Hauwa Ojeifo wins Gates Foundation global changemaker award

Hauwa Ojeifo, founder of She Writes Woman, has won the Bill and Melinda Gates Goalkeepers award as the global change-maker of the year 2020.

Ojeifo leads She Writes Woman, a women-led movement giving mental health a voice in Nigeria.

According to the Gates Foundation, the award, which celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership, recognizes Hauwa Ojeifo of Nigeria for her work promoting gender equality (global goal #5).

Her organisation provides “mental health support through a helpline, tele-therapy 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 counseling”.

She 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.

She won the goalkeepers award alongside John Nkengasong, the director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

Nkengasong won the global goalkeeper award for his role as the “central voice for Africa’s scientific community,” and for his outstanding work in response to COVID-19.

The 2020 global goalkeeper award recognizes an established individual demonstrating significant commitment to health and development, specifically in response to the pandemic

According to the foundation, “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”.

Bonita Sharma, the co-founder and CEO of Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI), a youth-led non-profit organization in Nepal, won the progress award.

The campaign award winner for 2020 is the MASH Project Foundation, 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.

“While the pandemic and the inequalities it highlights will undoubtedly define this era, the world is seeing the very best of humanity emerge,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the foundation, said.

“We’re inspired by the energy and drive of this year’s award winners to create a safer, healthier, and more equitable world.”

Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).