On the 5th of March 2019, Higherlife Foundation Co-Chair Tsitsi Masiyiwa was honoured by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)* with the prestigious Champions for Change Award for Leadership in London.
Now in its 13th year, the Champions for Change Award celebrates leaders and visionaries who demonstrate remarkable leadership in promoting the rights and well-being of women and girls. Previous honourees include Melinda Gates, Co-founder of the Gates Foundation; Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court Justice, among others.
Her philanthropic journey started in 1996 when together with her husband Strive she founded Higherlife Foundation, a non-profit organisation with a mission to invest in Africa’s people – our human capital – to drive Africa’s prosperity. With an initial focus on education, the Foundation’s portfolio has since expanded to include impact investments in leadership development, gender equality, healthcare and sanitation, education, job creation and entrepreneurship, and rural transformation.
Throughout her work with Higherlife Foundation, Tsitsi Masiyiwa’s dedication to women and girls has remained steadfast. In her acceptance speech, she stressed the importance of investing in women and girls, “One thing that I have learned through our work — and it is so clear to me — is that if we want to make this bold bet against poverty, we must invest in girls’ education and in improving livelihoods of rural families. So many things follow from this: we know that for every additional year of education a girl can complete, it will lead to better health and stronger economic status for her and her family”.
In line with Mrs Masiyiwa and Higherlife Foundation’s focus on gender equality, as well as rural investment, she recently launched a $100M fund to catalyse rural development in Zimbabwe, with 50% of the funding being reserved for women.
With many awards and accolades to her name, Tsitsi Masiyiwa is a trailblazing social entrepreneur whose prolific contributions to bettering Africa’s future are noteworthy. As a result of her work through the Foundation over the last twenty years, Tsitsi has become an advisor and thought partner to universities, national leaders, and social entrepreneurs on issues of education, leadership development, and youth empowerment.
Congratulations to Mrs Masiyiwa on this exciting honor!
* About ICRW – The International Center for Research on Women is a global research institute whose mission is to empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional headquarters in New Delhi, India and Kampala, Uganda, ICRW provides rigorous research evidence to inform programs and policies that help alleviate poverty, promote gender equity and social inclusion, and protect the rights of women, girls and marginalized communities.