets the intended goal.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Endowment Fund which is to be launched today will aim to support the following 6 areas:
- Awarding of annual scholarships to health workers keen to continue with further studies in clinical, public health and any other related issues in medical field. This will target to fill up the gaps of specific health cadres in high demand within the country and particularly those serving at the Primary Health Care levels.
- Facilitate deployment of Skilled Health Workers also known as the “Mkapa Fellows” to underserved areas with intention to curb the bottleneck of shortage of skilled health personnel in both Government and Non- Government health care facilities to ensure equitable quality access of health services within the society,
- Support remote health facilities within the country with refurbishment and/or equipment by targeting the basic essential health services to save lives, such as maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health care.
- Support the emerging and re-emerging health conditions and emergencies, such as COVID-19, Ebola and alike by aligning to the Internationally defined principle of emergency preparedness, readiness and response.
- Awarding the Civil Societies and/or grass-root Community Based Organizations combatting challenges of public health significance with the aim of empowering community to continue identifying and having community owned solutions through working within sustainable community-based systems and structure.
- To co-support the Annual MKAPA Legacy Month and other Board approved interventions.
I am standing here to assure you that the BMF Endowment Fund will be transparency, accountability, flexibility, efficiency and trustworthy. The Board of Trustees will be the owner and overall responsible to govern the Endowment Fund, including directing and monitoring the investment management of Fund assets and this Fund will also be subjected to external auditor review. Our track record speaks for itself. Every shilling will be invested prudently, and every cent will be spent judiciously and accounted for transparently.
As soon us the Endowment Fund is launched today, the Foundation will begin the outreach phase for mobilizing resources for the Fund. Yes, the figure may appears big, but our purpose and our partnership are bigger enough to achieve this target. And we don’t expect to raise this amount alone. When we put this projection, we had you our partners, our supporters and friends in our mind. You have all along been with us, and our gut feeling tells us that you will match forward with us. We have confidence in you that together, we shall achieve this target.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Mine is an appeal. An appeal to the Government of Tanzania, Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, our development partners, Private Sector, friends and well-wishers of the Foundation including BMF Board and Staff, to generously consider donating into our Endowment Fund.In this way, we will all be honoring his life and legacy in words and deeds.
As you may all recall, Self-Reliance was Late President Mkapa’s ideal and repetitive appeal. He always dared us to find innovative ways and means of ensuring that sometimes later, this Foundation can stand on its own and reducing dependency to donors to finance its programs and projects. We thought this is the best way to honor him and live to his legacy. If he is watching us from where he is, I am sure he will be giving us his glaring smile. We have done our part of the call. We ask you to join us!
I heartily thank you for your time and attention.