The 2017 Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards last week honored five outstanding activists for their efforts to create positive impact in people’s lives and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Priyanka Chopra speaks on stage at The Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards
Priyanka Chopra speaks on stage at The Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards

The winners included a medical student dedicating his life to reducing maternal and child mortality rates in rural areas of Tanzania; a fashion student who founded an organisation to support survivors of acid attacks; and a Colombian woman who helps former guerrillas reintegrate into society.

Leaders from business, government and entertainment attended the ceremony, including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Priyanka Chopra and Muzoon Almellahan.

The Goalkeepers Global Goal Awards – curated by UNICEF for the second year – are part of ongoing efforts to rally support for the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 goals unanimously adopted by every country in the world in 2015 to help make the world more peaceful, equitable and healthy.

Winners of the Global Goals Awards:

RIA SHARMA, 26, NEW DELHI – Ria Sharma, a fashion student at Leeds College of Arts, United Kingdom returned to India in the third year of her graduate programme to make a documentary on acid attack survivors. In the process of creating the documentary, she met several survivors and their stories touched her and inspired her to help. She founded Make Love Not Scars (MLNS), which is an organisation that actively supports survivors of acid attacks physically and mentally, and campaigns to raise awareness of the issue. Acid attacks against women especially have risen in recent years in India. They are particularly committed by men who wish to seek ‘revenge’ against women who refuse their advances or against wives who do not bring enough dowry.

MARIEME JAMME, SENEGAL/UK – Marieme grew up in Senegal and endured a difficult childhood that included being trafficked. She emerged from this to teach herself how to read and write at age 16. Today, she channels this experience to inspire youth, especially young girls through SpotOne Global Solutions, where as Chief Executive she encourages global investment in African IT infrastructure. She’s also the founder of the iamthecode movement, an effort to teach 1 million girls and women to code by 2030, and which addresses Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, 8 and 9.

LAURA ULLOA, 27, COLOMBIA – Laura Ulloa was just 11 years old when she was kidnapped and held captive by FARC for seven months. Her ordeal started in 1999 when she and her family were victims of one of the biggest mass kidnappings in Colombia. While she and her family were able to escape, others were not so fortunate. Two years later in 2001, members of the FARC-EP hijacked her school bus and took her as the sole hostage. After living this ordeal Laura has dedicated her life to helping former guerrillas get reintegrated into society. Through her work with the Colombian Agency for Reintegration, for the Security Council of the United Nations and as coordinator for Social Projects at the Corona Foundation in Colombia, Laura is changing lives.

FELIX MANYOGOTE, 26, TANZANIA – Felix is a social entrepreneur and medical student dedicating his life to help others, especially those in vulnerable communities. After losing his Aunt while she was giving birth, due to prolonged labour accompanied by excessive bleeding, he focused his work on reducing maternal and child mortality rates in rural areas of Tanzania. Through his project MAMA AFYA (MAMA Delivery KIT) he provides free maternal and new born health services, distributes free clean delivery and new born kits and develops an effective line distribution so that women are connected irrespective of their location. Felix’s charisma, leadership and reliability has impacted the lives of more than 15,000 people. His project MAMA AFYA has managed to distribute 1,200 birth kits, saving the lives of more than 4,000 mothers and newborns.

BERNARD COULIBALLY, 45, MALI – Bernard is the Deputy Prefect of Yorosso in the South of Mali who has focused his work on reducing child malnutrition rates in his community. This area was once known as critical in terms of malnutrition, but thanks to his dedication and commitment, severe acute malnutrition rates were reduced from 2.3% to 0.4 % from 2012 to 2016 and stunting levels by nearly half (from 27.8 % to 15.4%). Stead-fast progress has been made through his strong leadership and community ownership has translated into real results, making him a wonderful example of how political leaders can make a tangible difference for their people.

The Awards dinner, in partnership with UNICEF, is part of the inaugural Goalkeepers Events in New York on 19 and 20 September, organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. UNICEF is the official partner and curator of the 2017 Goalkeepers Global Goal Awards.

17 SDG Advocates along with Melinda Gates and UN Young Leaders form the official judging panel to select the winners after a competitive application process.

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