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Gates Foundation Honors 2023 Goalkeepers Awardees, Announces Commitments to Advance the Sustainable Development Goals



At its annual Goalkeepers events, the Bill & Melinda Gates  Foundation announced this year’s Goalkeepers Global Goals Award winners, recognizing the  contributions of six remarkable leaders working in their communities and around the world to advance progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The awards ceremony took place during UN General Assembly week on the evening of September 19. It  was followed by a daytime event today to discuss current and future efforts to achieve the Global Goals  through concrete action and new approaches to development finance. Participants included Prime  Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, President William Ruto of Kenya, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De  Croo, Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and more than 400 young changemakers from around the world.

Earlier this week, the foundation responded to an alarming reversal in progress on Global Goal 3 by  announcing commitments totaling $200 million to help achieve universal access to family planning  products and information, faster delivery of lifesaving health solutions, and a reduction in maternal and  child mortality.

“Halfway to the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, our annual Goalkeepers Report shows  that on 18 indicators—from poverty to gender equality, education to food security, health to climate— the world is off track,” said Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation. “But we also see where  innovation, investment, and the extraordinary work of passionate changemakers around the world have  the potential to turn the tide, saving the lives of 2 million mothers and babies by 2030.”


The full text of the 2023 Goalkeepers Report can be found here:

Celebrating Global Goalkeepers

This year’s 2023 Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards Ceremony was hosted by Elaine Welteroth, award winning journalist, TV host, and author, and was attended by global leaders, activists, and celebrities.  The event included special performances by Tiwa Savage, Nigerian singer-songwriter and actress; Usha  Jey, Tamil dancer and choreographer; Zara Larsson, Swedish singer-songwriter; and the Harlem Gospel  Choir.; Zara Larsson, Swedish singer-songwriter; and the Harlem Gospel Choir.


The daytime event featured special guests Jon Batiste, American musician and singer; David Oyelowo, actor, director, and producer; Titilope Sonuga, Nigerian poet and former poet laureate; and Sallie  Krawcheck, founder of Ellevest.

“This year’s Goalkeepers Global Goals Award winners show us how human ingenuity and innovation can  help tackle some of the world’s most difficult challenges,” said Blessing Omakwu, deputy director, global content and campaigns and Goalkeepers lead. “Everyone has the power to make a difference in their  communities, and these courageous and indefatigable advocates are helping tens of thousands of  people live healthier, more productive lives.”

This year’s awards include:

• The 2023 Global Goalkeeper Award, which recognizes a leader who has driven progress on a  global scale toward achieving the Global Goals, was presented to the Prime Minister of Japan,  Fumio Kishida, for championing resilient, equitable, and sustainable universal health coverage  for all; embedding the Global Goals in Japan’s development cooperation charter; and  strengthening the global health architecture to prevent future pandemics.


• The 2023 Campaign Award, which celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a  community by inspiring action and creating change, was presented to The Farmlink Project,  founded by Aidan Reilly, Ben Collier, and James Kanoff, for its work advocating for and building  community around food equity in the United States. Through its network of more than 600  student fellows and 6,000 volunteers, The Farmlink Project has provided 83 million meals and  transferred more than 130 million pounds of nutritious food to communities facing hunger.

The 2023 Changemaker Award, which celebrates an individual who has inspired change using  personal experience or from a position of leadership, was presented to Ashu Martha  Agbornyenty for her work reducing high rates of maternal mortality in Cameroon. She writes  about the work of midwives and shares her knowledge on pregnancy through her blog,  Marthie’s Midwifery Diary. Through her For Mom & Baby Foundation, she and her team provide  community workshops and distribute emergency kits containing essential birth supplies to  pregnant women in crisis-stricken areas, reaching 1,000 women and girls in the region since  2021.

• The 2023 Progress Award, which celebrates an individual who supports progress via a science,  technology, digital, or business initiative, was presented to journalist, social entrepreneur, digital  innovator, and human rights activist Eden Tadesse. Tadesse founded the online platform Invicta, a global impact platform that promotes digital financial inclusion, skills development, and access  to job opportunities for urban refugees. More than 35,000 people from 90 countries have registered on Invicta, with 7,000 of them completing online courses and more than 2,200  refugees finding employment.


Special recognition awards were presented to Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter and Bono for their tireless  work over many decades towards global health and development.

• The Goalkeepers Lifetime Achievement Award was given to former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, honoring their extraordinary work on disease  eradication, mental health, democracy, conflict resolution, human rights, and, most notably, combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as Guinea worm disease, river blindness, and  malaria. The award was accepted on their behalf by Paige Alexander, CEO of the Carter Center,  and Jason Carter, chair of the Carter Center Board of Trustees.

• The Goalkeepers Voice Award was presented to Bono, founder of the ONE Campaign and (RED),  lead singer of the band U2, and activist, for his significant impact on SDG progress through  advocacy and campaigning with ONE and (RED).

Media assets, which include biographies, images, and videos of awardees, as well as photos from the  awards ceremony, can be found here.


Accelerating Progress Toward the Global Goals

The Gates Foundation announced the following commitments this week:

• Long-term commitment of up to $100 million to help meet the demand in low- and middle income countries (LMICs) for family planning supplies. This funding will go to the UNFPA  Supplies Partnership to ensure more women in LMICs are able to access the contraceptives they  need and want at a price they can afford. Contraceptives are critical building blocks of women’s  power and can accelerate progress toward nearly every SDG—whether that’s ending poverty or  improving global health. This commitment comes at a time when the global funding gap for  contraceptives is growing, with the potential to cumulatively reach $1 billion by 2030 if we do  not preserve funding and bring in additional support, including through sustainable financing  approaches.

• Long-term commitment of $100 million to bring faster access to health products in low- and  middle-income countries. This funding will go to Unitaid, doubling the foundation’s previous  commitment, to support its work to accelerate the introduction and delivery of new lifesaving  solutions at equitable scale, including those for maternal and newborn health. Unitaid’s unique  approach helps reach the health-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals more  quickly. Its previous work unlocked access to more than 100 groundbreaking health products,  including those for HIV, TB, and malaria; women’s and children’s health; and pandemic  prevention, preparedness, and response

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