Mlambo-Ngcuka wins Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation award

21st September 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

Nonprofit organisation the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced former UN under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as the winner of the 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award.

As part of its yearly Goalkeepers campaign, the foundation also announced the winners of three additional Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards.

The 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award recognises a leader who has driven progress on a global scale toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year's award is being presented to Mlambo-Ngcuka for her global leadership on gender equality and continued advocacy to address the pandemic's disproportionate impact on women and girls.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, a former Deputy President of South Africa, has dedicated her life to advancing social justice and working with civil society organisations, notes the foundation.

During her tenure as executive director of UN Women, she led work to strengthen and expand partnerships with government, male allies, and the media, all in service of advancing SDG 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Mlambo-Ngcuka played a vital role in helping to spearhead and deliver the Generation Equality Forum in July, which helped mobilise more than $40-billion in commitments from member States, the private sector, philanthropies, and civil society to drive transformative change for women and girls around the world, notes the foundation.

This year's three additional Goalkeepers Global Goals awards were given to Fairooz Faizah Beether of Bangladesh, Jenifer Colpas of Colombia, and Satta Sheriff of Liberia. Each awardee was recognised for their work supporting global goals in their local communities.

The 2021 Changemaker Award, which celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership, recognises Beether for her work promoting good health and well-being (SDG 3).

She is the co-founder of the Moner School, an online platform that aims to raise awareness around mental health and ensure equal access to mental health care across the country.

The 2021 Progress Award, which celebrates an individual who supports progress through a science, technology, digital or business initiative, recognises Colpas for her work to improve access to clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).

Colpas is the co-founder and executive director of Tierra Grata, a social enterprise that develops low-cost, easy-to-install solutions providing access to clean energy, safe water, and sanitation services to rural communities in Colombia.

The 2021 Campaign Award, which celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change, recognises Sheriff for her work to promote gender equality (SDG 5).

Sheriff is the founder and executive director of Action for Justice and Human Rights, a youth-led non-governmental organisation founded to advocate for and ensure access to justice and respect of human rights in Liberia, focusing particularly on helping women and girls.