2020 has been an immensely challenging year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economies are under pressure and will take time to fully recover.
A lot of people have justifiably been asking whether humanity will be able to achieve its goals as set out in the universally agrees Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The shutdowns have triggered an unprecedented regression in economic activity and this has badly hurt the prospects of both developed and developing markets.
One would wonder if we as a species have learnt our lesson and going forward, will emphasize on measuring progress in all aspects of human development.
The measurement should be holistic with early warning alerts that will help us avert tragedies in our increasingly connected world.
It is no secret that Bill Gates warned the world about the effects of a global pandemic. We did not listen to him at the time, unfortunately, COVID-19 hit us and we were caught napping. Many a preventable deaths ravaged our societies due to our lack of robust healthcare systems.
It is our hope that this crisis has changed the way we view risks and threats to our livelihood and environment.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been at the forefront in measuring and tracking the progress towards the attainment of the SDGs and created a platform for champions called Goalkeepers, who in their spaces are contributing in their own way.
Every year, Goalkeepers meet in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and celebrate the milestones towards sustainability whilst also discussing the challenges of opportunities missed.
This year, like all previous years, the foundation has unveiled the Goalkeepers who have gone the extra mile in pushing for SDG goal attainment. The Global Goal awards are an annual recognition of remarkable individuals taking action to help achieve the Global Goals by 2030.
Goalkeepers is dedicated to accelerating progress towards the Global Goals. In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development to achieve a better world by 2030. Started by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goalkeepers is a catalyst for action toward these goals—bringing together leaders from around the world to accelerate progress toward ending poverty and fighting inequality.
On September 22nd, the Gates Foundation announced the fifth annual Global Goals award winners. Although Goalkeepers couldn’t celebrate them in person, it was important than ever to recognize the hard work that these individuals have done to ensure progress toward the Global Goals in the face of COVID-19.
The 2020 Global Goal Award winners were:
BONITA SHARMA, INNOVATOR, BELIEVER (Nepal)
Bonita is the co-founder and CEO of Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI) – a youth-led non-profit organization in Nepal. Bonita founded SOCHAI to improve the nutritional health for nursing mothers and young children and to economically empower marginalised women through business opportunities. Bonita was listed by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential women in the world in 2019. She has been recognized by UNESCO as a Female Champion for educating women and girls in Nepal. She was also the winner of One Young World Lead 2030 Challenge and UNICEF Asia Pacific Youth Innovation Challenge 2016 for her idea of ‘Nutribeads’ bracelet – a low tech wearable nutrition education tool.
HAUWA OJEIFO LEADER, ACTIVIST (Nigeria)
Hauwa is a sexual and domestic abuse survivor and the founder of She Writes Woman, a women-led movement giving mental health a voice in Nigeria. She Writes Woman is providing mental health support through a helpline, teletherapy and virtual support groups serving as a first point of contact to ensure that survivors of gender-based violence and those living with mental health conditions have access to confidential psychosocial support and counselling. Hauwa is championing “nothing about us without us” by advocating for the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities in decision making on laws, policies and solutions that concern them. In February 2020, she became the first woman and person to testify before the Nigerian parliament on the rights of persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities in the country’s bid to pass its first mental health law.
MASH PROJECT FOUNDATION – COLLABORATOR, CHANGE MAKERS (India)
MASH Project Foundation is a youth led social enterprise based in India that develops and implements support systems for people who work for social causes through partnerships, and with specific focus on Global Goal 17 Partnerships for the Goals. Their mission is to build a global community of social change-makers and they do this by bridging the gap between governments, civil society, corporate sector, youth, and media to drive social impact. They empower, educate, and mobilize like-minded individuals who are all working to progress social causes. Their work reaches over 20 cities, they have 500+ partnerships, and have enabled 300+ changemakers.
DR. JOHN NKENGASONG – DIRECTOR, AFRICA, CDC (Cameroon)
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Director Dr. John Nkengasong has become a central voice for Africa’s scientific community. He is a relentless proponent of global collaboration and evidence-based public health practices, and a champion for minimizing the social and economic consequences of COVID-19 across the African continent.
Through his role as the co-chair of the African 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 for clinical trials. This work will be vital to ensure the most promising vaccine candidates for the African population are identified and scaled up. He was appointed by the World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as Special Envoy on COVID-19.
Prior to his appointment with Africa CDC, he was Associate Director of Laboratory Science and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch at the Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Nkengasong has been published in internationally revered journals and books and has received several awards for his work on HIV/AIDS.
2020 GOALKEEPERS REPORT
THE GOALKEEPERS REPORT IS AN ANNUAL LOOK AT OUR COLLECTIVE PROGRESS.
THE 2020 REPORT EXAMINES THE WIDE-RANGING IMPACTS OF COVID-19, AND WHAT WE MUST DO TO END IT.