1. Introduction:

In the heart of Tanzania's vibrant landscape of social initiatives and transformative endeavors, stands The Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF), a beacon of hope and progress. With a resolute commitment to catalyzing positive change and fostering empowerment, this foundation has etched its name in the annals of impactful philanthropy. At the core of this pursuit lies the JMKF’s overarching routes to Transformation, meticulously centered on people and propelled by three pivotal avenues i.e. Data, Direction, and Delivery. This strategic framework empowers the foundation to leverage data to inform effective strategies, craft clear directions for intervention, and ensure the efficient delivery of impactful initiatives, making a real difference in the lives of millions of people. As we delve into the remarkable journey of JMKF, we uncover its noble pursuits, innovative approaches, and the transformative ripple effects it has ignited across the nation. In articulating the story of JMKF's inception, pursuits, and accomplishments, I aim not only to shed light on its remarkable journey but also to illuminate the broader possibilities of collaborative innovation and effective philanthropy. Through this exploration, I hope to inspire a paradigm shift in how we perceive and engage in initiatives aimed at sustainable development and social progress.

2. Envisioning Impact: The Birth and Legacy of JMKF.

In the latter days of his final presidential term (2010-2015) in Tanzania, a contemplative spirit seized President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. As the curtain prepared to fall on his political career, he envisaged a realm beyond retirement – one where his wealth of knowledge accrued over four decades of public service could transcend into tangible impact. This contemplation bore fruit in the form of the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF), a testament to the enduring dedication of a statesman committed to advancing the human condition.

The birth of The Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) stands as a resplendent moment in Tanzania's narrative of change and progress. In the fertile ground of February 2017, this remarkable entity emerged, carrying the visionary mantle of its architect, His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the esteemed former President of the United Republic of Tanzania. The foundation's genesis is woven from the threads of Dr. Kikwete's unyielding commitment to instigate positive shifts and nurture empowerment, becoming a symphony of transformation that resonates beyond borders. With its inception, JMKF became a catalyst for positive change, casting ripples of transformation that extend far beyond its birth.

Born of the recognition that challenges were not stumbling blocks but stepping stones, JMKF's inception was a response to the clarion call of pressing socio-economic issues in Tanzania and the broader African tapestry. Dr. Kikwete's visionary cadence envisioned a world where quality education, accessible healthcare, environmental equilibrium, and responsible governance converged into tangible realities. Infused with this audacious spirit, JMKF embarked on its odyssey to weave partnerships, shape strategies rooted in data-driven insights, and channel resources into endeavors poised to etch indelible imprints on communities, individuals, and the arc of time. As the chapters of JMKF continue to unfurl, its inception narrative serves as an ever-present reminder that the journey to a brighter tomorrow demands audacious dreams, tenacious action, and an unwavering faith in the metamorphic power of change. The foundation's journey embodies the ideals of transformative leadership and serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of a leader dedicated to advancing human welfare and progress.

2.1. Navigating Excellence: JMKF's Governance and Organizational Landscape.

The Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) is a registered trust and non-profit organization, established in February 2017 under Tanzania's Trustees' Incorporation Act (Cap.318 R.E.2002) with registration number 5410. Its governance, management, and staffing are meticulously structured to ensure effective leadership, strategic oversight, and successful execution of its multifaceted initiatives. Under the highest level of governance represented by the Settlor, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the foundation's operational framework aligns with statutory requirements. Central to its governance structure is the Board of Trustees, nominated by the Settlor and comprising a diverse team of no more than nine individuals. This composition strategically captures a global range of expertise, sectors, and geographies to steer JMKF's holistic endeavors.

The Board of Trustees, a constellation of luminaries including Ambassador Ombeni Yohana Sefue, Ambassador Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, Ambassador Charles Richard Stith, Ms. Genevieve Linda Sangudi, Prof. Rwekaza Sympho Mukandala, Prof. William Rhys Mahalu, Prof. Carlos Lopes, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, and Mr. Abubakar Said Bakhresa, played a pivotal role in shaping the Foundation's trajectory. Later, this esteemed panel welcomed a new addition, Neema Kiure Mssusa, who brought her unique expertise and perspective to the board, replacing Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, one of the founding members of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation. This eminent assembly conjured not just a mission statement, but a holistic strategy to address targeted areas of societal metamorphosis. Four focal points emerged i.e. catalyzing smallholder agribusiness, combating diseases and reducing maternal and child mortality, empowering youth, and advocating for good governance and peace. A closer examination of these areas reveals a sagacious approach – JMKF doesn’t aspire to scatter its energies, but rather to concentrate them where they can generate the most profound changes.

