The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mrs. Janet Museveni has hailed the youth who participated in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) 2015 Torch Awards for initiating life changing projects for the vulnerable in society.
She was speaking as Chief Guest after handing over an award to 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation an organization in Kampala founded by youth who emerged national winners of the 2015 NSSF Torch Awards.
This took place during an award giving dinner ceremony at Serena Hotel in Kampala on Monday.
“This is a blessing for all of us to see that we are bringing up beautiful children with such a good spirit to care for the vulnerable in society. I hope this spirit will spread like a wild fire,” she said.
She commended NSSF for supporting people and making a positive contribution to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged members of society through this annual corporate responsibility initiative.
She said the initiative complements government efforts to uplift underprivileged communities through poverty alleviation programmes which are in line with achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the National Development Plan II and Vision 2040.
Mrs. Museveni encouraged NSSF to consider the idea of starting a local Agricultural Bank to help individuals come out of poverty and also support the economic growth of the country.
She called upon more members of the Private sector not only to commit substantial investments, but to partner with other players in the area of social development and empower them to implement programmes that can make meaningful contribution towards uplifting the standard of living for disadvantaged members of society.
“There is wisdom in investing in the society in which you do business, not only because it will enhance your reputation as a responsible company but also because it will, in the long term, ensure that your company meets its business objectives. If more Ugandans improve their income levels, it also means more business for your company”, she said.
NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said the NSSF Torch Awards Annual Corporate responsibility Initiative was introduced by the Fund in 2012 to recognize individuals and institutions who are transforming communities.
The strategy hinged on supporting fundamental areas of the Ugandan society which includes education, health, youth and other disadvantaged groups demonstrates a spirit of caring and giving back to society.
The Fund adopts a 3- pronged approach which includes building partnership with credible institutions and communities, good corporate citizenship and corporate philanthropy.
The national winner of the 2015 NSSF Torch Awards was a charity organization in Kampala known as 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation which received a cash prize of 20 million shillings to support their proposal to build reading centres for children in their communities of operation.
Regional winners who received a cash prize of 15 million shilling each include Rachele Comprehensive Secondary School from Lira (Northern) who want to promote agro- entrepreneurship for the formerly abducted children and Kyamaleera Women Handicraft Association in Hoima (Western) which plans to expand their activities to benefit more members .
Pearl Foundation for Children from Butaleja (Eastern) will engage in water harvesting to benefit over 2,100 people, while Child Care and Rescue Programme in Makindye Kampala (Central) intends to ensure that girls are involved in making their own sanitary pads.
According to the lead Judge of the awards NSSF Deputy Managing Director Geraldine Ssali, the winners were picked from a total of 350 proposals and technical evaluation involved assessing impact on the wider community, sustainability of the project, level of community involvement and the relevance to the community.
The various awards were handed over by among others the Minister of State for Planning Hon. David Bahati, the Acting NSSF Board Chairman also Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development Pius Bigirimana and the URBRA Board Chairman Andrew Kasirye.