Encouraging everyone to dig deep and unleash the potential of the changemaker within, Josina Machel, daughter of celebrated Mozambican Graça Machel, accepted the NIRAS-sponsored World Prize for outstanding contributions in the field of integrated development.
Speaking at this year’s Southern African Innovation Summit in Cape Town, Graça Machel Trust Board Member - Josina Machel - thanked NIRAS for recognising the work of her mother on behalf of Africa’s women and children. In awarding Graça Machel the 2018 World Prize for Integrated Development, Ms Machel said that NIRAS had given women and children a place of prominence on the global development agenda.
“This award acknowledges decades of hard work by many in the Graça Machel Trust’s broad network, the UN family, civil society, governments and engaged citizens in Africa, and it is a testament to the strength, resilience and innovation that lies on the beautiful African continent,” Ms Machel said, adding “It is an absolute honour to work in conjunction with visionary organisations like NIRAS who are investing in causes that very often mean the difference between prosperity and poverty, opportunity and hopelessness, and empowerment and continued inequality. As we face incredibly unsettling times the world over, my mother and I encourage everyone to dig deep, to unearth and unleash the potential of the changemaker within, join forces and collaborate, and work in an integrated fashion to accelerate social transformation.”
In addition to advocating for the protection of children’s rights and dignities, the Graça Machel Trust aims to amplify women’s voices, influence governance, and promote women’s contributions and leadership in the economic, social, and political development of Africa. These goals are closely aligned with NIRAS’s development work, which takes an integrated gender- and human-rights-based approach to building sustainable societies.
“Our efforts to uphold the dignity and human rights of African women and children dovetail with NIRAS’s core principles of cherishing the inherent value of every human life and ensuring that access to health, education, and economic opportunities are available to the marginalised and neglected of the world,” Ms Machel stated during her acceptance speech at the Southern African Innovation Summit. Her mother was unable to attend, as she was attending the funeral of former UN Chief and close friend Kofi Annan in Ghana.
Under the theme Africa’s Time Has Come, the summit brought together corporates, thought leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs, academia, and policy-makers to amplify Southern Africa’s renowned competitive edge and inspire sustained economic growth across the continent of Africa. Two NIRAS projects supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Finland, the Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) Programme and the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme, were showcased at the summit. Two bio-entrepreneurs who participated in FemBioBiz also benefitted from a Graça Machel Trust enterprise development training called Women Creating Wealth.
The World Prize is independent of government, non-governmental organizations, universities, and private interests. An international selection panel highly experienced in integrated development assesses each nomination before selecting the laureate. Nominations for the next laureate will open in early 2019.
Chairwoman of the SA Innovation Summit, Audrey Verhaeghe (left) together with Josina Machel, Flora Tibazarwa, SAIS team leader, and Ilari Lindy, SAIS lead expert at the SA Innovation Summit in Cape Town.