The Board of Trustees assumes the pivotal role of stewarding the foundation's operations and ensuring alignment with its guiding principles. Tasked with upholding JMKF's vision, mission, and objectives, the Board provides essential guidance to the Management Team, led by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This team comprises seasoned professionals responsible for the day-to-day leadership, strategic management, and achievement of results across the foundation's spectrum of initiatives. Additionally, JMKF's organizational structure integrates four vital Director roles i.e. Corporate Services, Strategy and Partnerships, Research and Knowledge Management, and Communications and Advocacy. Each Director plays a pivotal role in their respective domains, ensuring efficient resource allocation, evidence-based strategic positioning, robust research and knowledge management, and impactful communications and advocacy strategies. This orchestrated collaboration across functions enables seamless flow of information, informed decision-making, and an amplified collective impact.

2.2. Shared Values and Collective Aspirations.

Emanating from the heart of the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) are four core values that underpin its mission. Foremost is the dedication to transforming lives, reflecting the commitment of its founder, His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, to bettering lives on a wide scale. Collaboration forms the second pillar, viewing partnerships as avenues to magnify influence. Agility constitutes the third principle, recognizing the fluidity of challenges and opportunities. Lastly, a commitment to results shapes JMKF's endeavors, emphasizing collective achievements over individual gains. Aligned with the African Union's Agenda 2063, the foundation envisions an Africa propelled by its people, especially women and youth, towards a collectively brighter future.

3. Catalysts of Transformation: Exploring the Foundation's Endeavors.

At the heart of the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation's (JMKF) noble aspirations lies a resolute commitment to translating vision into tangible change. With a remarkable blend of focus and dynamism, the foundation has strategically carved its domain in four key areas, each resonating with significance and addressing pivotal challenges in today's world.

3.1. Nurturing Health Futures: JMKF's Maternal and Child Health Initiatives.

Amid the sobering statistics of maternal and child mortality rates, the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) stands as a guiding light of hope, with a strategic budget in place for potential allocation of funds to the tune of US$1.57 million over a comprehensive five-year period (with the current year, 2023, marking the fifth year of this potential allocation) within the realm of Maternal and Child Health initiatives. Recognizing the critical juncture at which lives are often lost – the initial 48 to 72 hours after childbirth – the foundation's commitment to catalyzing change is unwavering. With a profound understanding of the transformative potential of skilled midwives, JMKF strives to bring about a significant reduction in these preventable tragedies. By enhancing the presence and proficiency of midwives, the foundation envisions a future where maternal and child mortality rates are significantly reduced. Drawing inspiration from global success stories, such as the remarkable turnaround in Rajasthan, India, JMKF endeavors to create a landscape where post-partum complications are deftly managed, antenatal care is comprehensive, and maternal and child health thrives.

In synergy with its overarching mission, JMKF adopts a multi-faceted approach to maternal and child health transformation. Foremost is the elevation of skilled midwives as a cornerstone of maternal and child healthcare systems. Understanding the pivotal role midwives play in safe deliveries and postpartum care, the foundation prioritizes their empowerment through training, deployment, and continuous education. By enhancing the competencies of midwives, the foundation significantly contributes to reducing childbirth complications and ensuring essential antenatal and postnatal care. JMKF also actively collaborates with governments and partners to strengthen healthcare systems, advocating for increased investment in infrastructure, vital medical supplies, and educational programs. This holistic approach, supported by robust data and research, positions JMKF at the forefront of driving evidence-based strategies for maternal and child health transformation, ultimately fostering healthier generations and prosperous communities.

Illustrating its active engagement in the enhancement of maternal and child health, the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) demonstrated its commitment by participating in and sponsoring the commemoration of the 2023 International Day of the Midwife in Dar es Salaam. Collaborating with the Tanzania Midwives Association (TAMA), the Ministry of Health, UNFPA, and other stakeholders, the event convened midwives, healthcare professionals, and experts to deliberate on pivotal issues within midwifery and maternal and newborn health. JMKF's involvement and sponsorship of this event accentuate its dedication to supporting and advancing the vital role of midwives, thereby contributing to the betterment of maternal and child health in Tanzania.

