The First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame on Monday commended the Segal Family Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by U.S businessman and philanthropist Barry Segal, for its work in socio-economically empowering communities and nurturing tomorrow’s leaders.
Mrs. Kagame, who officiated at the 10th Segal Family Foundation Annual General Meeting, which is taking place in Kigali, said that the organisation which was founded by Segal in 2004 to fund communities in Sub-Saharan Africa through unburdensome grants to realize stable, healthy, and empowered lives.
The First Lady said that the Segal Family Foundation has been doing genuine work over the years, genuinely aimed at empowering Africans in tangible ways, as opposed reinforcing aid dependency narratives.
She pointed out that what the foundation has achieved with communities and people shows that the continent can be less reliant on aid but rather benefit greatly from initiatives that are holistically empowering as those deployed by the philanthropic organisation.
“Together, we have opposed the flawed notion that Africa must remain on the receiving end of aid, rather than Africa supporting itself, nurturing itself and developing itself,” Mrs. Kagame said, calling for collective action in resolving social justice challenges old and new.
In applauding the diligent work of the Segal Family Foundation in empowering local organisations and visionary leaders, Mrs. Kagame said the foundation has been one of the solid partners of Imbuto Foundation, the non-profit organization she founded to champion social causes in Rwanda.
On the occasion of the 10th general meeting, the First Lady said the achievements of the foundation in connecting people and donors and commitment enhance lives multiplied 10 times over the years, pointing out that beyond financially empowering communities, Segal Family Foundation has nurtured hundreds of visionary leaders who are transforming the society.
“Thank you for accompanying us in pushing for equity and dignity for our people,” she pointed, adding the foundation complemented Imbuto Foundation’s efforts to transform lives.
Working hand in hand with the organization, Mrs Kagame said that they have been able to craft out a shared responsibility to drive change, by investing in community-based organisations that went on to become agents of change.
She pointed out that almost half of the Segal Family Foundation-funded organisations are in Rwanda, and they are mainly women-led initiatives.
The First Lady used the opportunity to highlight Rwanda’s gender mainstreaming gains, pointing out that the country has put in place laws and policies that promote gender equality rights at all levels, giving women equal opportunities as men and protecting them against GBV, among other things.
She pointed out that these efforts by the government are strengthened when stakeholders like the Segal Family Foundation add their part through progressive solutions that add value to communities and people.
Call to pay attention to mental health.
Mrs. Kagame said that amidst global changes and a fast-evolving world, new challenges keep coming up, citing mental health, climate change as some of the issues that must be paid attention to.
“We know mental health to be in greater need of attention and interventions; we know technological advances to pose the threat of widening the gender-gap,”
“We watch daily as, around the world, global warming, conflict and resource misallocation threaten food supply – even across fertile regions. This knowledge must inform decisive action, and this, sooner than tomorrow,” the First Lady said.
Mrs Kagame said that the collective strength, resolve, determination to be a force for good, shared creativity and diverse expertise can all be harnessed to overcome the challenges the world faces today. She called on the foundation’s visionary leaders and alumni to be the change the world needs to see today.
To the doers, you are the spark from which we will get the light,” she said adding that “together our efforts can ride the wave of change rather than see the wave wash over us.”
Andy Bryant, Segal Family Foundation Executive Director thanked Mrs. Kagame for her positive influence on society and applauded the work she does through the Imbuto Foundation.
Bryant said that after a three-year hiatus, the annual general meeting convened for the first time and will be an opportunity to reposition, recharge and set the new momentum not just to do more but also achieve more.
The 10th AGM brought together over 650 people from more than 100 organizations, from at least 37 countries through active partnerships aimed at ushering in change through appropriate solutions to address poverty in communities.
Segal Family Foundation thrives on flexible or unrestricted funding, to attain certain milestones in a less bureaucratic and rigorous manner. Beyond grants, the philanthropy also provides capacity building resources to strengthen organizational health, adding value beyond just funding.