Annabel Ogwang-Okot, the Centenary Foundation, Chief Executive Officer

First, tell us about the Centenary Foundation. What is it about and what does it stand for?

The Centenary Foundation is one of the subsidiaries of the Centenary Group. It is the social development and sustainability arm of the Centenary Group. The Foundation is also the special purpose vehicle through which the Group ensures that social economic impact in the communities is realised, to complement the value-based business results.  

Centenary Foundation’s vision is a ‘safe and sustainable world where all citizens live a healthy, fulfilled life of self-reliance in dignity’. To achieve this ambition, the Foundation empowers men, women, boys, girls, marginalised and vulnerable groups to sustainably transform their lives and thereby address poverty, conserve natural resources and make the world a safer and better place to live and thrive.  The Strategic focus areas are Financial inclusion and Economic empowerment, Environmental Conservation, Access to Education and Health and support to the social mission of the Church.  

The Foundation is the special purpose subsidiary through which the Group ensures that social economic impact amongst the target group and in communities is realised, to complement the value-based business results.  

The Foundation promotes holistic and sustainable development through the lens of Economic Social Governance (ESG) principles, to ensure that the Group and its subsidiaries integrate ESG in their policies and practices and remain true to business and profits not overriding social good. 

Addressing poverty in all its forms is key for the Foundation. This requires implementing community and Church social actions and development activities that address structural inequalities and inequities that keep PWDs, women and girls, men and boys the needy and community members poor. And yet minimize harm.      

Are there any specific areas that you are focused on? How do you identify the causes or initiatives that you support?

The Centenary Foundation is a value-based social development organization whose rural development mandate is drawn from that of the Group. 

The Foundation’s work is built on 6 pillars and these are: health, education, economic transformation, environmental conservation, and support for the church’s social mission. The 6th pillar, which is critical to the survival and sustainability of the Foundation and its activities, is resource mobilisation to enable the Foundation to fulfil all the other results and achieve impact. 

Annabel (2nd left) participates in the just-ended Women in Fintech Summit 2023. The Foundation is hedging its anti-poverty bets on skilling the youth with employable skillsets.

While the Centenary Group has committed a percentage of its profits to social development and sustainability actions, the demands are enormous considering the greater level of need out there. Therefore, enhancing our impact, requires that we bring on board other like-minded partners. 

What are some of the key highlights of the Foundation for the over 1 year you have been around?

Finalising the five-year strategy, which was just presented to the board is critical. 

Together with our sister subsidiaries, we have driven financial literacy initiatives with the Youth, women, farmers, business and religious communities. Together with the Centenary Bank and Rotary International, we have galvanised communities across the country to understand and contribute towards the fight against Cancer.

The Foundation has supported environmental programmes for tree growing, water and environmental sanitation, improving soil health, promoting renewable energy and responsible plastic waste disposal.  School administrators and leaders have been trained to enhance the standards of Education in schools.  

We plan to implement the following programmes: 

๏  Youth Entrepreneurship and employment, through the Youth Hub shall leverage the strengths of the Group subsidiaries to promote affordable credit, technology skills and solutions and community mobilization and capacity enhancement. Young women and people with disabilities will be supported to take advantage of these spaces.

๏ The Green Schools Environmental Programme, is a catch-them-young 360-degree programme that seeks to shift the minds and attitudes of young people to care about Mother Earth. 

๏ Education: Education is the key to every country’s development. However, there are challenges with the cost of education which is prohibitive for several parents and children from poor families. We intend to have a bursary and scholarship scheme that supports children who are either vulnerable, such as orphans, or children who are intelligent to maximise their potential or help them achieve their full dreams.  

๏ Working with the Church to support social Programmes: Over and above working with the various catholic churches and Caritas on various social impact programs,  we shall work with the Church as agents of change on environmental sanitation. 

Internally, staff will continue to improve their environmental footprint by the sustainable use of resources like paper,  water, and energy.  

The future looks bright.

About the Author

Muhereza Kyamutetera is the Executive Editor of CEO East Africa Magazine. I am a travel enthusiast and the Experiences & Destinations Marketing Manager at EDXTravel. Extremely Ugandaholic. Ask me about #1000Reasons2ExploreUganda and how to Take Your Place In The African Sun.