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White House Highlights Local Impact of Social Entrepreneurship in Africa

Faith-Based and Community Initiatives conference hosted in Rwanda


Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580


KIGALI, Rwanda, April 1 /Christian Newswire/ -- The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives today hosted a conference on Public-Private Partnerships and Economic Development in Kigali, Rwanda, to highlight and expand the growing leadership of faith-based and community organizations in international social enterprise.  


White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Director Jay Hein was joined by His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Admiral Timothy Ziemer, the President's Malaria Initiative Coordinator; best-selling author and Pastor Rick Warren; and other government, private-sector and nonprofit leaders.  Participants explored innovative solutions to addressing human need and further advance the U.S. Government's battle against poverty, disease, and other ills in Rwanda and across Africa.  Following President Bush's visit to Rwanda last month, the conference furthered the President's vision for "compassion in action" across Africa and around the globe.


"Today's conference joins public and private leaders from American and Rwanda to leverage their unique strengths and those of faith-based and community organizations," said Jay Hein, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.  "Empowering locally-built solutions and expanding neighbor-to-neighbor service is central to the President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative and is now an integral part of the U.S. Government's efforts to address human need both at home and abroad."


Today's event featured a range of effective partnership models between the U.S. Government, Rwandan Government, non-government organizations, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs to target community needs throughout Rwanda.  By engaging multi-sector strategies and building sustainable public-private partnerships, the U.S. Government has redefined its approach to international development and disease prevention in Africa.


For example, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President Malaria Initiative (PMI) engage unprecedented efforts to combat disease in Rwanda and other developing countries, while helping to build long-term economic stability.  These efforts represent large-scale implementation of President Bush's Faith-Based and Community Initiative vision for empowering local solutions to address vexing social challenges.


"I am committed to building strong networks among established community groups and faith-based organizations to protect health and save lives," said Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, coordinator, U.S. President's Malaria Initiative. "These groups add tremendous value to our efforts because of their ability to reach the grassroots level, their capacity to mobilize significant numbers of volunteers, and draw people who have credibility in their communities."


President Bush launched the Faith-Based and Community Initiative in his first days in office to strengthen and grow the work of faith-based and other non-profit organizations as central partners in what the President calls "a determined attack on need."   The Initiative seeks to expand the impact of the nonprofit sector by growing partnerships with government, philanthropists, corporations and other partners to address community problems.


For more information on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci/.