2008 Africa Prize Gala a Huge Success!

Jill Lester and Peter Bourne with 2008 Africa Prize Laureates

On October 18, Faiza Jama Mohamed and Janet Nkubana were named co-laureates of the 2008 Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger, at a celebratory gala in New York City. These two civil society leaders were chosen as this year's laureates because of their extraordinary contribution to the empowerment of women in Africa. Watch highlight video.

The Africa Prize, which includes a cash prize of US$100,000, was first awarded by The Hunger Project in 1987 and recognizes African leaders who exhibit exemplary courage, vision and commitment to the well-being of Africa's people.

About 850 guests and dignitaries attended the event. Harambee Dance Company provided a special welcome, and following the award ceremony, guests celebrated and danced to the African beats of Grammy Award-winning Angelique Kidjo.

At the Africa Prize gala, Hunger Project President and CEO, Jill Lester remarked "tonight we celebrate the leaders who play such an essential role in first listening to what women have to say, and then in amplifying their voices so they begin to be heard." Read full remarks.

Faiza Jama Mohamed, has spent the last 25 years fighting for women's rights throughout the African continent. She has worked tirelessly to have women work together and reconcile with one another in an effort to bring peace and stability to their war-torn lives. Mohamed is now based in Nairobi, Kenya where she is the Director of the Africa Regional Office of Equality Now. She is a key organizer of Solidarity for African Women's Rights, a pan-African coalition of organizations that successfully campaigned for the adoption of, and is now campaigning for the implementation of, the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. Read Faiza's remarks.

Janet Nkubana, spent her childhood in a refugee camp in Uganda, where she became an expert basket weaver. After the devastating war and genocide, she returned to her native Rwanda, where she organized rural women into a basket weaving cooperative, Gahaya Links. Now, Gahaya Links is nearly 4,000 weavers strong, and the women in the cooperative are earning incomes and pulling themselves and their families out of crippling poverty. The collective also plays an important role in healing the gaping wounds left by war and genocide. Regardless of whether Hutu or Tutsi, and no matter what crimes their families may have committed against the other, the Gahaya Links women work side by side and together are rebuilding their lives. The baskets that they create and sell to customers across the United States through Macy's department store, are called "peace baskets." Read Janet's remarks.

Mohamed and Nkubana join the ranks of previous African Prize Laureates which include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nelson Mandela, Wangari Maathai, Graça Machel and Joaquim Chissano.

If you were unable to attend the event, we encourage you to make an investment in honor of the extraordinary leadership of Faiza Jama Mohamed and Janet Nkubana.

Learn more about the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger.