Remarks by Sister Tebebe Maco


Remarks by Sister Tebebe Maco, 2001 Africa Prize Laureate, at the 2003 Award Ceremony

Two years ago, I stood here in the same place as these two women when I received the Africa Prize.

That night changed my life. Let me tell you how.

Before, almost nobody knew my work. No one funded us, or honored us in our own country. I had to fund my organization that fights the spread of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia with my own savings. I have no idea how The Hunger Project found me. But they did, and it changed everything - for me, and the people with HIV/AIDS that I care for. Today, my organization and I are not only recognized by the people, but by other organizations and the government.

Now - everybody knows me. I am on television and in the newspapers. I am consulted by government and by international organizations on how to fight HIV/AIDS.

In July of this year, I testified before the U.S. Congress. In 2002, my organization received a 3-year grant of $150,000 from USAID, and we have just signed an agreement with Family Health International in Washington DC, which will invest over $400,000 in my organization over the next 5 years.

With these funds and with this opportunity to speak, I am able to help far more people stop the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

Two years ago, we were serving an area of 160,000 people. Today, we are reaching a population of over 3 million.

Two years ago, we supported 150 patients - today 1,200.

Two year ago, our staff was one-fifth of what it is today.

And, it is not just the money that has helped us. It is the recognition that I have received since I won the Africa Prize.

May I say to my fellow laureates - you have no idea what is in store for you. Many surprises will come as a result of this prestigious Prize.

And may I say to The Hunger Project and to you all here tonight - Thank You. Your investment is reaching the people who need it the most. This Prize is making an amazing and permanent difference for the people of Africa.