It is with great pleasure and pride that we can now announce the first winners of the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize: Jane Weru and Kingsley Mucheke of the Akiba Mashinani Trust, Kenya. We have chosen 15 April to make this announcement because it was Olga’s birthday.
In choosing Jane Weru and Kingsley Mucheke, the judges felt strongly that ‘they represented best the full range of the award’s purposes, that is, that they, in the words of the award criteria, demonstrated remarkable leadership, creativity and results in developing philanthropy for progressive social change in an emerging market country or countries’.
The judges were all impressed by the explicit focus of Jane and Kingsley on the most marginalized community in Kenya – landless slum dwellers – and by the way they have developed a philanthropic mechanism to support transformational efforts by that community.
‘In terms of potential to transform realities, their work strikes me the most,’ commented one judge.
‘They seem to have found a truly innovative way to tackle systemic and behavioral challenges, and created a model that generates amazing impact which combines sustainability and scale,’ said another.
Just as we found creating a shortlist a hard task, so our judges noted ‘the difficulty of making a decision among such an impressive set of finalists who represent very different contexts for the development of philanthropy. All of the finalists have made substantial contributions in their respective countries and have done so in very different ways. They all deserve recognition for their important contributions.’ They explicitly congratulated the other finalists for their leadership and dedication.
We too would like to congratulate Jane and Kingsley and the other finalists as well. Each one of them would have made a worthy winner. If you haven’t already done so, you can read all about their achievements in a special Alliance supplement.
The prize will be presented at the International Forum on Emerging Markets, Emerging Philanthropies in Peterhof, Russia at the beginning of July. The winners will give a lecture and all the finalists will be present.
We can also announce the winner of the Alliance online poll: Nguyen Tran Hoang Anh of Vietnam’s LIN Center was the runaway winner – a clear demonstration of her great skill in reaching out to the Center’s supporters. Thank you to everyone who voted.
Finally, we’d like to thank our judges for their dedication and hard work:
- Akwasi Aidoo, TrustAfrica, Senegal
- Ana Valeria Araujo, Brazil Human Rights Fund, Brazil
- Shenyu Belsky, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, China
- Christopher Harris, Philanthropy Consultant, US
- Kavita Ramdas, Ford Foundation, India
- Larisa Zelkova, Potanin Foundation, Russia
In a few months’ time we will be launching the second Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize, so watch this space!
Maria Chertok, Caroline Hartnell and Jenny Hodgson