First Lady of Tanzania

Her Excellency MAMA SALMA KIKWETE First Lady, United Republic of Tanzania

Her Excellency
First Lady, United Republic of Tanzania

Her Excellency Mama Salma Kikwete is the founder and Chairperson of the Wanawake na Maendeleo Foundation (WAMA) which literally translates to Women in Development.  WAMA Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to increasing number of economically empowered women, educated healthy children and progressive communities. In order to ensure that girls from poor families do not miss this chance of a life time, WAMA Foundation has scaled up its girl child education program which has so far benefited more than six hundred (600) girls. To date two hundred and ninety (290) have a 4 year full scholarships that enable them to pay for school fees, uniforms, books, transportation and other costs. WAMA joins other NGOs that serve the interests of women and children. The Foundation has a strategic plan to make significant contributions to Tanzanian women and their families through working closely with the government and donors.

She is a mother of five children though she and her husband are parents to children from his first marriage totaling nine children.

She believes that education and health are fundamental in unlocking the potential of many Tanzanians to contribute to their country’s development, Africa and the world at large. She maintains that education, entrepreneurship and innovation are the key to liberate Tanzanians from ignorance, poverty and disease. In the 2015 new year state house party Mama Salma host annually, she outlined the current achievements of WAMA: WAMA funded Nakayama Secondary school supports 400 students including Advanced Level Students who take science and business studies and established Advanced Level studies in July 2014: WAMA was able to complete the construction of WAMA Sharaf Secondary School in Lindi Region which is expected to benefit most girls in the region.

She is a firm advocate of improved gender norms, maternal and child health especially the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT), education for girl students and women economic empowerment for ensuring equitable development. Salma Kikwete and the President were among the first in Tanzania to be tested in 2005, when the government launched a national campaign for voluntary HIV/AIDS testing in Dar es Salaam.

To realize this vision and give support to her great course, Mama Salma Kikwete founded the Wanawake na Maendeleo Foundation (WAMA).  Her vision is backed by the invaluable firsthand knowledge and experience she gained in the more than 20 years she spent as a teacher. Mama Salma actively participates in education summits globally, such as the recently held September 2014 International Conference on Population and Development in New York.

As a firm advocate of Girls’ education, through WAMA Foundation, she has spearheaded the construction of the WAMA-Nakayama Secondary School, a dedicated Secondary School for orphaned girls and those who come from poor families from all regions in Tanzania. Efforts are underway to build similar schools in other parts of the country. This is to ensure that girls from poor backgrounds especially orphans can access quality secondary education.

As of 2009, Mama Salma Kikwete was made and still is the Vice President of the Organization of African First Ladies Against AIDS (OAFLA), Eastern African Region. In 2012, the First Lady Salma Kikwete, former Botswana President Festus Mogae and ten other African figures partnered with UNESCO and UNAIDS to support the Eastern and Southern Africa Commitment on HIV Prevention and Sexual Health for Young People, which was launched in November 2011

Mama Kikwete is an active player in international fora, dedicated to the improvement of women’s welfare. She is a member of the High Level Leadership Group on Adolescents and Young People’s Needs and Rights in the Eastern Southern Africa (ESA), the Patron of the Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA) and the Girl Guide Association of Tanzania. In recognition of her leadership and commitment, she has received numerous awards including: Leadership and Role Modeling in Immunization Issues from GAVI Alliance, Champion of Anti Stigma campaigns by the Embassy of United States in Dar es Salaam, Milenium Development Goals: 2013 Women’s Progress Award, The Global Inspirational Leadership Award 2013 by Centre for Economic and Leadership Development, among many others. “Treat Every Child as Your Own” is her trademark theme in Tanzania.