Africa Prize Laureates

Hunger in Africa has moved the world’s heart on many occasions. But sympathy, charity and emergency relief will not solve the underlying problems.

It is the men and women of Africa who must provide the leadership to achieve the sustainable end of hunger. The laureates of the Africa Prize are outstanding leaders from every level and every sector of society. Individually, their accomplishments have improved the lives of tens of millions of people. Together, they represent a new possibility.

Africa Prize laureates represent a body of leadership with the moral authority and the track record of success to chart a new future – to create new strategies and launch new initiatives for a future free from hunger.

2011 – Dr. Florence Chenoweth
Liberian Minister of Agriculture

Dr. Chenoweth, the first woman in Africa to be Minister of Agriculture, fights for gender-equal agricultural rights and resources.

2008 – Faiza Jama Mohamed
Africa Regional Director of Equality Now

Faiza Jama Mohamed, has spent the last 25 years fighting for women’s rights throughout the African continent.

2008 – Janet Nkubana
Founder and President, Gahaya Links

After the devastating war and genocide, Janet Nkubana returned to her native Rwanda, where she organized rural women into a basket weaving cooperative, Gahaya Links, now nearly 4,000 weavers strong,

2006 – H. E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President of Liberia

President Sirleaf is the first woman elected to the presidency of an African nation. She has launched programs to rebuild her nation after 14 years of civil war.

2003 – Meaza Ashenafi
Founder, Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association and Chairperson, Enat Bank

Meaza Ashenafi’s organization has led the charge for women’s rights across the political spectrum and across the nation. She has championed women’s rights in the areas of domestic violence, sexual abuse, family, economic and land rights.

2003 – Sara Longwe
Gender consultant, Zambia

Sara Longwe, a writer and mobilizer, has pioneered the use of international human rights laws in the fight for women’s rights in domestic courts. She served 6 years as chairperson of FEMNET, a pan-African network that aims to strengthen the role African NGOs in focusing on women’s rights.

2001 – Amelia Jacob
Co-founder, SHDEPHA+, Tanzania

Amelia Jacob is an HIV positive woman who had the courage to step forward as a spokesperson and activist. She co-founded Service Health and Development for People Living Positively with HIV/AIDS (SHDEPHA+) to stand up for the rights of HIV positive people, and to ensure “all positive people have the chance to live positively – without fear, discrimination or denial.”

2001 – Bishop Dennis H. de Jong (1931-2003)
Integrated AIDS Programme, Zambia

Under Bishop de Jong’s leadership, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ndola has established a comprehensive set of programs for prevention, education and community-based care. Bishop de Jong has brought integrity and forthrightness to the programs, allowing participants to explore issues of sexual behavior and personal responsibility rather than only promoting abstinence as the way to prevent HIV/AIDS.

2001 – HAPCSO

Hiwot AIDS Prevention Care and Support Organization (HAPCSO) is a local grassroots organization seeking to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia by creating awareness of HIV/AIDS in the community and by working to change behavior.

2001 – Padare
Men’s Forum on Gender, Zimbabwe

Committed to creating a gender-just society in Zimbabwe, Padare/Enkundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender examines the underlying male stereotypes that have lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS and encourages men to take responsibility for their own behavior as well as prevention and care of the epidemic

1999 – the African Woman Food Farmer
Her future is Africa’s future

Women are Africa’s most important – and least supported producers – producing 80% of Africa’s food. Yet women receive only 7% of agricultural extension services and 1% of agricultural credit.

1998 – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Former President of Uganda

President Museveni has made it his mission to ensure peace and stability, adequate social services, support for farmers and diversification of the economy.

1998 – Celina Cossa
Founder and Leader of the General Union of Agricultural Cooperatives

Founded an organization of 10,000 peasants, 95 percent of whom are women. The 200 cooperatives produce food for members and their families, and are generating a surplus that enables them to supply the markets in Maputo, the Mozambican capital.

1997 – H. E. Joaquim Chissano
Former President of Mozambique

Is reviving Mozambique’s economy with programs that promote rural marketing, provide access to credit and raise the productivity of small-scale farmers.

1997 – Joyce Banda
Founder, National Assn. of Business Women of Malawi

Founded organization that has empowered thousands of women, predominantly rural, to become economically self-reliant.

1996 – H. E. Amadou Toumani Touré
Former President of Mali

Brought democracy to his country by ending 23 years of single party rule in 1991.

1996 – Chief Bisi Ogunleye
Founder, Country Women’s Association of Nigeria

Founded Network of African Rural Women Associations that is widely known for its programs in credit, agriculture and small business development.