3.2. Empowering Youth for a Flourishing Tomorrow:

With a significant budget commitment of US$1.57 million over a comprehensive five-year span (2023 being the present year, signifying the fifth year of this budget allocation), JMKF propels impactful Youth Development endeavors. JMKF's resolute dedication to youth empowerment is vividly exemplified through its transformative initiatives that cultivate leadership, skill enrichment, and active community engagement. Recognizing today's youth as tomorrow's leaders, the foundation orchestrates mentorship programs that bridge generational gaps, facilitating seasoned professionals in guiding and inspiring young minds. This knowledge exchange not only imparts practical insights but also fosters a profound sense of purpose and direction. Moreover, JMKF acknowledges the potency of entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment. Thus, the foundation offers tailored training, equipping youth with the acumen to initiate and successfully manage enterprises. By nurturing innovation and self-reliance, JMKF empowers the youth to transcend the role of mere job seekers, positioning them as architects of opportunities.

At the heart of JMKF's youth development strategy lies the notion that education extends beyond textbooks. The foundation enriches young lives with essential life skills that empower them to navigate the complexities of adulthood. From financial literacy to critical thinking, these skills enhance personal growth and resilience, enabling youth to face challenges with confidence. Moreover, JMKF engages youth as change agents within their communities. Through community service projects and awareness campaigns, young people are encouraged to actively participate in social causes, cultivating a spirit of empathy and responsibility. As these empowered youth take their place in the world, they become catalysts for positive change, propelling both personal and societal progress forward.

JMKF's dynamic participation in prominent global forums, such as the 11th World Ministerial and Education Forum held within the 2023 International Youth Foundation (IYF) World Camp in Busan, South Korea, stands as a testament to its unwavering commitment to youth empowerment. By actively engaging with ministers and experts from over 15 countries, JMKF demonstrates its dedication to shaping comprehensive youth development strategies. These interactions, focusing on vital aspects like youth skills development and mind education, not only emphasize the foundation's determination to foster holistic growth among young individuals but also position it as a pivotal contributor to international discussions on youth-related challenges and solutions. This proactive engagement echoes JMKF's overarching approach, melding global insights with local initiatives to propel the younger generation towards a more empowered and promising future.

3.3. Catalyzing Smallholder Agribusiness Transformation:

Having already set a substantial budget, amounting to US$1 million for a comprehensive four-year term (with the ongoing year, 2023, marking the fourth year of this budget allocation), JMKF is fervently committed to catalyzing transformative change within the realm of Smallholder Agriculture. In the intricate fabric of poverty, rural areas often bear the weightiest burden. JMKF astutely recognizes that uplifting smallholder agriculture is a fundamental pillar in the battle against impoverishment. By introducing contemporary agricultural practices, harnessing the wisdom of scientific insights, and amplifying productivity, the foundation endeavors to reshape the trajectory of rural communities. Through strategic partnerships with governments and collaborators, JMKF is unwavering in its quest to infuse renewed vitality into subsistence farming. This transformation transcends the mere augmentation of crop yields; it's a powerful catalyst for economic expansion, liberating communities from the shackles of destitution, and nurturing lasting, sustainable change.

Venturing beyond traditional agricultural paradigms, JMKF envisions a future where smallholder farmers are not just cultivators but also agripreneurs. By providing access to training, technology, and market insights, the foundation empowers these farmers to diversify their produce, adopt climate-resilient practices, and engage in value-added activities. Through this holistic approach, JMKF not only addresses food security but also creates avenues for income generation beyond the confines of subsistence farming.

Furthermore, recognizing the integral role of women in agriculture, JMKF places gender empowerment at the forefront of its agribusiness transformation efforts. By providing women farmers with tailored support, access to resources, and a platform for collective action, the foundation drives inclusivity and amplifies the positive impact on families and communities. Through this multifaceted approach, JMKF is sowing the seeds of agricultural revitalization, poised to yield a bountiful harvest of economic prosperity and improved livelihoods.

3. 4. Shaping a Future of Good Governance and Sustainable Peace:

The Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) is unwavering in its commitment to promoting good governance and sustainable peace, constituting one of the four critical areas of focus that will define its later stages of engagement. While its current endeavors actively revolve around catalyzing smallholder agribusiness, reducing maternal and child mortality, and empowering youth, the foundation has laid the groundwork for its forthcoming commitment to these essential elements of societal progress.

