We are not worried by Gates divorce, say aid beneficiaries

Thursday, May 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Bill and Melinda Gates at a past event. Photo/PD/FILE

Organisations that benefit or have benefitted from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may have no reason to worry about their operations in  the wake of the divorce between the two.

The foundation is one of the largest private philanthropic organisations in the world and spends Sh107 billion a year on Africa alone, largely to improve health and agriculture with access to vaccines and high quality seeds. 

According to the Foundation’s grants data, beneficiaries in Kenya include Mkopa, PAL Network Foundation, African Development Foundation, Africa Resource Centre for Excellence in Supply Chain, Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association, National Aids Control Council, The Hijabi Mentorship Programme, Well Told Story Foundation among others. The foundation also supports some international organisations activities in the country. 

Although some organisations were unwilling to disclose how the future would be, most stated that it will be business as usual saying that their divorce will not affect anything.

 “We will need permission from the foundation to give such information hence we cannot say anything for now.

However, the divorce will not affect anything from our end,” said a representative from Hijabi Mentorship Programme, a community based organisation that champions for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kwale county. 

 “Our operations are stable and won’t be affected by the divorce because we  always make financial plans for the next two years,” said a representative from Mkopa, a platform that offers products and services to underbanked individuals in the country.

Settlement contract

The pair announced their divorce in a joint statements posted on Twitter on Monday, saying “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said. 

They were married in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, reportedly hiring all the local helicopters to stop unwanted guests flying over.

Bill stepped down from Microsoft’s board last year to focus on his philanthropic activities.

Bill and Melinda Gates agreed how to divide their property and assets before announcing their divorce, US media report.

The billionaire couple, who have been married for 27 years, reportedly signed a separation contract outlining how their estate would be split. They, however, insisted that they will continue with their philanthropy. 

According to Martha Mugo, a family lawyer, despite although the two have agreed to work together as far as their organisation is concerned, a new structure has to be set up to ensure that no conflict arises in future. 

“It will be interesting to see how they co-chair those projects. I believe the projects will prevail beyond the divorce because this was an amicable one where even a settlement contract has been signed as opposed to an adversarial one.

However, the couple may devote less money to it over time than they would have if they had stayed together,” she says.

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