The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) awarded Shs80 Million to five outstanding community projects and for the first time recognised two journalists whose excellent reporting was a catalyst for change in society, at the annual Torch Awards event at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
Child Health Education Empowerment and Rehabilitation Uganda (CHEER)walked away with Shs20m as the overall winner under the health category. CHEER Uganda offers support for rehabilitation of children with physical disabilities.
The other winners included; Kyaninga Child Development Center from Western Region, Help Disabled Children Excel (HEDCHE)from Northern Uganda, Atrius Medicare from Central Region.These all got Shs15milion respectively. In the media category, Robert Mwanje of BSS TV scooped the award for overall winner and also got a lap top and professional camera, while Malcom Musiime of NTV emerged as 1st runners up and won a lap top.
While presiding over the award ceremony at Kampala Serena Hotel today, the Prime Minister and Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda applauded NSSF for the initiative.
“It is gratifying that entities such as NSSF are getting involved in supporting community projects, not just here in Kampala, but also across the country. Over the last 3 decades, the Government of Uganda has implemented numerous projects, not only to uplift our communities from poverty, but also to empower them,” Ruhakana said, adding that these efforts are bearing fruit, evidenced by the reduction of the proportion of the Ugandan population living below the national poverty line from 31.1% in 2006 to 19.7% in 2013, according to the 2016 Poverty Assessment by the World Bank.
“I am pleased with the transformation the Fund has undergone over the last 6 years.Most people do not realize that social security is a fundamental human right, as articulated in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” Ruhakana said, adding that, under this covenant, Governments have “an obligation to fulfil”, meaning that we must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of social security by all members of the society.
Hon. Ruhakanaalso echoed that Initiatives such as the NSSF Torch Awards are a welcome supplement to government programmes to uplift the lives of people and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – including an end to hunger, poverty in all its forms, good health and well-being, quality education, Clean Water and Sanitation, among others.
NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said the awards are premised on the fact that as a socially responsible organisation, the Fund has a duty to contribute to the wellbeing of the communities in which it operates.
“Our corporate social investment stems from our sustainable approach to doing business which involves being exemplary in our financial performance while at the same time setting high corporate social responsibility targets,” Byarugaba added.
Projects that have previously benefited, including 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation (40-40), Childcare and Rescues Home (Makindye), Youth and Women Empowerment Foundation (Kabarole), Mbale Maternity Home, Kisozi Orphan Support Center (Gomba), and Children of Uganda- Mukono, among others have not only grown and expanded their wings but have also inspired more people to do community service.
The Annual Torch Awards is an initiative by NSSF aimed at recognising individuals and institutions that are transforming their communities and making a positive impact in Education, Health, Youth and other Disadvantaged Groups as spelt out in the Fund’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy.