President Bio, President Macron, and Prime Minister Solberg Join Bill and Melinda Gates at Goalkeepers 2018 in New York City

Additional participants include Amina J. Mohammed, Graça Machel, David Miliband, Loyiso Madinga, and Kailash Satyarthi

Second annual Goalkeepers events focus on the power of youth to drive global progress

SEATTLE, Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, co-hosted the second annual Goalkeepers events on September 25 and 26 to highlight the remarkable progress toward the reduction of extreme poverty, and the need to accelerate efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals.) They were joined by H.E. Julius Maada Bio, president of Sierra Leone; President Emmanuel Macron of France; Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway; United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed; and many established and emerging leaders from around the world.

The 2018 Goalkeepers events focused on the potential of young people to propel global progress and highlighted themes from Bill and Melinda Gates’s 2018 Goalkeepers Data Report. Issued on September 18, the report shows how investing in “human capital”—the health and education of young people—unlocks productivity and innovation, reduces poverty, and generates prosperity.

Three new high-level partnerships, called “Accelerators,” were announced at the Goalkeepers event on September 26. These Accelerators will catalyze progress toward the Global Goals by offering funding and programmatic support toward increasing early literacy, eliminating child marriage, and empowering young people to use data to drive progress toward the Global Goals.

Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator : This Accelerator will empower young people (ages 18-35) to source and use data to hold public, private, and government leaders accountable for achieving the Global Goals. Led by CIVICUS and the Gates Foundation, with an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the Obama Foundation, the George W. Bush Institute, Restless Development, and Action for Sustainable Development, this Accelerator will provide up to 30 young leaders with hands-on and technical support, mentorship, and direct funding of up to $30,000 each. Applications will be open until October 31, 2019, and program participants will be announced in late November.

Scaling Early Literacy: This Accelerator brings together Room to Read—a leading nonprofit focused on girls’ education and children’s literacy in Asia and Africa—with a variety of partners to scale the organization’s approach to increasing literacy skills and helping children develop a habit of reading early in life. The Accelerator will expand Room to Read’s country-specific programming in India, Vietnam, and South Africa with $3.5 million in new funding from Credit Suisse, Dubai Cares, and Four Acre Trust, furthering Room to Read’s goal of reaching more than 1.1 million additional children in these countries over the next three years.

Girls First Fund : This Accelerator will launch the Girls First Fund, a collaborative new partnership to end child marriage. Founding donors and implementers include Girls Not Brides, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Ford Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Kendeda Fund, the NoVo Foundation, Capital for Good USA, and Geneva Global. The Girls First Fund will identify the most promising community-based organizations, particularly those led by girls, women, and youth, and provide them with multi-year funding to develop and pursue local solutions to ending child marriage.

The Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards were presented on September 25, with participants including Prime Minister Solberg, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed, UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, and British singer songwriter Ed Sheeran. In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF, the event celebrated outstanding youth-focused work around the world that is directly linked to the 17 Global Goals. The Campaign Award was presented to Amika George, founder of #FreePeriods, a campaign that works to ensure no girl in the United Kingdom suffers from period poverty. The Progress Award was presented to Dysmus Kisilu, founder of Solar Freeze, which provides renewable energy solutions to smallholder farmers in Kenya to increase agricultural productivity. And the Changemaker Award was presented to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who advocates on behalf of her community and survivors of genocide. Loyiso Madinga, stand-up comedian and Africa correspondent on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” hosted the awards.

During the Goalkeepersevent on September 26, President Macron and Bill and Melinda Gates held an on-stage conversation about global progress. Other speakers and participants included President Bio of Sierra Leone, who shared his country’s vision for human capital development; Richard Curtis, writer, campaigner, and Project Everyone co-founder; Stephen Fry, actor, writer, and presenter; Graça Machel, international advocate for women and children’s rights and co-founder of the Graça Machel Trust; David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee; Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and child rights activist; David Sengeh, chief innovation officer for the government of Sierra Leone; and Trisha Shetty, lawyer, social activist, and founder of SheSays. The event was hosted by Nancy Kacungira, award-winning BBC World News presenter, and Savannah Sellers, NBC News host.

The Goalkeepers Global Youth Poll, released on September 24, found that young people are more optimistic about their future, the future of their country, and the future of the world than older people. Levels of optimism are highest in lower- and middle-income countries, where young people (ages 12-24) are the most optimistic group across all measures. The poll also found that young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents’ generation.

The Goalkeepers campaign was launched with the release of We the Goalkeepers,” a short film based on an original piece by spoken word poet and youth activist Aranya Johar, who also participated in the Goalkeepers event. The film was directed by the award-winning director, Joyeeta Patpatia, and focuses on young “Goalkeepers” working around the world to advance the Global Goals.

Goalkeepers 2018 can be livestreamed on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Facebook channel: www.facebook.com/gatesfoundation.

Visit www.gatesfoundation.org/goalkeepers for more information.

