Rebecca Akufo-Addo advises counterparts to be accountable to donors

First Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has urged her counterpart African first ladies to be more accountable, transparent and committed in dealing with development partners, saying, these attributes will go “a long way” to attract donor support for their various social programmes in Africa.

She said these attributes were what her foundation, the Rebecca Foundation, had been pursuing as it had found out in its work that “our ability to attract new donors is hinged on this”, adding that “this is something we will continue to do”.

The First Lady said this at the on-going 22nd Ordinary General Assembly of the now Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), formerly, Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA).

She was speaking on the theme “Collaborating to transform Africa: Addressing the needs of vulnerable populations”.

The name OAFLA, changed to OAFLAD with effect from Monday February 11, 2019 as the members of the organization launched their strategic vision for the next five years at the ongoing general assembly.

The name change was agreed upon during the 21st ordinary session of the organisation last year, with a new vision of giving the first ladies, a wider scope of areas to work on, apart from HIV and AIDS.

Mrs Akufo-Addo, in her speech, said funding was a big challenge in their line of work and that the scarcity of it could derail any strategic vision.

“The misconception is that First Ladies have access to unlimited funding. No, we don’t. It’s been a struggle to raise funds”, she noted.

She said in her opinion, Ghana and indeed other African countries, faced a fundamental developmental challenge and wondered how Africa could develop at a pace that matches global development.

“How do we create a more equitable society and inclusive development for the vulnerable, especially, women and children”, she asked.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said she was however happy to say that Ghana had taken some bold steps towards a more accelerated inclusive development, adding that “these positive developments, informed my strategic vision as First Lady”.

She said her strategy was to champion the wellbeing of women and children, in a sustainable manner, by being guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) one, two, three, four, five, eight, ten and 11.

She added that despite the successes that she had chalked as First Lady through her Foundation and the Infata Malaria Prevention Programme “I am the first to admit that we have some challenges. The first is sustainability. Often, the work of First Ladies end, once their husbands leave office”.

However, she said “because I believe so much in what I do, I want my causes to outlive me.

“We are and will continue to partner with development partners and state institutions to mainstream our initiatives and ensure sustainability”, Mrs Akofo-Addo said.

Earlier In a welcome address, Ms Zinash Tayachew, the First Lady of Ethiopia, reminded her counterparts of the much work that they had to do for the vulnerable in society and called on them to exhibit motherly love in the discharge of their work.

Ms Tayachew said the needs of their people were so overwhelming, and what they were doing might seem ‘like a drop in the ocean’, but added that, they were still changing the lives of people.

Mrs Adjoavi Sika Kobore, the President of OAFLAD, on her part, commended her fellow First Ladies for their commitment towards the improvement of the lives of their citizenry, especially, women, children and the vulnerable.

Mr Michel Sidibi, the outgoing Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), commended the organisation for the transformational role that it had played in helping in the fight to eradicate HIV and AIDS from the continent.

Madam Amira Elfadil Mohamed, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, said the health needs of people remained a priority to the AU and that the role and contribution of the first ladies was inevitable to the development of the health of their people.

In separate remarks the First Ladies pledged their support to aligning their work to the new strategic vision of the organisation to help better the lives of their people.

Other development partners present at the meeting included Abbott Laboratories, Gilead Sciences, Inc., the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the United Nations Population Fund {UNFPA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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