By Auxilia Katongomara
Uganda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ms Barbara Nekesa Oundo, has hailed First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa for her charity work and challenged the corporate sector to support her initiatives.
Ambassador Oundo said the African continent requires women like the First Lady who are concerned and work towards improving the livelihoods of the youths, women and children.
In an interview while touring exhibition stands with the First Lady at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair on Friday, Ambassador Oundo said the First Lady’s charity works required collective efforts.
“One thing I would like us to do is to have a positive attitude towards the work that is done by the Office of the First Lady,” she said.
“These projects should no longer be referred to as projects of the First Lady, but should instead be embraced as projects that are for the people. The moment we embrace them as the people’s projects, their sustainability is guaranteed.”
Ambassador Oundo said like her country’s First Lady, Janet Museveni, she was a hard worker.
“But what I just want to bring out is that as a continent we need more first ladies like the one we have in Zimbabwe, she is like Uganda’s First Lady, Janet Museveni,” she said.
“Mrs Museveni also started UWESO, Uganda Women’s Effort, to support orphans and the organisation has been doing very well.”
Ambassador Oundo said when Mrs Museveni joined politics, she left the organisation under the stewardship of other women who are growing it and helping more orphans across the nation.
“I just want to urge the people of Zimbabwe to support the Office of the First Lady and embrace the programmes that come from there so that we ensure that these programmes continue to help our young people,” she said.
Ambassador Oundo said the Office of the First Lady was critical in empowering youths as universities were churning out thousands of graduates who ended up not doing anything productive.
“In Uganda during the days when our president was studying in Dar es Salaam, we had a few universities,” she said.
“In fact, Uganda only had Makerere University, but right now, we have more than 30 universities in Uganda.
“We are churning out tens of thousands of graduates every year, but there are no jobs, hence the need to come out with programmes that can empower, skill the young people, which the Office of the First Lady in Zimbabwe is doing.”
During the tour of exhibition stands, Ambassador Oundo passed through the First Lady’s Angel of Hope Foundation stand where she was shown the works being done by the First Lady.
She also got the chance to get into the mobile bus clinic where cervical cancer screening was being conducted.
The First Lady, through her Angel of Hope Foundation, has rolled out a number of programmes targeting vulnerable groups, among them orphans, widows and rural communities.