On Tuesday July 19th, The African Philanthropy Forum (APF), with support from the KCB Foundation convened a small group of philanthropists and stakeholders in the Kenyan philanthropic community for a private breakfast meeting. This forum was held at the Serena Hotel with the primary objective of creating a platform to learn from one another’s work and to share insights for strengthening individual and collective efforts to transform Kenya.
The event featured remarks from a range of speakers who challenged Kenyans to become more structured and strategic in their giving and to seek strategies to make their giving more impactful—be it on an individual or a corporate level.
In her opening remarks, Director of APF, Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, noted that giving is strongly rooted in many African cultures. She introduced APF, which was established in 2014 to build a learning community of strategic African philanthropists and social investors committed to inclusive and sustainable development throughout the Continent.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Manu Chandaria, Chairman of the Chandaria Foundation, chronicled the history of his engagement in philanthropy from a young age. He stated that in 1953, when his family business was still in the start-up phase, he informed his parents of his strong desire to give his time, energy and resources to help others. Dr. Chandaria noted that giving to others was the only true source of happiness and fulfilment. He encouraged the attendees to commit to transforming society and to engage their children and grandchildren in the process of giving. He also challenged them to inspire others to give through personal examples and active engagement. “If you are good, make sure ten other people are good!” Dr. Chandaria noted.
The event also featured remarks from Mrs. Catherine Kola, Chairperson of KCB Foundation. According to Mrs. Kola, “our success as a business entity is a function of the well-being of the society in which we are embedded. As Kenya’s oldest bank and the largest in the East African region, KCB acknowledges that there is a greater responsibility that comes with these strengths.” Mrs. Kola outlined the Foundation’s programmatic focus, activities and impact, including 2jiajiri (let us employ ourselves) programme to which KCB has committed Kshs. 50 Billion over the next five years.
Mrs. Mwihaki Kimura, Senior Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation provided insights into Rockefeller Foundation’s history and impact over the past 103 years. She also shared Kenya’s philanthropic history, emphasizing the impact of Mohamedally Rattansi, who started the Rattansi Educational Trust in 1956. According to her, “philanthropic action has not only contributed to making the world better but it has enabled innovation and change that we may never have witnessed.” She challenged the attendees to determine what they have to offer and why they are in the best position to engage, and also capture, recognize, measure and celebrate the philanthropic stories in Kenya.
In her final remarks, Mrs. Nwuneli encouraged more Kenyan philanthropists to join the APF and participate in its annual convening holding in Morocco on October 17-18, 2016. She noted that the theme for the 2016 meeting was “Taking Big Bets and Bold Steps,” and that it would explore the role of philanthropists in leading large scale change on the African Continent and seeking ways for greater impact beyond incremental steps.
Finally in her vote of thanks, Mrs. Jane Mwangi, the director of the KCB Foundation commended the work of Kenyan philanthropists and reiterated KCB Foundation’s commitment to collaborating with others to transform lives and communities in East Africa.