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CHF International’s President Visits Rwanda’s Local Leaders, Communities

Published 02/07/2011 by Global Communities

CHF International’s President Visits Rwanda’s Local Leaders, Communities
CHF International President David Weiss visits the CHF/Rwanda country program as part of his global leadership tour of CHF offices around the world
From January 26-30, 2011, CHF International’s President David A. Weiss visited the CHF office and programs in Rwanda. Mr. Weiss was accompanied by a visiting delegation of Executives that included Ms. Lauri Fitz-Pegado, CHF Executive Board member, Mr. Martin Shapiro, CHF International Vice President for the Office of Global Operations, and Mr. Myron Golden, CHF International Regional Director for Africa. The visit comes as part of a broader leadership engagement with CHF offices around the world, including in Colombia, India, and Jordan among others.
Mr. Weiss began serving as President and CEO of CHF International on October 1, 2010. Prior to this, Mr. Weiss served as Chairman of CHF’s Board of Trustees (2008-2010) and was also the Senior Policy Advisor in the Government Affairs Group of the Washington DC office of the global law firm DLA Piper. In his extensive experience in both the United States Government and in the private sector, Mr. Weiss successfully represented major industries seeking improved access to foreign markets as well as redress from unfair foreign trade practices. As a former U.S. trade negotiator and former Foreign Service Officer (roles held for a combined 18 years), Mr. Weiss worked extensively with governments and industry in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia on a wide variety of trade and foreign policy matters.
Mr. Weiss’s visit to Rwanda came at the end of the Africa segment of his global leadership tour, during which he convened a conference involving CHF Country Directors from across the continent, including such places as Liberia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. During his time in Rwanda, Mr. Weiss and the CHF Executive delegation met with United States Government and Government of Rwanda leadership, members of Rwanda’s Civil Society and communities that benefit from CHF’s work through the USAID/Higa Ubeho program.
Most notable among the delegation’s meetings were encounters with the Honorable Minister Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, the Ambassador of the United States to Rwanda, Mr. Stuart Symington, Sr., and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID/Rwanda) Mission Director Dennis Weller–all partners with CHF in service to vulnerable children and families across the country. When asked about her perspective on working with CHF in Rwanda, Minister Mujawamariya described a very close, ongoing collaboration of support to children. “CHF,” said the Minister, “is an NGO that knows how to work with the Government of Rwanda.” Discussions with Ambassador Symington and USAID’s Director Mr. Weller focused on the many intersections between CHF/Rwanda’s economic development work and the Government of Rwanda’s private sector strengthening priorities.
The CHF delegation also spent time with CHF/Rwanda’s many civil society partners (called Rwandan Partner Organizations) to learn more about the importance of CHF/Rwanda’s organizational and technical capacity building approach and how this supports long-term sustainability of services to Rwanda’s poorest communities. Meetings with RPOs included site visits to some of the USAID/Higa Ubeho program sites. “Higa Ubeho,” which means ‘Be Determined and Live’ in Kinyarwanda, aims to increase families’ access to quality health and social services; improve household response to health and financial obstacles through economic, nutritional and educational support; and strengthen local government and civil society capacity to provide quality health and social services to those in need. The program builds upon the successes of the USAID/PEPFAR-funded Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Program (CHAMP), also managed by CHF International from 2005-2009. The CHF Executive delegation visited SINAPISI-Rwanda’s (formerly PAMASOR) “Peace Village” for orphaned children, as well as two Internal Savings and Lending Groups (ISLGs) that promote improved household literacy and financial decision-making.
President Weiss noted the dynamism and opportunity that exists in Rwanda in large part because of the strength and commitment of Rwanda’s government, the partnership with the U.S. government and other bilateral donors and the engagement of local organizations in cooperation with organizations such as CHF International.