“It started when my attention was drawn to a group of students and doctors who were raising funds for PPE’s for young post-graduate students especially in Kenyatta National and Referral Hospital (KNH).”
Dr James Mwangi, the resilient CEO of Equity Bank and one of second-generation Rwathia Boys who braved poverty and colonialism to build a multi-billion empire in Nairobi has donated Sh300 million in the war against Covid-13 pandemic, becoming the top individual donor to the initiative.
Dr Mwangi’s donation cements his status as a top Kenyan philanthropist who among others donated Sh100 million in 2013 to Meru University of Science and Technology, a public university where he is a chancellor.
In his league are industrialists Manu Chandaria of Comcraft Group of Companies and Narendra Raval, the Chairman of the Devki Group of Companies.
Dr Mwangi’s gesture is also a continuation of a legacy started in the early 1930s by uneducated, barefoot group of boys from Rwathia village in Murang’a County who came in Nairobi to look for money. Years later, the boys, all now deceased except one, have made billions in real estate and trade investments.
Equity Group Foundation makes the biggest donation
Dr Mwangi’s contribution was revealed today when Equity Group Foundation (EGF), which is the founding chairman, with support from the Mastercard Foundation announced a commitment of Sh1.1 billion to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical staff dealing with COVID-19 patients in public hospitals in Kenya.
The donation is so far the biggest single gift made to the anti-Covid-19 fight.
The amount includes Equity Bank’s Sh300 million and the Mastercard Foundation’s Sh500 and Sh300 million from Mwangi’s family.
Speaking while announcing the initiative, Dr. Mwangi said, “It started when my attention was drawn to a group of students and doctors who were raising funds for PPE’s for young post-graduate students especially in Kenyatta National and Referral Hospital (KNH).”
He added, “When I shared the need with my family, a robust discussion revealed the urgency to holistically address the issue as it was not prudent to provide the PPE’s to students without also focusing on the plight of the doctors, nurses, clinical officers, and medical staff.”
Dr Mwangi is a member of Kenya’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund Board.
“We invited the CEO of the Kenya Medical Association and a group of doctors from KNH and University of Nairobi where we established the need for PPE’s for medical staff handling COVID-19 patients in the country. A team of seven was formed to help structure this initiative,” Dr Mwangi said.
The committee will coordinate the implementation of the initiative to ensure the availability of PPE’s across the country and will help to scale up a mental wellness support system for medical staff initiated by the
Dr Mwangi appealed to Kenyans to observe the following recommendations from the Ministry of Health on social distancing, washing hands and sanitizing regularly, limitation of movement, self-quarantining when in doubt, and wearing face masks when in public.
“By observing these recommendations, we shall collectively as a community and society become the first line of defence to avoid paying the price of an exponential community spread of the pandemic.”