As JMKF embarks on this transformative endeavor, it does so with a deep understanding of the far-reaching implications of fostering effective governance and nurturing peaceful societies. These principles hold immense significance not only for Africa but also for the global community at large. In its quest to champion good governance, JMKF envisions a future where transparency, accountability, and inclusivity are the cornerstones of nations' progress. By collaborating with governments, institutions, and civil society entities, the foundation aims to bolster the rule of law, fortify institutional capacities, and promote ethical leadership. Rooted in Africa's growth narrative, JMKF seeks to create an environment where equitable opportunities are accessible to all, shaped by principles of equity, justice, and efficient governance. This commitment to fostering good governance aligns with the continent's aspirations for sustainable development and prosperity, promising a future where every individual's potential is realized, and every voice is heard.

Simultaneously, JMKF is resolute in its dedication to cultivating sustainable peace, recognizing that harmony and stability are prerequisites for progress. Through educational initiatives, peacebuilding workshops, and intercultural dialogue, the foundation endeavors to mitigate tensions, bridge divides among communities, and cultivate a culture of mutual understanding and cooperation. By actively participating in peace processes and supporting conflict resolution mechanisms, JMKF aims to contribute not only to the stability and prosperity of African nations but also to the broader global agenda of peace and unity. In championing the cause of peace, JMKF extends an open invitation to stakeholders and partners, urging them to unite in reshaping the narrative of governance and peace for Africa and beyond. This forthcoming dimension of JMKF's work underscores its holistic approach to transformation, as it sets its sights on a future where good governance and peace stand as pillars of progress for Tanzania, Africa, and the world.

4. Forging Transformative Partnerships:

In the orchestra of change, JMKF's symphony is one of collaboration. Recognizing that the challenges it addresses require collective efforts, the foundation actively seeks partnerships that amplify its impact. The power of JMKF lies not only in its vision but in its ability to convene, coordinate, and catalyze a united front against adversity. By pooling resources, sharing expertise, and advocating for evidence-based action, JMKF and its partners forge a roadmap towards impactful change. This approach not only ensures that efforts are magnified but also emphasizes the foundation's ethos – that together, transformative change is not just a dream, but a reality to be built.

In a dynamic display of its commitment to transformative partnerships, the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) orchestrated a momentous visit by The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Wilson Centre) delegation to the Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation Tanzania (CCBRT) hospital in Dar es Salaam. Led by Mrs. Susan Green and former US Ambassador to Tanzania Hon. Mark Green, this collaboration exemplified JMKF's dedication to advancing healthcare and cross-sector collaborations. The delegation's interactions with key figures and representatives from JMKF, highlight a shared commitment to addressing socio-economic challenges, fostering dialogue on maternal and child health, and exploring avenues for collaboration. This instance, alongside partnerships like the one with the Pula New Communities Foundation, showcases JMKF's pivotal role in forging alliances that resonate with its mission of transformative change.

In Tanzania's maternal and newborn health landscape, the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) shines as a transformative partner. Collaborating with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in April 2021, JMKF mapped interventions targeting maternal and newborn mortality across 184 local councils across 26 regions, covering January 2016 to June 2021. This assessment highlights key intervention areas, innovations, stakeholders, gaps, and scalability avenues, amplifying JMKF's commitment to catalyzing change.

JMKF is resolutely committed to nurturing accessible education and empowering youth through dynamic collaborations. Initiatives like the East Africa Youth Fellowship (EAYF) and the inspiring Kijana Leo TV program stand as exemplars of partnering for profound change. The foundation's impact stretches further with endeavors like the International Youth Day Exposition, which not only enhances digital skills but also magnifies its influence. The aspired Adolescents Health and Wellbeing Program seeks to unleash creative potentials while addressing crucial issues. This commitment to collaboration is encapsulated by projects such as the Tanzania Volunteer Teachers (TVT) initiative and, notably, the Tanzania Secondary School Connectivity (TSSC) Project. The latter, aiming to increase ICT connectivity in Tanzania's 4,002 government secondary schools, epitomizes the foundation's dedication to harnessing digital potential for a brighter and more empowered future.