Notes to Editors

Media inquiries should be directed to media@gatesfoundation.org.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Goalkeepers
Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through events and an annual report, we hope to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.

About the Global Goals
On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

Project Everyone, co-creators of Goalkeepers, was founded by writer, director, and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis with the ambition to help achieve the Global Goals through raising awareness, holding leaders accountable, and driving action. Find out more at www.project-everyone.org.

 

Diamond Empowerment Fund Awards $130,000 to Botswana Top Achievers Program

Holds High Level Reception with President of Botswana

NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) donated $130,000 to the Botswana Top Achiever Program, during a dinner reception with His Excellency President Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi of Botswana. The presentation was made on the eve of the opening of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly.

The Top Achiever program recognizes students across Botswana and provides them with the ability to study in premier universities around the world.  Students then come back to Botswana and contribute towards its economic diversification.  D.E.F. has contributed to the Botswana Top Achievers program since 2011.

In his remarks thanking the D.E.F., President Masisi recognized that through D.E.F.’s Diamonds Do Good initiative, the Botswana diamond story is reflected in a hugely positive way, emphasizing how ethically sourced diamonds have made and continue to make enormous contributions to Botswana’s economy, an example of good governance and industry best practices.

“Everyone from Botswana attending this reception tonight in some way benefits from diamonds. We thank the Diamond Empowerment Fund for investing in the future of our next generation of leaders,” President Masisi said. Added D.E.F President, Anna Martin, “We are thrilled that through our supporters in the diamond industry, we are able to give back to Botswana which is one of the top producers of diamonds in the world.  Diamonds truly do good.”

Ghana to improve on Family Planning and contraception services

Accra- Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has assured partners and Family Planning stakeholders of the Government’s resolve to continue to play a strong leadership role to achieve the country’s targets.

He said the Government had shown commitment by increasing the budget allocation for purchasing family planning commodities and included the service in the National Health Insurance Scheme, which was being piloted.

Dr Nsiah Asare said the Government would up the game on family planning by increasing the number of women using modern contraception from 1.46 million in 2015 to 1.93 million by 2020.

This would be achieved through improved access and availability of services at all levels, building capacities, improving contraceptive method mix, and increasing demand for services.

It would further increase modern methods of contraceptive prevalence rate among sexually-active married and unmarried adolescents from, 16.7 and 31.5 per cent, to between 20 and 35 per cent, respectively, by improving their access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Dr Nsiah Asare, who gave the assurance at the media launch of the annual Ghana National Family Planning (FP) Week in Accra on Wednesday, said it was interesting that despite the universal knowledge of at least one method of FP in Ghana, with 99 per cent of women and men having this knowledge, uptake was still significantly low, especially among the educated urban dwellers.

He said challenges including unmet needs, myths and misconceptions still existed threatening to erode the gains made over the years, and that those should be addressed by expanding access to information and improving investment for procuring FP commodities for optimal services across the country.

The 2018 celebrations, on the theme: Family Planning, Everyone’s Responsibility #everydaything#, calls for a collective role by stakeholders to ensure that safe, effective and accurate FP information and services were made accessible to all Ghanaians.

The celebrations also coincided with the World Contraception Day, which falls on September 26, every year, to promote the vision of a situation where every pregnancy is wanted, improve awareness and uptake of contraception and ensure wider access to FP services.

This would enable individuals and couples to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health.

Dr Nsiah Asare said the launch officially begun a weeklong celebration of activities by several stakeholders to increase public awareness and to highlight the benefits of FP not only for the individual but to families, communities and the country as a whole.

He called on all, including the media, to be ambassadors and champions of FP to debunk the myths and misconceptions surrounding contraceptive use by providing quality public education.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director of the Family Health Division, GHS, presenting the FP situation in Ghana, said although some successes had been chalked, there were challenges that called for further attention and investment to achieve government’s own set goals.

He said the current 34 per cent of unmet FP need was too high, with geographical disparities in access still existing among rural and urban dwellers, which, in essence, was pulling down governments overall gains.

The country was still far from achieving its national targets for contraceptive prevalence and the FP 2020 commitments, with only 25 per cent modern contraceptive methods usage among married women, representing just a three percentage increase from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) Report of 22 per cent, he said.

He said on the other hand the 2014 GDHS had reported a 30 and 42 percentages unmet need for contraception amongst married women, and sexually active unmarried women, respectively.

This means that one third of all married women, and almost half of unmarried sexually active women who want to wait for some time to have a child, or do not want to have any more children, are not using any contraceptive method, he said.

He said FP was a key intervention for reducing maternal deaths by simply preventing unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and decrease in the risk of complications among other things.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye emphasised on collaborative approach towards improving access to accurate information, and the uptake of family planning services, which would lead to a decline in the unmet needs.

He said FP Regional Resource Teams had been established in all regions, which had contributed to the training of more than 4,000 auxiliary nurses to provide implant services in line with the government’s task shifting policy.

It will also help to improve the GHS’s specific social behaviour change communication under the Good Life, Live it Well brand to improve access to quality information.