1995 – H. E. Sam Nujoma
Former President of the Republic of Namibia

President Nujoma led his nation to independence over a 30-year period, and is now leading it to reconciliation and rapid progress in the rural areas.

1995 – Mrs. Joyce F. Mungherera (1934 – 2015)
National Executive Director, YWCA – Uganda

Under Mrs. Mungherera’s leadership, the YWCA – Uganda has grown into a powerful force for literacy, family planning and improved incomes. With 1.5 million paying members and 1,000 staff, it is one of the largest nongovernmental organizations in Africa.

1994 – H. E. Nelson Mandela
Former President of the Republic of South Africa

In peacefully ending apartheid, President Mandela ended one of the greatest causes of hunger in the region. Today, he is leading South Africa to meet its next great challenge – liberation from hunger, want and deprivation.

1993 – H. E. Jerry John Rawlings
Former President of the Republic of Ghana

President Rawlings has transformed his country from a condition of economic crisis to a model of self-reliance, consistently focusing on the need for increased food production.

1993 – Father Nzamujo Godfrey
Director, Songhai Project, Benin

“Commitment to Excellence” is the motto of the innovative research and training center established by Father Nzamujo in Benin. A Dominican priest, Father Nzamujo left a comfortable job in the US when famine hit the continent in 1984.

1992 – Mrs. Graça Simbine Machel
President, Foundation for Community Development, Mozambique

Mrs. Machel, at the time of Mozambique’s independence, took responsibility for the most vital step in nation building the education of mozambique’s people. During her decade of service as minister of education, student enrollment nearly tripled.

1992 – Dr. Ebrahim M. Samba
Africa Regional Director, World Health Organization

For centuries, much of the richest farmland in West Africa was idle due to the threat of River Blindness. Since 1980, Dr. Samba has managed a team of 800 scientists, physicians and pilots 97 per cent of whom are African in a successful program that has eliminated river blindness from an 11country region.

1991 – Mrs. Maryam Ibrahim Babangida
Founder, Better Life Programme for the Rural Women (BLP), Nigeria

Mrs. Babangida was the founder of the Better Life Program for the Rural Woman, a program which has achieved dramatic results since its founding in 1987 and seeks to empower women’s social, economic and political status.

1991 – Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai
Founder, Green Belt Movement, Kenya

Professor Maathai is the founder of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya, one of the world’s most successful programs to combine ecommunity development and environmental protection. The movement has enhanced the selfreliance and selfconfidence of tens of thousands of people living in poverty.

1990 – H. E. Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President of Nigeria; founder, Africa Leadership Forum

Olusegun Obasanjo is a vigorous advocate of disarmament, democracy, agriculture and development, and has spoken out unflinchingly on the challenges facing Africa. To set an example for the importance of agriculture in his country, he became a farmer himself upon leaving office after his first term.

1990 – Dr. Esther Afua Ocloo (1919-2002)
Founder and first chair, Women’s World Banking

Dr. Ocloo, a highly successful entrepreneur, industrialist, philanthropist and international leader, was the first woman to be awarded the Africa Prize for Leadership. She has devoted her life to providing appropriate training and access to credit for African women so that they can start their own enterprises.

1989 – H. E. Dr. Ketsumile Masire
Former President of the Republic of Botswana

President Masire has directed the fruits of Botswana’s strong economic growth to small-scale farmers. When Botswana was hit by drought from 1981 to 1987, President Masire pledged that not one person would starve. Through programmed of nutritional surveillance, early warning systems, food distribution and “cash for work,” he kept that pledge.

1989 – Dr. Bernard L. Ouédraogo
President and founder, the Naam movement, Burkina Faso Co-founder, International Six-S Association

Dr. Ouédraogo is a founder and leader of Africa’s largest and most successful grassroots movements for self reliance. He has motivated hundreds of thousands of small scale farmers in the dry Sahel region of West Africa to take command of their own development.

(See our August 2001 statement on the situation in Zimbabwe).

1987 – H. E. Abdou Diouf
Former President of the Republic of Senegal

As chair of the Organization of African Unity in 1985-86, President Diouf of Senegal played a pivotal role in forging a continent-wide consensus on a priority program for Africa’s recovery.

1987 – Professor Thomas R. Odhiambo (1931-2003)
Director, RANDFORUM: Research and Development Forum for Science-Led Development in Africa; former Director, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi, Kenya

Professor Odhiambo was one of the world’s leading scientists. His research focused on developing environmentally sound solutions to the pressing need for increased food production and improved health in rural communities.


Learn more about The Hunger Project’s Africa Prize.