First Lady Margaret Kenyatta was yesterday awarded with a prestigious Humanitarian award by Ecclesiastical Bishops and Leaders Conference of Africa (EBLCA) for her outstanding work in maternal and child health through the ‘Beyond Zero’ Campaign.
The EBLCA East Africa Presiding Prelate Dr Simon Oyugi presented the First Lady with the award during a brief ceremony at State House, Nairobi. EBLCA created the award to recognise outstanding individuals in the African Continent who dedicate their time to fight indifference, intolerance and injustice in society.
The First Lady thanked the organisation for recognising her efforts to improve the health of mothers and children in the country.“I am humbled. I did not realise that the marathon I ran to raise funds for the Beyond Zero campaign affected the whole continent. I was running for the Kenyan mothers and children,” she said. She vowed to continue lobbying other First Ladies in the continent to consider similar programmes aimed at improving the wellbeing of vulnerable people in their respective countries.
The ‘Beyond Zero’ mobile clinics can deliver essential health services including vaccination, ante-natal care, HIV and cancer testing and strengthening emergency services. The First Lady believes that ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths in the country is a necessity to ensure that childbirth to thousands of women is a blessing and not tantamount to a death sentence.
Presenting the award, Dr Oyugi said the First Lady’s initiative through the “Beyond Zero” campaign, has not only touched the hearts of Kenyans but also the whole continent. “Kenya’s First Lady is the first ever First Lady to run marathons to save lives. People in Uganda and other parts of Africa are celebrating Beyond Zero,” the Bishop said. He said the ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign has brought international attention on the dire plight of Kenya’s mothers and children as well as in Africa. “You are not only the mother of the Kenyan Nation but also the African Continent. You have done the continent proud by leaving the comforts of your position to improve the lives of the less fortunate in society,” he added.
In recognition of the First Lady’s efforts to improve on the health of mothers and children, Dr Oyugi announced plans by EBLCA to establish a training centre in Kenya to empower the African women. The empowerment programme, being started on a pilot basis is to be extended to other regions. It will offer courses on skill development and wealth creation for the African women.
EBLCA is a non-denominational religious organisation whose principal objective is to honor great achievers, leaders and community based workers who are a fitting example in the society. The Organisation has so far awarded President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for his anti-gay stand. National Assembly Speaker of Uganda Rebecca Kadaga was also recognized for protecting the anti-gay Bill on the floor of the House.
In February this year, the Foundation awarded Tetteh Quarshie for having introduced Cocoa farming in Ghana. Dr Kwadwo Safo also of Ghana was recognized for his excellent inventions in electronics and manufacture of cars which do not use fuel but batteries.