Once again it is that time of the year when we at ONE Africa celebrate the many Africa-led efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). This year’s ONE Award is especially significant as it comes at a time when the world is preparing to adopt the new Sustainable development Goals (SDGs). We believe the adoption of the new Global Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly in September to build on and succeed the MDGs will provide a broader and deeper framework for anti-poverty organizations and activists to do more by 2030.
Since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 Africa has made tremendous progress toward ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases. Malawi has raised agricultural productivity; primary school enrollment has gone up in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda; Zambia has improved access to basic rural health services; Niger has made strides in large-scale reforestation; Senegal is on track to meet the MDG target on water and sanitation; and malaria incidence has fallen in Niger, Togo and Zambia. While many challenges remain, I continue to be inspired by how local communities are meeting these challenges and the resilience with which they are working to overcome them.
I am even more inspired by cutting edge, youth led solutions across the continent that are harnessing technology to help ensure greater inclusion among those usually excluded from accessing development services. The story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to move the African continent forward in its goals to eradicate extreme poverty, end preventable diseases, increase food security and overall create better societies is why the ONE Africa award was created. It is therefore indeed a great privilege for us at ONE, to be able to recognize, once a year the efforts, energy and enthusiasm of these amazing African organizations that are making a difference and share their stories with the world.
It is worth noting that this year ONE is running a campaign called Poverty is Sexist, which seeks to promote the advancement of humankind by insisting on policy interventions by our African governments that promote and ensure equal opportunities for women and girls, especially in the poorest countries. This campaign was inspired, in many ways, by those working to help lift every girl and woman out of poverty at the community level so that they can take hold of equal opportunities, break from cultural and social constraints that may be holding them back, and become drivers of poverty reduction.
It is this kind of energy and dedication that gives meaning to the ONE Africa Award, established in 2008 as a means of recognizing and elevating some of Africa’s grassroots efforts towards achieving the MDG’s. We are proud to be able to celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the best Africa-led efforts towards achieving the MDG’s.
Indeed, the 2015 ONE Award is particularly special in that it not only seeks to recognize the current efforts but because this is the year when the new SDGs kick off to replace the MDGs, this year’s Award also seeks to encourage Africa’s civil society to begin thinking about contributing to the new Sustainable Development Goals. In that regard it will be important to help ensure that commitments on the ground are honored and progress achieved. When it comes to more lives saved, more girls in school and more inclusive growth realized.
I am therefore once again delighted and privileged to invite civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and other groups based in Africa that can demonstrate commitment and success in advocacy towards achieving the MDGs to apply for the award. And please share with any organizations you know that are playing their part in making our continent a better place.
We are looking forward to this year’s exciting submissions.