Portrait of Mrs Graca Machel
Mama Machel will receive the EUR20K prize in Cape Town later this year

Renowned humanitarian Mrs Graça Machel awarded World Prize for Integrated Development

Panel of respected international development experts select celebrated former First Lady to Mozambique and South Africa to receive NIRAS-sponsored accolade.

26. Apr 2018

The 2018 World Prize for Integrated Development is awarded to Mrs Graça Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela, for her significant social justice achievements and tireless work on behalf of women and children. In particular, Mrs Machel is recognised for her leadership of the Graça Machel Trust, a Pan-African advocacy organisation focused on child health and nutrition, education, women’s economic and financial empowerment, leadership and good governance. 

NIRAS sponsors the World Prize, which is an accolade for outstanding contributions in the field of international development accorded to an individual or organisation exemplifying an integrated approach in the field. Mrs Machel is the second esteemed Laureate, following in the footsteps of the late Dr Hans Rosling, founder of Gapminder.

“Graça Machel is a remarkable human being and an outstanding example of the impact of integration in international development,” says Lindsay Falvey, Chair of the World Prize Selection Panel. “In addition to her humanitarian work, the Committee was impressed by her leadership of the Trust in integrating nations, programmes and people while fulfilling its mission of ‘multiplying the faces and amplifying the voices of African women and children’. In particular, the support given to women entrepreneurs and their Pan-African networks has delivered significant contributions to social and economic change across the continent.”


The World Prize for Integrated Development and its €20,000 purse will be awarded to Mrs Machel on the 12th of September at the South African Innovation Summit where the best of African and global innovators will showcase their exceptional talents, innovations and ideas. At the Summit, Mrs Machel will be the honoured guest of the Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) programme, a regional initiative strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship in Southern Africa supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland together with governments of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. 

Mrs Graça Machel is the former first lady of both Mozambique and South Africa (widow of the late Presidents Samora Machel and Nelson Mandela). She is an active member of the Africa Progress Panel, which advocates for equitable and sustainable development in Africa, and has received many awards throughout her lifetime including the World’s Children’s Prize, the UN Nansen Medal, and most recently Honorary Fellow of the British Academy. Most notably, Mrs Machel oversaw the ground-breaking UN report on the impact of armed conflict on children. Through this and other activities, Mrs Machel has gained widespread international recognition for her achievements in integrating social and technical elements in development. 

For more details, contact: Lisa O'Donoghue-Lindy odl@niras.fi

Tel: +264 81 4190709 (Namibia)