5. Echoes of Empowerment: The Legacy of the Foundation's Work.

The impact of the foundation's initiatives has been far-reaching and multi-dimensional, encompassing diverse sectors of society. Through its relentless dedication to maternal and child health transformation, the foundation has ushered in a new era of safer childbirths, improved access to antenatal and postnatal care, and reduced maternal and child mortality rates. By strategically partnering with governmental bodies, healthcare institutions, and communities, the foundation has catalyzed a positive shift in healthcare systems, resulting in healthier generations and stronger communities.

Simultaneously, the JMKF's emphasis on youth empowerment has sparked a ripple effect of opportunities. The mentorship programs, entrepreneurial training, and life skill development initiatives have armed young individuals with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-evolving world. This empowerment extends beyond personal growth, as the foundation's collaborations and projects have also magnified the impact of their efforts, leading to job creation, innovative ventures, and an overall upswing in socio-economic indicators.

With a designated budget of US$ 3.69 million for Communications and Advocacy activities spanning five years (2023 marking the fifth year of this allocation), the JMKF amplifies its transformative influence. Through strategic communication and impactful advocacy, the foundation intertwines its commitment to holistic progress with the power of effective storytelling. This budget allocation highlights the significance of their partnerships, promoting responsible governance, and fostering coordinated approaches. By harmonizing their strategies with data and insights, the foundation ensures their initiatives are not only well-intentioned but also well-informed, facilitating sustainable change that transcends immediate objectives. As the JMKF persists in its innovative, collaborative, and empowering endeavors, its transformative legacy embeds itself in the tapestry of Tanzanian progress and resonates beyond its borders.


As we draw the threads of reflection together, The Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF) emerges as a steadfast catalyst for transformation within Tanzania's vibrant social fabric. The journey unveiled throughout this article echoes with the resounding impact this foundation has woven into the lives and communities it touches. JMKF's dedication to ushering positive change transcends mere intention, translating into concrete actions that encompass maternal and child health, youth empowerment, agribusiness enhancement, and boundary-defying partnerships. Rooted in the heart of this nation, JMKF serves as a wellspring of hope, setting forth waves of transformation that stretch far beyond its inception. With a projected investment of approximately US$ 19.23 million over five years, the foundation's proactive stance in turning aspirations into impactful realities underscores its unwavering commitment and shared vision for a brighter Tanzania. These directed resources find resonance in meaningful initiatives that profoundly enrich lives, drive progress, and sow the seeds of a promising tomorrow. It stands as a testament to collaborative endeavors and the enduring belief that profound change, no matter how ambitious, commences with a resolute spirit and substantial investment.

Guided by the visionary ideals of its Settlor, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, JMKF's trajectory is one of purposeful direction and unwavering dedication. Rooted in a governance framework that ensures strategic oversight, the foundation exemplifies the power of collective action. Its three pivotal routes – Data, Direction, and Delivery – illuminate a roadmap that merges innovation, collaboration, and compassionate execution. By galvanizing a diverse array of stakeholders, from skilled midwives to global organizations, JMKF ensures that its transformative endeavors are not solitary feats but resonant echoes of collective potential.

Amid the ever-evolving landscape of social initiatives, JMKF's impact is both extraordinary and inspiring. It's a testament to the potential of philanthropy when harnessed with vision and strategy. Each maternal and child health intervention, every youth empowered, every agribusiness transformed, and every partnership forged stand as living proof that sustainable development is not a distant dream but a tangible reality. As JMKF continues to illuminate pathways toward progress, it does so with a profound commitment to fostering lasting advantages that extend beyond Tanzania and its people to encompass Africa and the world. By nurturing the health and well-being of mothers and children, by equipping the youth with skills and opportunities, by catalyzing economic growth through agribusiness transformation, and by fostering partnerships that amplify impact, the foundation paves the way for a brighter future. The Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation invites us to be more than mere spectators; it beckons us to be active participants in the symphony of progress, to elevate our shared humanity, and to walk hand in hand toward a future where hope is nurtured, empowerment flourishes, and positive change becomes the legacy we leave behind.

Thank you.

Written by Christopher Makwaia

Tel: +255 789 242 396

- _The writer, is a University of West London graduate (formerly Thames Valley University) and an expert in Management, Leadership, International Business, Foreign Affairs, Global Marketing, Diplomacy, International Relations, Conflict Resolution, Negotiations, Security, Arms Control, Political Scientist, and a self-taught Computer Programmer and Web Developer._

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