Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush, started their three-day tour of Botswana and Namibia Tuesday, where they are inspecting the progress of their charity projects.
Announcing the visit two weeks ago, the George W. Bush Institute (GWBI) said the tour demonstrates President and Mrs. Bush’s unremitting obligation to the people of Africa through the projects being carried out by the institute’s global leadership programs.
The trip will highlight the Bush Institute-affiliated Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a global partnership to fight women’s cancers, and the Bush Institute’s First Ladies Initiative, which engages and supports first ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance issues for women and girls, the statement by the GWBI read in part.
Addressing Poverty, Disease & Security
The former first couple is celebrating the remarkable progress the institute has made in the two South African countries over the past two decades in addressing the issues of poverty, insecurity, and disease.
Mr. and Mrs. Bush are also looking at the impact U.S. foreign aid has had in lifesaving health care for millions of people in the two nations and Africa at large.
There are several organizations working under GWBI to provide a sustainable solution to HIV/AIDS and breast and cervical cancer in the developing world.
For example, the aforementioned Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has been working with the government of Botswana since 2012 in providing cancer screening and vaccination services to women and girls.
In a classroom in Botswana Tuesday, Mr. Bush discussed his passion for helping Mothers receive the proper care for a healthful and longer life, “It broke my heart that even though a woman’s life might be saved from HIV/AIDS, she was needlessly dying of cervical cancer.
“I just couldn’t imagine the despondency that would happen in some of these villages where a mom was now living but died of a disease that we could cure and fix with the right kind of policy.”
So far, the Bushes have managed to screen more than 22,000 women for cervical cancer and more than 70,000 girls have been fully vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV) in the country.
Seemingly pushing back at incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump‘s efforts to cut funding to Africa, President Bush said in Botswana, “Now is not the time to abandon the efforts that have taken place up to this point. The American people ought to be proud of what has taken place here. We should believe that every life matters, and every soul is precious.”
In Namibia, the couple will focus on how to improve the lives of women and girls with access to education, health care, and economic empowerment.
They will also visit programs supported by Namibian First Lady Monica Geingos through her One Economy Foundation.
Their trip to Namibia will conclude with a visit to facilities in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, which are being prepared for Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s service launch at health facilities across the country.
On whether he is enjoying his current trip to Africa, President Bush said, “We’re thrilled to be back here. Botswana is a unique country.”
This is President Bush’s seventh trip to Africa since he left office in 2009.