Ashu Martha Agbornyenty of Cameroon, Eden Tadesse of Ethiopia and The Farmlink Project from the U.S. are all being honored this year
Ashu Martha Agbornyenty, 24, of Cameroon, Eden Tadesse, 26, of Ethiopia, and the Farmlink Project from the U.S. have been named the 2023 winners of three separate awards presented by the foundation, according to a press release.
This year's campaign is focused on scaling innovations to reduce maternal and infant mortality, as well as the life-changing impact of preparing mothers for healthy childbirth. The three winners were named alongside an annual data report authored by Bill and Melinda exploring this topic.
The winners were honored at a special ceremony on Tuesday, which was attended by co-chairs Bill Gates & Melinda French Gates, as well as bestselling author and award-winning journalist Elaine Welteroth, Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini, actress Danai Gurira, and model and UN goodwill ambassador Sabrina Dhowre Elba.
Agbornyenty, who is both a midwife and advocate for maternal and newborn child health, is this year’s winner of the Changemaker Award for her efforts to help tackle “Cameroon’s staggeringly high maternal mortality rates” through workshops, emergency kits, a blog and more.
More than 1,400 people have been helped through Agbornyenty’s workshops and emergency kits, while another 2,000-plus people nationwide have engaged with her blog, Marthie's Midwifrey Diary.
“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of midwives around the world who are working to improve the health of mothers and babies,” Agbornyenty said in a statement. “It is also a validation of my passion for helping women, children and my commitment to making a difference in the world.
Tadesse is the 2023 honoree of the Progress Award for helping “thousands of refugees with training and employment through her platform Invicta,” per the Gates Foundation’s press release.
The social entrepreneur and activist, who was raised in the slums of Ethiopia's Addis Ababa, is a regular advocate for education, training and equal access to fair wage jobs.
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Tadesse said in a statement the 2023 Progress Award “holds a deeply personal meaning” to her, and “not only validates the significance of my work but also serves as a powerful reminder of the potential for positive change through innovation and forward-thinking.”
“[The award] amplifies my commitment to making a meaningful impact through the SDGs, to create a better tomorrow for generations to come,” she added.
The winner of this year’s Campaign Award is the Farmlink Project, a student-led nonprofit with approximately 600 volunteers aiming to help with the U.S.’s ongoing food insecurity issues, according to the Gates Foundation.
Started in 2020 by college students Ben Collier, Aidan Reilly and James Kanoff, The Farmlink Project has been focused on two main goals: addressing food insecurity (which impacts around 40 million Americans every day) and transforming the globe’s high-emissions food system.
Since then, about 83 million meals have been given out by the project, which has also helped move more than 130 million lbs. of surplus food from farms to food banks.
The project thanked the thousands of hunger-fighting partners, grassroots organizations, and individuals who joined forces to help combat hunger in the U.S., which impacts about a third of college students.
“We would not be here today without the commitment of each collaborator who helped to shape our path, values, and mission,” they said in a statement.
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