The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has announced four global leaders as winners of its 2022 Goalkeepers Global Goals Award for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their communities and around the world.
The four winners are; Radhika Batra, co-founder of Every Infant Matters, a non-profit organization which provides last-mile health solutions to disadvantaged children in India. Since launching in 2017, the organization has saved 74,173 children from blindness; given prenatal vitamins to more than 40,000 disadvantaged women; and provided education to prevent gender inequality and the stigma of TB, HIV/AIDS, and blindness to more than 65,000 families. Batra is progressing SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. Batra received the 2022 Progress Award.
The 2022 Changemaker Award was presented to Zahra Joya, a journalist from Afghanistan who founded and self-funded Rukhshana Media, an online news agency focused exclusively on covering issues that affect the women of Afghanistan—the first national news organization of its kind. Joya is progressing SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 16: Peace Justice and Strong Institutions.
Vanessa Nakate, a climate justice activist from Uganda and founder of the Africa-based Rise Up Movement and the Green Schools Project received the 2022 Campaign Award for her work to highlight the disproportionate impacts of climate change, bringing much-needed attention to the inequalities that it exacerbates, especially for women and girls in Africa. Nakate is progressing SDG 4: Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, and SDG 13: Climate Action.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission (EU), received the 2022 Global Goalkeeper Award for leading both the EU and global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from crisis management to long-term recovery efforts., von der Leyen was instrumental in the creation of ACT-A, a global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. She led the efforts of the European Union to support lower-income countries in responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the awards which was attended by global leaders, influencers and changemakers and anchored by Tumelo Mothotoane and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, the head of Goalkeepers, Blessing Omakwu, noted that while the world may be far from being on track for the attainment of the SDG goals, there is cause for optimism judging from the selfless work of the winners.
Omakwu said “while the world is far from being on track to reach the Global Goals by 2030, there is still cause for optimism. We’ve seen how human ingenuity and innovation can lead to game-changing breakthroughs and progress toward our shared goals, and that’s exactly what we see in this year’s Goalkeepers Global Goals Award winners.
“Each show us how women are leading the way in coming up with the innovative solutions to move the numbers in the right direction, so that more people can lead healthy and productive lives,” she added.