The Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) has rebranded as the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).
The name change took place on the sidelines of the 22nd Ordinary General Assembly of OAFLA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A new logo was also unveiled along with the new name.
A highlight of the event was also the launch of its 2019 to 2023 strategic plan.
Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs Akufo-Addo attended the meeting.
The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo called for accountability, transparency and commitment, among her fellow first ladies in dealing with development partners saying these attributes go “a long way to gain the trust of donors”.
She said this was what her foundation had found out and “we recognise that our ability to attract new donors is hinged on this”, adding that “this is something we will continue to do”.
She was speaking on the theme “Collaborating to transform Africa: Addressing the needs of vulnerable populations”.
The organisation with effective February 11, 2019 has started using its new name after it launched its strategic vision for the next five years. The name change was agreed upon during the 21st ordinary session of the organisation last year.
The new vision is to give the first ladies a wider range of areas to work in, apart from HIV and AIDS.
In her speech, the First Lady said funding was a big challenge in their line of work and that the scarcity of it could derail any strategic vision.
“The misconception is that First Ladies have access to unlimited funding. No we don’t. It’s been a struggle to raise funds”, she added.
She said in her opinion Ghana and indeed other African countries faced a fundamental challenge retorting that “How do we develop at a pace that matches global development? How do we create a more equitable society and inclusive development for the vulnerable, especially, women and children?”
“I am happy to say that Ghana has taken some bold steps towards a more accelerated inclusive development” adding that “these positive developments, informed my strategic vision as First Lady”.
She said her strategy was to champion the wellbeing of women and children, in a sustainable manner. By being guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) one, two, three, four, five, eight, ten and 11.
She added that despite the successes that she had chalked as First Lady through her Rebecca Foundation and the Infata Malaria Prevention Programme “I am the first to admit that we have some challenges. The first is sustainability. Often, the work of First Ladies end, once their husbands leave office”.
However, she said “because I believe so much in what I do, I want my causes to outlive me. We are and will continue to partner with development partners and state institutions to mainstream our initiatives and ensure sustainability”.
In her welcome address the First Lady of Ethiopia, Ms Zinash Tayachew said as first ladies they had so much to do and called on them to exhibit motherly love in the discharge of their work.
She said the needs of the people in their various countries were so overwhelming and what they were doing might seem ‘like a drop in the ocean’ but added that they were still changing the lives of people who would continue to be grateful to them.
The President of OAFLAD, Mrs Adjoavi Sika Kobore, in a statement commended her fellow first ladies for their commitment towards the improvement of the lives of their citizenry especially, women, children and the vulnerable.
The outgoing Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), Mr Michel Sidibi commended the organisation for the transformational role that it had played in helping in the fight to eradicate HIV and AIDS from the continent.
According to him, the development of the continent could not be done with money from elsewhere only but also with the contributions from the people within.
The African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Madam Amira Elfadil Mohamed said ensuring that the health of people remained a priority on the continent was a key priority to the AU.
She said as women their role could not be over looked as their contribution was inevitable to the development of the health of their people.
She therefore commended the organisation for the new strategic vision that it had charted for its self.
In their various interventions, other first ladies present pledged their support to aligning their work to the new strategic vision of the organisation to help in the betterment of the lives of their people.