By Grace Audu –
Silent heroes of social justice across Africa have been honoured at the recently concluded third Community and Human Rights (CAHR) Awards in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos.
The CAHR Awards, which honours individuals and organisations contributing selflessly to community development and inclusion in Africa, is an initiative of CSR-in-Action Advocacy, the development-focused arm of the CSR-in-Action Group, renowned sustainability consulting, training and advocacy outfit in Africa.
The grand event had in attendance, prominent personalities from business, entertainment, the media and the public sectors, including the Erelu Kuti of Lagos, HRM Abiola Dosunmu; Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji; Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Lere Odusote; Lead Pastor, The Elevation Church, Godman Akinlabi; Founder, Erinla Ecosystem, Yomi Awobokun; CEO, Landwey, Olawale Ayilara; and Managing Director of Hill+Knowlton Strategies Nigeria, Tokunboh George -Taylor.
The CAHR Awards comprises of seven different categories, each dedicated to a historically prominent personality. The third edition of the awards, postponed due to Covid-19, was expanded to cover the entire Africa.
According to the Bekeme Masade-Olowola, CSR-in-Action’s Chief Executive, The CAHR Awards represent the organisation’s commitment to social justice in Africa.
“CAHR is the result of our quest to recognise those quietly pursuing the development of the society through their immense contributions towards peace, justice and human rights,” said Olowola.
“We want to use CAHR Awards to show that people in Africa and of African descent care about the continent and are doing great things,” she added.
At the end of a night of glitz and glamour, Professor Patricia O. Donli won the Mallam Aminu Kano Award for Leadership, for her role in leading her team to support over 5,000 female IDPs amongst others, whilst Nkatha Mugao from Kenya was awarded the Apostle Hayford Alile Humanitarian Award for her work in reaching out to more than 300 families affected by clashes, violence, and poverty in Kenya, and supporting more than 1,200 women-led families.
Uche Kenneth Udekwe, the founder of Natal Cares, a social enterprise that leverages the power of technology and innovation to combat maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria, won the Hajiya Gambo Sawaba Community Impact Award (Individual Category) while the Corporate Category went to IHS Nigeria Limited, a leading tower company in Nigeria for its sustainable innovations.
TotalEnergies Marketing Nigeria Plc, which has reduced its emissions by 1,989 tonnes (the equivalent of planting 88,009 trees) through its solar service stations, won the Ken Saro-Wiwa Environmental Management Award whilst Mauritian-based Djemillah Mourade-Peerbux won the Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti Human Rights Award (Individual) for her work in supporting sexual violence and assault victims.
The corporate category of the Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti Human Rights Award went to Zimbabwe Peace Project, an organisation working towards sustainable peace. PIND Foundation won the MKO Abiola Community Engagement Award for promoting peace and equitable economic growth in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region while the Josephine Nkedilim Equal Rights Awardwas given to Amnesty International for campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.
“CAHR Awards provides the platform to outstanding and deserving organisations and individuals who have contributed to the rights of communities across Africa” said Tokunbo George Taylor, Managing Director, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Nigeria and a CAHR Awards juror for three years.
Taylor noted that the CAHR Awards has grown, from seven award categories in its first year to nine in the third.
“In addition, entries have continued to grow; with 300 per cent increment in nominations and 1,000 per cent increment in votes by its third year of existence. We had over 100 nominations and 28,000 votes were received for this year. Also, instead of keeping it within Nigeria, we decided to open it up to Africa,” Taylor added.
According to Kenyan-based Nkatha Mugao, who won the Apostle Hayford Alile Humanitarian Award, her recognition by CAHR Awards means that her work is not just limited to Kenya but has been noticed internationally.
“Being here shows that the world feels the impact of the work that we do,” said Mugao, whose work has helped children who have been through kidnappings and trophy kids who have been abused and neglected.