•Eden Tadesse, a human rights activist from Ethiopia, was awarded the 2023 Progress Award, which celebrates an individual who supports progress via a science, technology, digital, or business initiative.
•The 2023 Campaign Award, which celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change, was presented to The Farmlink Project
For thousands of women in Africa, simply being pregnant easily leads to loss of life.
In a post from her blog in August, a distraught Ashu Martha Agbornyenty, a Cameroonian midwife, said many survivors live with complications.
“Some mothers develop heart complications, loss of sight, loss of hearing, hypertension, digestive tract and respiratory tract complications (just to name a few) as a result of being pregnant!”
She explained how in many places, these dangers are downplayed. “Pregnancy is easy, they are just pretending” or “She is just wanting attention with all those complaints”.
Through her organisation, For Mom and Baby Foundation, Martha has mentored hundreds of young midwives in her home country, encouraging them to stay in the profession and make pregnancy a safe and enjoyable experience for women.
On Tuesday evening she was awarded the 2023 Changemaker Award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her work reducing the high rates of maternal mortality in Cameroon.
The award celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership.
“Midwives are not limited to maternity but have a big space on policy-making tables, advocacy platforms and even NGOs,” Martha said on receiving the award.
SDG 3 TARGET 1
REDUCE MATERNAL MORTALITY
By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
“Through her For Mom & Baby Foundation, she and her team provide community workshops and distribute emergency kits containing essential birth supplies to pregnant women in crisis-stricken areas, reaching 1,000 women and girls in the region since 2021,” the foundation said.
The awards ceremony took place in New York during UN General Assembly week on the evening of September 19.
In total, the Goalkeepers Global Goals Award recognised the contributions of six leaders working in their communities and around the world to advance progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
The SDGs are a set of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They were designed to address a wide range of social, economic, and environmental challenges facing the world and are meant to guide global efforts to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future.
Eden Tadesse, a human rights activist from Ethiopia, was awarded the 2023 Progress Award, which celebrates an individual who supports progress via a science, technology, digital, or business initiative.
Tadesse, also a journalist, social entrepreneur, and digital innovator, founded the online platform Invicta, a global impact platform that promotes digital financial inclusion, skills development, and access to job opportunities for urban refugees. More than 35,000 people from 90 countries have registered on Invicta, with 7,000 of them completing online courses and more than 2,200 refugees finding employment.
The 2023 Campaign Award, which celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change, was presented to The Farmlink Project, founded by Aidan Reilly, Ben Collier, and James Kanoff, for its work advocating for and building community around food equity in the United States.
Through its network of more than 600 student fellows and 6,000 volunteers, The Farmlink Project has provided 83 million meals and transferred more than 130 million pounds of nutritious food to communities facing hunger, the Foundation said.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, attended the event on Wednesday to receive the 2023 Global Goalkeeper Award, which recognizes a leader who has driven progress on a global scale toward achieving the Global Goals.
He was feted for championing resilient, equitable, and sustainable universal health coverage for all; embedding the Global Goals in Japan’s development cooperation charter; and strengthening the global health architecture to prevent future pandemics.
The two-day mainly revolved around the Global Goal 3 for which the annual Goalkeepers report showed an alarming reversal in progress.
The foundation responded by announcing commitments totaling $200 million to help achieve universal access to family planning products and information, faster delivery of lifesaving health solutions, and a reduction in maternal and child mortality.
Goalkeepers is the Gates Foundation's campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through an annual report, the Gates Foundation hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.
“Halfway to the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, our annual Goalkeepers Report shows that on 18 indicators—from poverty to gender equality, education to food security, health to climate—the world is off track,” said Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation. “But we also see where innovation, investment, and the extraordinary work of passionate changemakers around the world have the potential to turn the tide, saving the lives of 2 million mothers and babies by 2030.”
Blessing Omakwu, deputy director, global content and campaigns and Goalkeepers lead, said this year’s Goalkeepers Global Goals Award winners showed how human ingenuity and innovation can help tackle some of the world’s most difficult challenges.
“Everyone has the power to make a difference in their communities, and these courageous and indefatigable advocates are helping tens of thousands of people live healthier, more productive lives,” she said.
Special recognition awards were presented to Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter and Irish rock star and global humanitarian Bono for their work over many decades towards global health and development.
The Goalkeepers Lifetime Achievement Award was given to former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, honouring their extraordinary work on disease eradication, mental health, democracy, conflict resolution, human rights, and, most notably, combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as Guinea worm disease, river blindness, and malaria. The award was accepted on their behalf by Paige Alexander, CEO of the Carter Center, and Jason Carter, chair of the Carter Center Board of Trustees.
Bono, the founder of the ONE Campaign and (RED), lead singer of the band U2, was awarded for his significant impact on SDG progress through advocacy and campaigning with ONE and (RED).