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Nigerian, 2 others win 2023 Waislitz Global Citizen Awards



Nigerian, 2 others win 2023 Waislitz Global Citizen Awards

Oluwafunke Adeoye, Nigerian human rights lawyer and two Kenyan citizens have won the 2023 Waislitz Global Citizen Awards.

The award is aimed at inspiring people working within their communities to overcome challenges like air and water pollution, period poverty, unstable infrastructure and gender disparities in education.

It is also to drive the mission to end extreme poverty and improve the living conditions of people globally.

Adeoye founded the Hope Behind Bars Africa, after some personal encounters with the justice system including that of her father’s arrest and detention for a crime he reportedly did not commit.

The organisation closes the justice gap by providing free legal services and direct support to low-income incarcerated individuals while promoting criminal justice reforms through research, evidence-based advocacy, and technology.


Over 7,000 incarcerated individuals have benefitted from their interventions.

With the award, Adeoye plans to fully launch Justicepadi, a tech platform that will revolutionise legal aid in West Africa and also expand her work for climate justice.

“It is crucial for people to understand that behind the labels of “convicts” or “prisoners”, there are human beings with stories, hopes, and dreams.

“By offering legal aid, we strive to ensure that every person, regardless of their circumstances, has access to fair representation and a chance to rebuild their lives”, Adeoye said.

The others are; Peter Njeri and Esther Kimani, both Kenya citizens, were named as the 2023 Waislitz Global Citizen Award winner and the Waislitz Global Citizen Disruptor Award winner.


The Waislitz Global Citizen Awards are annual cash prizes totaling $250,000 that recogniae the excellence of individuals in their work to end extreme poverty and its systemic causes.

The grand prize is $100,000, with two additional prizes of $75,000 each.

“When we first conceived these awards almost 10 years ago, we wanted to shine a light on those heroes working at grassroots levels to end global poverty. We also wanted to encourage others to do the same.

“The awards have grown in stature and participation rates every year and I am proud that we’ve been able to assist so many outstanding and inspirational young champions from around the world to advance their efforts in the fight against global poverty.

“This year’s winners are no exception and I wholeheartedly congratulate them all”, Alex Waislitz, Chairman and Founder of the Waislitz Foundation said.


Peter Njeri, who grew up in Soweto, Nairobi, and saw his family suffer first-hand from the effects of indoor air pollution, set out to solve this problem.

He produced a technology that turns plastic waste into clean energy and co-founded Mega Gas Alternative Energy— a clean-tech startup on a mission to provide access to clean and affordable cooking energy for low-income families all while protecting the environment.

Today, over 10,050 families in Kenya use his technology. The Waislitz Global Citizen Award will enable him to serve an extra 5,400 families each month.

Esther Kimani is the 27-year-old CEO of FarmerLine, a climate agritech trailblazer disrupting Africa’s agricultural sector.

With delayed detection of crop pests and disease destroying over 47 per cent crop yield every farming season, Kimani developed the first-ever solar-powered AI-based crop pests and diseases detection device.


Its vision is to end hunger and extreme poverty for a million marginalised smallholder farmers.

Her inspiration comes from experiencing farm losses from pests and diseases firsthand as she grew up farming on the slopes of the Aberdare mountains in Kenya.

Kimani’s technology has so far impacted over 60,000 farmers in Kenya.


Diphtheria: Children at risk as 7,202 cases are confirmed in Nigeria



A staggering 7,202 cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be fatal without treatment, were confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The outbreak has been particularly severe among children under 14, with three-quarters of cases (73.6%) in this age group.

Most cases have been recorded in Kano state, Nigeria’s second most populous state. In the past three months, there have been 453 deaths from diphtheria in Nigeria.

Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, but low vaccination rates in Nigeria have made the outbreak possible. Only 42% of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

Diphtheria symptoms begin with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that can block the airway, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. The toxin can also spread to other body parts, causing heart kidney problems and nerve damage.


Save the Children is launching a wide-scale health response in the three most impacted states of Kano, Yobe, and Katsina. The organization is deploying expert health and supply chain staff to help overstretched clinics detect and treat diphtheria cases and to support mass vaccination campaigns.

However, Save the Children warns that a mass vaccination campaign will only be successful if the vaccine shortage is urgently addressed.

Severe shortages in Nigeria of the required vaccine and the antitoxin needed to treat the disease mean that the situation could continue to escalate, placing many children at risk of severe illness and death.

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WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

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