The United Nations is the main organization that sets the tone for the defense of human rights globally. Social entrepreneurship demonstrates, once again, being up to solve that challenge. From guaranteeing work by increasing productivity in Kenya, going through the defense of women’s freedom in Iraq, to seeking conditions so that poverty does not affect the menstrual periods of women in the United Kingdom, the voices of the civil society become more present than ever.
The second edition of the Global Goals Awards Ceremony took place on September 25th and 26th at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, as world leaders gathered for the UN General Assembly. The ceremony celebrated since 2017 under the initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, awards outstanding individuals to improve the progress towards the solution of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The very first edition of the Awards Ceremony brought together a group of world leaders including Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama, and the Nobel Peace Prize winners, Leymah Gbowee and Malala Yousafzai, who shared leadership stories and innovative solutions for those who work towards the solution of the Global Challenges.
It is no coincidence that the awards ceremony where the great minds and agents of change in society gather happens during the same week in which the leaders of more than 120 countries meet in the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City.
The 2018 Goalkeepers Awards Ceremony had as its speakers great leaders including: Melinda Gates, Emmanuel Macron, Bill Gates, Julius Nada, among other outstanding attendees who witnessed how three individuals with extraordinary stories accelerating progress towards the Global Goals were honored in three different categories: “Progress Award”, “Changemaker Award” and “Campaign Award”
At just 18 years old, Amika George is the founder of #FreePeriods, a social campaign that aims to ensure that no girl in the UK is suffering by poverty during her period. The campaign calls on the government to provide free menstrual products to all children on free school meals.
The #FreePeriods campaign also acts to destigmatize menstruation, encouraging collective action in the fight against poverty and the taboo that surrounds periods in general.
#FreePeriods uses its platforms to educate society about the poverty of the time. In December 2017, #FreePeriods organized a demonstration in Downing Street, attended by more than 2000 people. Amika’s request to provide health products to girls from low-income families gathered 180,000 signatures until August 2018, as well as the support of numerous parliamentarians and celebrities. After the demonstration, the British government donated 1.5 million pounds in funds to address the poverty of the period.
Nadia Murad is a 24-year-old Yazidi woman who defends genocide survivors on behalf of her community.
The peaceful life of Nadia was brutally interrupted in 2014 when ISIS attacked her homeland in Sinjar with the intention of ethnically cleansing Iraq of all the Yazidis. She was among the thousands of Yazidi women who were kidnapped and enslaved by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). More than 1300 Yazidis women remain in captivity.
Nadia is the founder and president of Nadia’s Initiative, a foundation that supports women and minorities through the development and stabilization of communities in crisis. Currently, Nadia and her team focus on the Sinjar region of Iraq through the foundation’s newly created Sinjar Action Fund.
Dysmus is the Founder of Solar Freeze, a social enterprise that provides renewable energy solutions as a service for smallholder farmers in Kenya to increase the productivity.
The solutions include solar-powered irrigation kits and solar-powered cold storage units.
Dysmus has worked with 3,000 small farmers in Kenya to increase agricultural yields by more than 150% starting in 2016. He is also the founder of ‘Each One, Teach One – Train and Earn’, an initiative within Solar Freeze that seeks to impact the next generation of leaders in renewable energy advising young people aged 18 to 29 years in the operation, maintenance and repair of renewable energy equipment and through the transfer of skills in climate-smart agriculture. As a result, this skills transfer program has allowed 100 young people to learn and earn an income. Dysmus has been widely recognized for his work in renewable energy and small-scale agriculture.
The recognition of these three big -and necessary- projects by the Global Goalkeepers Awards represents a triumph by social entrepreneurship as a driver of change. Justice can also be achieved from creative ideas that are born from empathy for others.
What are you waiting for to make this world a better place for everyone?
This note was translated from its original publication in Disruptivo TV