Haroon Yasin Announced As Waislitz Global Citizen Award Winner

Aug 11, 2020 11:10 AM ET

NEW YORK, August 11, 2020 /3BL Media/ - International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the Waislitz Foundation today recognized Haroon Yasin, Co-Founder and Chairperson of Orenda, as the 2020 Waislitz Global Citizen Award winner. They also announced Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, Founder and CEO of ColdHubs, as the Waislitz Global Citizen Disruptor Award winner, Farhad Wajdi, Founder and Executive Director of Ebtakar Inspiring Entrepreneurs of Afghanistan Organization, as the Waislitz Global Citizen Choice Award winner, and Muzalema Mwanza, Founder and CEO of Safe Motherhood Alliance as the Waislitz Global Citizen COVID-19 Response Award winner. 

The Waislitz Global Citizen Awards are annual cash prizes totaling $250,000 that recognize the excellence of individuals in their work to end extreme poverty. The grand prize is $100,000, with three additional prizes at $50,000 each. All applicants were evaluated based on individual merit in five key areas, including: 1) global citizenship, 2) proof of concept, 3) disruption, 4) scalability and 5) adaptability. 

Presented by the Waislitz Foundation and Global Citizen, the awards are supported by leading U.S. and Australian-based cellular medicines company, Mesoblast Ltd, and global funds management group Paradice Investment Management Pty Ltd.

Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, said “We are thrilled to recognize this year’s Waislitz Global Citizen Award winners. Their work truly exemplifies the values and practices of being a Global Citizen, and we are inspired by their dedication and impact towards eradicating extreme poverty.”

Since 2014, The Waislitz Foundation has committed more than $2 million to the Waislitz Global Citizen Awards and the organization’s efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Alex Waislitz, Founder of the Waislitz Foundation, said: “We conceived these awards to help shine a light on those heroes working at the grass roots of their communities towards ending global poverty and to inspire others to do the same. I’m delighted to have been joined this year by Paradice Investments and Mesoblast to help expand the prize pool for the 2020 awards and to add an additional category for COVID-19 response. Now more than ever, the world needs to be united in addressing the challenges that face all of us and I hope to continue to grow the Waislitz Global Citizen Awards in coming years to help fund the work of even more people such as this year’s very worthy winners.”

Haroon Yasin founded his first company at the age of 19, setting up slum schools that taught street children. In the nine years since then, he has founded Orenda, which produces a uniquely entertaining digital curriculum that embeds education in the child’s daily life so they can learn better. Their mobile app has now reached over half a million children, and the learning material has been vetted by the Government of Pakistan and broadcast on national television to an audience of over 54 million people across the country, many of whom do not have access to education. Through this award, Haroon and his team will produce content for higher grades learning, build capacity to do a round-the-year broadcast, and take their mobile app to 1.3 million children, providing learning continuity to millions of at-risk children through various digital platforms.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu is a farmer, radio presenter, and entrepreneur. The idea of ColdHubs came while he worked as an agricultural radio broadcaster and observed food spoilage at markets due to lack of cold storage. ColdHubs builds and operates 100% solar-powered walk-in cold rooms for farmers and vendors to store and preserve fruits and vegetables, extending shelf life from 2 to 21 days. ColdHubs currently serves 3,517 users. Their 24 Hubs have saved 20.4K tons of food from spoilage, increased user income and created 48 new jobs for women. The award prize will be used to build two ColdHubs serving 200 users, save 3,285 tons of food from spoilage yearly, increase income of the 200 users and create four new jobs for women.

Farhad Wajdi is a young social entrepreneur who defied opposition to implement the most impactful project in Afghanistan, The Solar Powered Women-Run Food Carts. Involving women in male-dominated occupations eliminated barriers that deprive millions of Afghan women from socio-economic opportunities. When once no woman dared become a cart vendor because of social stigma, Farhad’s initiative has inspired thousands of women to do businesses fearlessly. During COVID-19, Farhad converted food carts into disinfectant units to provide free sanitation and disinfection services to half a million people. The award will help Farhad buy necessary equipment for his non-profit’s upcoming project of launching 1,100 solar powered carts which will help 2,200 Afghan women to escape extreme poverty and will encourage thousands of Afghan women to do businesses fearlessly. Out of 1100 carts they will produce 500 food carts which as part of their social cause will provide free food to hundreds and thousands of Afghans susceptible to hunger also through specially designed food wrappers they will educate millions of Afghans on climate change. 

Muzalema Mwanza was pregnant with her first child when she realized that she had to provide her own birthing materials such as sterile gloves, scalpel blade to give birth from a public hospital in Zambia. She discovered this was a global issue affecting over 100 million women each year, pushing them into extreme poverty due to health costs and resulting in high mortality rates when they couldn't afford it. Muzalema's organization improves health-care access and trains women in communities to function as frontline health workers. To date, they have distributed 10,000 baby delivery kits and trained 50 traditional birth attendants. Zambia, as with other countries, is dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and is already facing shortages of health workers and PPE, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable. In the wake of this Muzalema's organization has pivoted into manufacturing 3D printed face masks and face shield visors to meet the crisis head-on to ensure expectant mothers can safely access the care they deserve, ensuring the continuity of healthcare services in communities, limiting health worker infections and eliminating transmission from known cases. This award will aid them to distribute 10,000 PPE materials including 3D printed face masks and face shield visors for frontline health workers like midwives and traditional birth attendants trained and equipped by the organization to directly help 50,000 pregnant women to give birth in safe and sterile conditions during this pandemic and also provide contact tracing for public health officials in communities for those who test positive for COVID-19 especially in pregnant women. As such, Muzalema's organization is ensuring that pregnant women do not compromise their own safety and that of their newborns in under-resourced settings as well as within their own homes.

Previous Waislitz Global Citizen Award winners, include: Charlotte Magayi, Founder and CEO of Mukuru Clean Stoves; Koketso Moeti, Founder and Executive Director of amandla.mobi; Caitlin Barrett, CEO of Love Mercy Foundation; Tabitha Mpamira-Kaguri, Founder and Executive Director of EDJA Foundation; Wilma Rodrigues, Founder and CEO of Saahas Zero Waste; Clarisse Uwineza, for her work converting organic waste into fertilizer in Rwanda; Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, the director of Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project working to make education more accessible to AIDS orphans in Uganda; and Anoop Jain, Founder of Humanure Power for his work in rural India building sanitation facilities. 

Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest, most visible platforms for people around the world calling on world leaders to honor their responsibilities in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ending extreme poverty by 2030. Global Citizens have generated commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $48 billion that are set to affect the lives of more than 880 million people.

For more information about the 2020 Waislitz Global Citizen Awards please visit: HERE


About Global Citizen:

Global Citizen is the world's largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. With over 10 million monthly advocates, our voices have the power to drive lasting change around sustainability, equality, and humanity. We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen to act — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and citizens — together improving lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards with tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. To date, the actions of our community, along with high-level advocacy efforts and work with partners, has resulted in commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $48 billion, affecting the lives of more than 880 million people. For more information, visit GlobalCitizen.org

About The Waislitz Foundation:

After many years involvement in private philanthropic giving, Australian investor and businessman Alex Waislitz founded the Waislitz Foundation in 2013. The foundation represents a new approach to giving. It aims to invest in, and have a direct social impact on, some of the world’s biggest social problems through active participation in the projects it supports. It aims to improve the quality of people’s lives through innovative initiatives and partnerships. 

Press Contacts:

Global Citizen:
Charmion N. Kinder, media@globalcitizen.org 
Sunshine Sachs on behalf of Global Citizen, GC@sunshinesachs.com