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Investing in the Future & Drivers of Change Business Award: Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS

Hosted by the Lesotho Textile Exporters’ Association, the Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) is a coalition of apparel manufacturers, retailers, workers, international clothing brands, international organisations, and the Lesotho government. The largest and most productive employment sector in Lesotho, the apparel industry employs 46, 000 mostly women workers who are poorly skilled, 43% of whom are estimated to be HIV positive. Clearly outstanding is its innovative sector wide public-private-community partnership that is showing how possible it is to protect key productive economic sectors from the ravages of HIV and AIDS in poor countries by bringing together the key interest groups in a partnership. With this initiative, more than 32,000 workers are part of the HIV and AIDS prevention programme and it is estimated that 25, 000 workers now have access to care and treatment.

“Through this project, many individuals have been enabled to maintain dignity and self-respect, irrespective of their HIV status.  The added benefit of sustained employment creates a platform for financial independence and an improved quality of life which is most encouraging” said the judges.

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Drivers of Change Special Joint Acount: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius and the Mauritius Council for Social Service (MACOSS)

A special joint award goes to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius and the Mauritius Council for Social Service (MACOSS). They’ve been driving a major change to how regional priorities are set in our region. The ministry was instrumental in convening heads of states and governments from all Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, together with business associations and a wide range of civil society groups as real partners in a dialogue on poverty and development in southern Africa. That was the first gathering of its kind in our region. It set a precedent to develop a shared vision and social cohesion to overcome poverty in our part of the world.   MACOSS cooperated to support civil society organisations to prepare fully for the dialogue that resulted in the decision to create a SADC poverty observatory that will ensure continued cooperation between the different groups.  Together, they then went well beyond that initial step. The ministry announced a plan to eradicate extreme poverty in Mauritius, in partnership with MACOSS and the private corporates that agreed to fund 30% of the programme costs as part of their corporate social responsibility.

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Drivers of Change Individual Award: Professor Mkandawire

Nominated for his leadership role in convincing African leaders, decision makers and the international community that Africa has the ability and political will to find African solutions to Africa’s problems to reduce poverty through agricultural growth.  He drove the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme. Professor Mkandawire’s continuing work has a far reaching impact that is already driving lasting change in many countries across the region. The quiet yet determined resolve of this highly respected Malawian agricultural economist has attracted considerable African and global attention to the development of African agriculture and raised much needed hope for Africa’s future.  “The commitment shown by this individual of overcoming hunger and poverty in Africa is highly commended,” the judges said.

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Investing in the Future & Drivers of Change Civil Society Award: Basic Needs Basket (BNB)

The Basic Needs Basket (BNB) is an innovative monthly survey of how much it costs a family of six to meet its basic food and non-food essentials, compared against an average family income.  Over the years, the independent survey produced through the involvement of ordinary people in districts throughout Zambia, has shaped how the national budget is interpreted.  The BNB has become a major tool for ordinary people to talk to policymakers about national priorities to overcome poverty. This instrument is now being used in Malawi, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.   “This is a very innovate project with a very strong impact in the region and its partnership with other organisations is a good example of government working together…..it demonstrates that REAL people are making an input” the judges said.