CIVICUS – Grassroots activists honoured for their innovation and impact

As part of the CIVICUS International Civil Society Week (19-25 November, Johannesburg), three activists from India, Jamaica and Nigeria were awarded the coveted Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Award. The activists received the honour for their ground-breaking work on social issues in troubled communities. Here are brief summaries of their inspirational initiatives.

Individual winner Sunitha Krishnan with youth winner Jerome Cowans.

Individual winner Sunitha Krishnan with youth winner Jerome Cowans.

Youth winner Jerome Cowans (Jamaica) comes from a violence-torn neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2004, at the age of 13, Jerome started a community-based project to provide positive personal development, mentoring, education and work placement opportunities for the area’s thousands of vulnerable youth.

Individual winner Sunitha Krishnan (India) has been rescuing, rehabilitating and reintegrating thousands of victims of sex trafficking back into society since 1996.

She has been physically assaulted numerous times and receives regular death threats for her relentless fight against sex trafficking.

Organizational winner Project Pink Blue (Nigeria) is a youth-led community-based cancer initiative that provides free breast and cervical cancer screening for rural women in Nigeria. Since its founding in 2013, the project has treated over 600 women and affected the lives of millions more through its preventative education.

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