Your Chance to Vote: The AidEx 2016 Humanitarian Hero Finalists

Published: Nov. 3, 2016

For AidEx


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AidEx Humanitarian Hero Finalists 2016

The AidEx Humanitarian Hero of the Year Award aims to recognise and celebrate stand-out individuals from the humanitarian and development aid community and showcases the courageous work and dedication that they put into their line of work.

Nominations are open to individuals from all parts of the sector, including those who work for suppliers, NGOs, governmental and development aid community. Voting will close after Friday 11th November and the winner will be awarded during the AidEx networking drinks reception on 16th November at Brussels Expo. To see the winner awarded and attend AidEx, register here.

Jaha Dukureh, Safe Hands for Girls

Jaha Dukureh, Safe Hands for Girls

Jaha Dukureh, founder and executive director of Safe Hands for Girls. Photo: AidEx

Jaha Dukureh is the Founder and Executive Director of Safe Hands for Girls, a nonprofit organization working to protect young women and girls who are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). For her outstanding work as a global campaigner to end FGM and promote women’s rights, she was named to TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People for 2016. Ms. Dukureh’s work has led to policy changes both in The Gambia and U.S. Her efforts also helped create a law in the U.S. that made it illegal to transport girls out of the US for the purpose of FGM. She successfully advocated to the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take the essential first step of commissioning a report on the prevalence of FGM in the U.S. The CDC released its findings last year, estimating more than 503,000 young women and girls are either living with or at risk of FGM in the U.S. Her campaign has received backing from the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and various Members of Congress, including Senator Harry Reid, Congressmen John Lewis and Joseph Crowley. Her work has been featured the New York Times, the Guardian, New York Daily News, Cosmopolitan magazine, and other media outlets. Last year, she was featured in the L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth campaign. Vote for Jaha here

Dr. Cynthia Maung, Mae Tao Clinic

Dr. Cynthia Maung

Dr. Cynthia Maung, M.D., founder of the Mae Tao Clinic. Photo: AidEx

Dr. Cynthia Maung is a medical doctor and founder of the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand on the Thai-Burmese border. When the military seized power in 1988 and began cracking down on pro-democracy activists, she was among thousands who fled to the jungle. Like many of the others, she eventually made it across the Thai-Burma border. In 1989, after consulting with residents of refugee camps along the border about the medical needs of refugees and internally displaced persons, she established her clinic in a dilapidated building with bare dirt floors on the outskirts of Mae Sot. Her makeshift clinic had few supplies and almost no money, but she improvised by sterilizing her few instruments in a rice cooker and soliciting medicine and food from Catholic relief workers. Today, Dr. Cynthia’s clinic treats more than 75,000 patients each year. Dr Cynthia works with a staff of 550 people to provide health education and protection to conflict-affected communities, migrant workers and displaced children who have little resource to services elsewhere. The clinic receives 400–500 patients daily, treating such conditions as malaria, respiratory disease and diarrhea, as well as providing over 200 prosthetics for people who have had a land mine injury. Last year Mae Tao Clinic provided a safe delivery for 2800 pregnant women. Dr Cynthia and her staff work closely with other community based organizations to strengthen the health system in Eastern Burma and Mae Tao Clinic has been a training hub for more than 20 years where more than 3000 health workers have been trained to provide primary health care in conflict areas where no other service was available. Vote for Cynthia here.

Dr. Martin Fisher, KickStart International

Dr. Martin Fisher, Ph.D.

Dr. Martin Fisher, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of KickStart International. Photo: AidEx

Dr. Martin Fisher, Ph.D. is Co-Founder and CEO of KickStart International, a nonprofit social enterprise headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Martin first went to Kenya on a Fulbright Scholarship to study the connection between technology and development. Though he planned to spend six months in the country, he stayed for over 17 years and started KickStart (previously ApproTec) with Nick Moon in 1991. KickStart designs and mass-markets affordable, high-quality tools used by poor but entrepreneurial individuals to launch profitable businesses in rural areas, where employment opportunities are most scarce. Martin is recognised as a pioneering social entrepreneur for identifying the market’s failure to reach Africa’s millions of small-scale farmers with new technologies, applying his engineering skills to the design of such tools, and insisting on supplying them through local shops to stimulate broader economic growth while ensuring sustainability. In addition to income-generating tools, when a refugee crisis on the Kenya-Somali border broke out shortly after KickStart’s inception, Martin and his team developed culturally appropriate and easy to produce latrine covers, thousands of which were used to improve sanitation in overcrowded camps. More than one million people have taken a major step out of poverty as a direct result of earning a lot more money growing and selling food in dry months when prices are highest and there is huge unmet demand (96% of the continent’s farmland is exclusively fain-fed). KickStart International has since empowered 1,000,000 people to take a major step out of poverty through promoting the adoption of appropriate irrigation tools among small-scale farmers. Vote for Martin here

Shaima Al Zarooni

Shaima Al Zarooni

Her Excellency Shaima Al Zarooni, founder and president of Camp01. Photo: AidEx

Her Excellency Shaima Al Zarooni is the Founder and President of Camp01, a Public Benefit Corporation based in Minnesota, USA, whose mandate encompasses enabling partners and clients to effectively design, implement, and evaluate humanitarian and development projects that address pressing needs and challenges for the benefit of the most vulnerable people around the world. She is also the Vice-President and a board member of the August Medical Foundation, whose mandate is to provide services and grants relating to healthcare and education in communities that lack the necessary resources. Shaima Al Zarooni was the CEO of International Humanitarian City (IHC) based in Dubai until September 2016 making her the youngest Chief Executive Officer in the Government. Under her leadership, the IHC became the largest and most utilised humanitarian logistics hub worldwide due in large part to the structures, policies and programs initiated by Shaima. The IHC has grown threefold in both capacity and membership and fivefold in funding (from USD $5.67 million in 2011 to USD $26.8 million in 2015) for humanitarian aid provided. The structures, policies, programs, and infrastructure developed under her leadership has attracted more than 60 international humanitarian agencies and not-for-profit organisations such as those within the United Nations system including FAO, WHO, WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP, UNDSS, as well as organizations outside of the UN sphere such as the IFRC, DIFD, NRC, ARC, Smile Train, Save the Children, Care Intl., MSF, etc. Concurrently, Her Excellency also managed a number of joint humanitarian taskforces responding to emergencies around the world, including Gaza, Greece, Nepal, Syria and Vanuatu. Vote for Shaima here

Related News & Events: 
Dec. 17, 2018

KickStart's MoneyMaker pumps help farmers who are often barely feeding themselves to grow more crops and sell their surplus. What's next? They're planning to open an innovation hub in Kenya to develop new irrigation solutions so it can expand into 16 countries across Africa by 2021.