Two groups based in Kenya have been recognised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their work in accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals.
The organisations are actively helping stem the spread of Covid-19 in Kenya while defending against the ripple effects of the pandemic on the country’s economy and health sector.
The announcement was made during this year’s virtual Goalkeepers event on September 21.
Dr John N. Nkengasong, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), was named winner of the 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award, during the event.
Last year, this award went to Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for improving access to sanitation in his country.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said this year, Dr Nkengasong and the Africa CDC had done exemplary work in response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Africa.
“Dr Nkengasong and his team at Africa CDC are deeply deserving of this award,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Their commitment to securing the latest innovations from elsewhere in the world—as well as developing them themselves—will go a long way towards ensuring that the continent has the vaccines and medicines it needs to fight Covid-19.”
The foundation said Dr Nkengasong played a central voice for Africa’s scientific community.
As co-chair of the Africa CDC Consortium for Covid-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials , Dr Nkengasong is leading the securement of a variety of late-stage vaccine clinical trials on the continent by bringing together global vaccine developers, funders, and local facilitators.
“This work will be vital to ensure that the most promising vaccine candidates for the African population are identified and scaled up,” the foundation said.
In addition to Dr Nkengasong, other awards this year went to Hauwa Ojeifo of Nigeria, Bonita Sharma of Nepal, and the MASH Project Foundation based in India.
Each was recognised for playing a role in addressing the effects of Covid-19 in their communities.
The 2020 Changemaker Award, which celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership, recognized Hauwa Ojeifo for her work promoting gender equality (Global Goal number five).
Ojeifo is a sexual and domestic abuse survivor and the founder of She Writes Woman, a women-led movement giving the issue of mental health a voice in Nigeria.
The 2020 Progress Award, which celebrates an individual who supports progress via a science, technology, digital, or business initiative, went to Bonita Sharma of Nepal for her work promoting good health and well-being (Global Goal #3).
Sharma is the co-founder and CEO of Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI), a youth-led nonprofit working to improve the nutritional health of nursing mothers and young children and to economically empower marginalized women through business opportunities.
The 2020 Campaign Award, which celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change, recognized the MASH Project Foundation for furthering global cooperation and partnership (Global Goal #17).
A social enterprise based in India, the MASH Project Foundation is building a global community of social change makers by bridging the gaps between governments, civil society, the corporate sector, youth, and media to drive social impact.
“While the pandemic and the inequalities it highlights will undoubtedly define this era, the world is seeing the very best of humanity emerge,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re inspired by the energy and drive of this year’s award winners to create a safer, healthier, and more equitable world.”
The foundation also announced two dynamic, cross-sector partnerships called Goalkeepers Accelerators, with two Kenyan partners.
These partnerships catalyze progress by bringing together partners from different sectors to pool their collective investment, knowledge, and big ideas to tackle one or more of the SDGs.
The 2020 Accelerators—led by Sanergy and Educate!—are actively helping stem the spread of Covid-19 in Kenya while defending against the ripple effects of the pandemic on the country’s economy and a multitude of health issues.
The first accelerator – Safe Sanitation for a Healthy, Sustainable World – is Led by Sanergy.
This Accelerator will scale access to safe sanitation services in Kenya’s informal settlements and help stop the spread of Covid-19 by providing soap, PPE and hand-washing education for residents, with the goal of reaching 1.3 million Kenyans by 2025.
As part of this Accelerator, Sanergy will expand to Kisumu to bring its proven sanitation services to 300,000 Kisumu residents by 2025.
Partners involved in this Accelerator driving progress toward SDG 6 include the Kisumu and Nairobi county governments, the Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company (Kiwasco), AFD, and Who Gives a Crap.
The second accelerator, Preparing Youth to Thrive in the Informal Economy, is led by Educate!
It will launch a new series of skills-based, intensive training bootcamps to provide a pathway to a safe and sustainable livelihood by equipping out-of-school youth with the skills they need to succeed in Kenya’s high-growth informal economy.
As part of the Accelerator, Educate! will pilot its eLearning platform NawiriPro to train 100,000 youth to become professional motorbike drivers in Kenya by 2023; launch a new bootcamp model supporting women and rural youth by 2021; and create a marketplace for young people to access business services and resources.
Partners involved in this Accelerator driving progress toward SDG 8 include the Kenyan ministries of health and trade, Accenture Development Partners, Aspira, the Atlassian Foundation, Imaginable Futures, the Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation, Rippleworks Foundation, Sendy, the Umsizi Fund, and the Waterloo Foundation.
The announcement of the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards and the Accelerators follows the release last week of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Report.
This year’s report shows how economic damage caused by Covid-19 has reinforced inequities and derailed achievement of the Global Goals, but also spotlights countries innovating to meet the challenge and outlines a path for a shared global response.