This weekend 60,000 chagne makers gathered in Central Park, New York for the Global Citizen Festival - a massive advocacy event designed to put the movement to end extreme poverty in the spotlight.
As they came together with top artists, celebrity ambassadors, anti-poverty ambassadors, and more than a dozen NGO partners to raise their voices for more action on this important NGO issue, we wanted to celebrate the progress that has been made in the fight against extreme poverty, and some of the inspiring individuals working to make change happen around the world - with the Global Citizen Movement Awards.
The Global Citizen Movement Awards recognise outstanding individuals in the fight against extreme poverty, and are presented in four categories, each representing four pillars of Global Citizenship, to acknowledge the diversity of skills and passions we can each contribute to the fight against extreme poverty.
The award recipients embody the diversity of efforts and resources that are needed to achieve our generation’s common goal: the end of extreme poverty. Each winner will be presented with a Global Citizen medallion, generously donated and designed by Kozminsky Jewellry. We are honored and excited to acknowledge these recipients as leading Global Citizens!
Award Recipient 1: Wifrid Macena for Community & Leadership
The Community and Leadership Award recognises candidates who work to help and inspire others overcome the conditions of living in extreme poverty.
Wilfred is an amputee in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake; having had his leg stuck under masses of rubble during the devastation. He is recognized today as a man who through tremendous pain and hardship had the courage of a relentless smile and the boundless spirit to see opportunity in the challenges he faced and act upon those opportunities in order to help others.
After his amputation, Wilfred founded and took on captaincy of a soccer team composed entirely of amputees. Today, the team acts as a support and motivation network for players who compete internationally, having just completed a tour of the US. During his visit, Wilfred spent time training and supporting returned US veteran amputees in playing soccer with crutches.
Wilfred is a leading Global Citizen because he has overcome the adversity that challenged him by living in extreme poverty. Moreover, Wilfred now works to inspire and help others overcome the challenges they experience in their lives.
Wilfred now has his sights on growing his soccer team the Tarantulas, while also training for the Paralympics as a runner.
Edna Adan for Dedication to Service
The Dedication to Service award recognises those who have dedicated their knowledge, training and professional skills to directly improving and giving back to their communities.
Edna Adan has committed her life to improving the health and well being of the people in Somaliland - an area in Africa which experiences one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. Every year, one baby in eight dies in infancy, while nearly 4000 Somali women die in childbirth.
Edna left Somaliland to study for several years in the UK, becoming the first qualified nurse-midwife from Somaliland. After years of work in maternal healthcare alongside the World Health Organisation, Edna sold her possessions and returned to her native land to fulfil her lifelong dream of opening a maternal health care hospital. After 4 years of overcoming financial and logistical setbacks, the doors to the Edna Adan University Hospital opened in 2000.
Today, the hospital has trained up to 200 nurses and 150 midwives; with a vision of training and dispatching 1,000 qualified midwives throughout Somaliland, so that women living in the most rural areas can have access to a basic right, maternal care.
Edna Adan is an advocate for women and girls, men, families and communities in Somaliland.
Urmi Basu for Commitment to Justice & Systemic Change
This candidate is dedicated to highlighting the structural transformations necessary to end the cycle of poverty. Dedicated to changing the laws, norms and systems that keep people trapped in extreme poverty. This winner understands the end of extreme poverty as a fight for justice.
Urmi Basu fights gender inequality in India, and is working to empower women against a void of legal and social protections that exist in her country. In the year 2000, using her personal savings alone, Urmi Basu founded New Light, a secular non-profit charitable trust that operates as a crèche and night shelter to protect and educate young girls, children and women in a red light area of Kolkata, India - Urmi’s city of birth.
Her goal is to support women who are victims of trafficking and forced prostitution empowering them with rights that have been long denied. She provides them safe shelter, educational opportunities, recreational facilities, healthcare and legal aid. New Light also provides micro-credit facilities and an income-generation program for mothers within the area.
Dr Peter Salk, on behalf of his father Jonas Salk, for Technology & Innovation
The Technology and Innovation Award recognizes pioneers in their fields, making scientific, medical, or technological developments available to benefit those living in extreme poverty.
Dr. Peter Salk will accept the Global Citizen Movement Award on behalf of Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and all medical scientists who pioneered vaccines – modern medical miracles - to immunise against polio and other preventable diseases. Their innovation and discovery – a historic triumph of preventive medicine unparalleled in history - has saved the lives of millions of children and greatly reduced the number of preventable deaths worldwide. Humanity owes them a great debt.
“Helping to complete the eradication of polio… would be a gift not only to his [Jonas Salk’s] memory, but to the many thousands of people who have committed their own professional careers and volunteer efforts to this cause.” – Dr. Peter Salk.
On April 12 1955, at a time when polio was destroying more American children’s lives than any other communicable disease, Jonas Salk publicly declared he had found a vaccine to safeguard against this debilitating disease.
Since then, polio has been eradicated by 99% around the world and is now endemic in just three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since 1988, more than 2 billion children have been immunized against this ancient disease and more than 8 million are alive and walking today.
He devoted a significant amount of attention to broader aspects of humanity and the challenges we face. He hoped that success in the global polio eradication effort would increasingly turn attention to other global health concerns. A year before he died, Salk urged the international community to treat poverty “as though it is a disease” and to eradicate it.