Other interventions include ongoing sensitisation and active recruitment to scale up the users of the GHS mobile application (GHS-Mapp) for service providers from 4,050 to 10,000 by 2020 as well as to recruit 20 per cent of older adolescents between 15 and 19 years mobile phone users unto the YMK adolescent newsletter and information mobile application.

Dr Ismail Ndifuna, the Chief Technical Specialist, Maternal and Family Planning, UNFPA, called on the Government to position family planning at its right place in development planning by increasing investments to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Continued job litigations in power enclave is unfair – Shama DCE

Shama(W/R)- Mr Joseph Amoah, the Shama District Chief Executive, has expressed worry over the misbehaviour of some youths with employment concerns in the Aboadze power enclave.

Mr Amoah at a press conference at Shama, recounted that shortly after assuming office, the issues of job agitation was tabled before him which led to the summoning of a meeting with assembly members, leadership of the companies in the enclave, DISEC members and the Western Regional Minister to find a lasting solution to this social security threats.

He said hours after the deliberation, it was agreed that a memorandum of understanding be signed with all parties involved and employment channeled through the district assembly using a laid down criteria that favoured all communities concerned.

Mr Amoah expressed concern that in spite of the existing arrangements, a fraction of the youth would take the law into their hands and demonstrate against such an arrangement on 16 September, 2018.

The DCE said the strategic nature of this national asset raised lots of security concerns since occasionally some youth do come to the enclave with the motive to cause mayhem.

He said figures given by the company to the assembly indicates that about 502 people have been employed out of the 1500 so far by Amandi; 400 out of 800 by the Twyford company within the project’s catchment area.

The DCE said it is unfair for Mr K Baidoo, the Assembly member for Aboadze, to continue to lead the effort against this peaceful arrangement and instigate the youth to foment unnecessary disturbances in the area.

The DCE described the actions of the assembly member as very confrontational and wondered why he could agree to a similar arrangement on the WAPCO and Ghana Gas Company and would not agree to that of Amandi.

Mr Amoah so why not for Amandi? Is it because the WAPCO and Ghana Gas Project is sited on Inchaban Land, is this assembly man saying that what is good for the goose is not good for the gander ? Again, why have all the assembly members agreed to the Amandi arrangement with the exception of Mr Baidoo?

The DCE said allowing the demands of the assembly man to hold, meant institutionalizing youth agitations and revolts in the district and this could have adverse effects on development in the society.

“We are seeking to create alternative opportunities for employment through government policies like one district one factory, planting for food and jobs amongst others and this we are vigorously pursuing”.

“I therefore appeal for your support and I mean all the 62 communities in the district to ensure that the vision of a better and prosperous Ghana is realised here in the Shama District as well”.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Continued job litigations in power enclave is unfair – Shama DCE

Shama(W/R)- Mr Joseph Amoah, the Shama District Chief Executive, has expressed worry over the misbehaviour of some youths with employment concerns in the Aboadze power enclave.

Mr Amoah at a press conference at Shama, recounted that shortly after assuming office, the issues of job agitation was tabled before him which led to the summoning of a meeting with assembly members, leadership of the companies in the enclave, DISEC members and the Western Regional Minister to find a lasting solution to this social security threats.

He said hours after the deliberation, it was agreed that a memorandum of understanding be signed with all parties involved and employment channeled through the district assembly using a laid down criteria that favoured all communities concerned.

Mr Amoah expressed concern that in spite of the existing arrangements, a fraction of the youth would take the law into their hands and demonstrate against such an arrangement on 16 September, 2018.

The DCE said the strategic nature of this national asset raised lots of security concerns since occasionally some youth do come to the enclave with the motive to cause mayhem.

He said figures given by the company to the assembly indicates that about 502 people have been employed out of the 1500 so far by Amandi; 400 out of 800 by the Twyford company within the project’s catchment area.

The DCE said it is unfair for Mr K Baidoo, the Assembly member for Aboadze, to continue to lead the effort against this peaceful arrangement and instigate the youth to foment unnecessary disturbances in the area.

The DCE described the actions of the assembly member as very confrontational and wondered why he could agree to a similar arrangement on the WAPCO and Ghana Gas Company and would not agree to that of Amandi.

Mr Amoah so why not for Amandi? Is it because the WAPCO and Ghana Gas Project is sited on Inchaban Land, is this assembly man saying that what is good for the goose is not good for the gander ? Again, why have all the assembly members agreed to the Amandi arrangement with the exception of Mr Baidoo?

The DCE said allowing the demands of the assembly man to hold, meant institutionalizing youth agitations and revolts in the district and this could have adverse effects on development in the society.

“We are seeking to create alternative opportunities for employment through government policies like one district one factory, planting for food and jobs amongst others and this we are vigorously pursuing”.

“I therefore appeal for your support and I mean all the 62 communities in the district to ensure that the vision of a better and prosperous Ghana is realised here in the Shama District as well”.

Source: Ghana News Agency