The First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, Mrs Jeannette Kagame personifies an active, relentless and passionate devotion to uplifting the lives of vulnerable populations in Rwanda; particularly those of widows, orphans of the genocide and disadvantaged families. As the nation’s First Lady, Mrs Kagame has admirably balanced family, social life and philanthropy, not only in her own country but continentally, and worldwide.
Her Excellency Mrs Jeannette Kagame, is the Chairperson of Unity Club, an organization formed in 1996, made of current and former members of Government and their spouses, to promote social cohesion and work together towards the sustainable development of Rwanda.
Mrs Kagame became a founding member of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in 2002 and served as its President from 2004 – 2006. In 2001, she founded PACFA (Protection and Care of Families against HIV/AIDS), an initiative primarily focused on providing a holistic approach to HIV prevention and care for the whole family.
Over the years PACFA grew to embrace more programs and in 2007, it changed its name to Imbuto Foundation. As Chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, Mrs Kagame oversees several initiatives under health, education, youth, and economic empowerment.
In 2004, Mrs Jeannette Kagame became the Patron of SOS Children’s Village – Rwanda, hence further advancing the protection of children’s rights, through the mission of this international organization that provides family-based protective foster care for vulnerable children, while also meeting various health and socio-economic needs of communities.
Mrs Jeannette Kagame, a Paul Harris Fellow, became an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga in 2004. Her philanthropic work through the Rotary includes her active involvement in raising awareness about the polio vaccination program, in Rwanda and abroad while helping mobilize various stakeholders around the World Polio Day campaigns. Mrs Kagame also played an instrumental role in helping establish, in 2012, the Rotary-initiated project for the first Kigali Public Library.
In 2007, Mrs Kagame was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the High Representative of the Africa AIDS Vaccine Programme (AAVP) to ensure the active participation of African stakeholders in all areas of HIV/AIDS research and development. In 2008, the First Lady was named Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance – Rwanda Chapter, an initiative dedicated to ending maternal and infant mortality. In 2010, the World Food Programme (WFP) appointed her Special Representative on Child Nutrition. In 2013, she was elected Vice President of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA). She has also joined UNAIDS and LANCET as one of their high-level commissioners. Mrs Kagame serves on boards of international organizations, including Friends of the Global Fund Africa, the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise and the Global Coalition of Women against HIV/AIDS, all in recognition of her achievements and untiring efforts.
In 2014, Mrs Kagame became an International Honorary Member of Zonta International for her contribution to changing societal attitudes about women and improving their wellbeing beyond the national level.
Mrs Kagame holds a degree in Business and Management Science and has delivered keynote speeches at national and international fora on various themes: including leadership, economics, health, children’s welfare, youth and women’s empowerment, among others.
Mrs Kagame is also one of the co-founders of Green Hills Academy, one of Rwanda’s top-performing schools, which was established in 1997 to contribute to the empowerment of young people through education. From a little over one hundred enrolled students twenty years ago, Green Hills Academy now has more than 1,500 students from diverse countries and is the only school in Rwanda to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, and Label France Education accreditation, helping students become more competitive at the international level.