It’s been three years since over 70,000 Global Citizens, artists, and global leaders came together at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, all united behind one mission: to honor Nelson Mandela’s life, legacy, and dream of ending poverty, in his centenary year.

Today, 117.8 million lives across Africa and the world have been impacted as a result of the announcements made at the Mandela 100 campaign and festival — which saw world leaders, philanthropists, and the private sector making commitments towards achieving the UN’s Global Goals, to end extreme poverty and its systemic causes.

More than $4.7 billion of the total $7.2 billion in funding announced during the monumental event has now been disbursed by commitment makers, to key organizations on the front lines of ending extreme poverty in all its forms, and to communities in need around the world.

On Dec. 2, 2018, the day of Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100,Global Citizen and our partners announced 60 key pledges across Health, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Food Security, Agriculture, Environment, and Finance and Innovation, with bilateral support across the world, Africa at the national and regional levels of government, philanthropy, and the private sector.

Hosts of the event included Sir Bob Geldof, Naomi Campbell, Gayle King, Bonang Matheba, Tyler Perry, and Forest Whitaker, with ground breaking performances by Beyoncé & JAY-Z, Cassper Nyovest, Ed Sheeran, Sho Madjozi, and more. In 2020, Global Citizen reported that in the two years since Mandela 100, many commitments made at the event were still on track to be met, despite COVID-19.

In 2020, we announced that 105.4 million lives had been impacted by interventions aimed at mitigating the impacts of extreme poverty. That was more than 50 million new lives in 2020, and 14.6 million in South Africa alone. One year later, in 2021, 12.4 million additional lives have been impacted.

Through pledges made at Mandela 100, interventions have been vast, urgent, and critical for communities experiencing the compounded effects of extreme poverty and COVID-19. Pledges have resulted in accelerated action to end child marriage, and the delivery of antiretroviral therapeutics to more than 5.1 million South Africans; efforts underway to map the spread of river blindness in Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal; and computers and other educational equipment and facilities that enabled students to continue attending classes online during COVID-19.

In a 2021 impact report released this week, we are celebrating the commitments made during Mandela 100 that have had the greatest impact on lives overall. Here are some of the key commitments announced towards health, gender equality, and nutrition, and what those commitments have helped achieve since:

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Elma Foundation UK, UK Aid, Virgin Unite, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed US$105 million to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2023.

Supported by the funding announced at Mandela 100, Sightsavers’ Accelerate program has addressed neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma in 14 African countries, providing more than 7.4 million treatments for river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis. In the first half of 2021, surgery activities were underway in 95 of the program’s targeted 180 districts for the year, which has allowed for the treatment of 5,100 cases of trachoma. In the same period, 23 districts in Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal have achieved milestones for trachomatous trichiasis elimination significantly quicker than the equivalent in 2020.

Vodacom pledged ZAR 500 million toward tackling gender-based violence, teacher and learner digital literacy, and early childhood centers.

In 2021 Vodacom's Mandela 100 commitment has supported programs that have had a profound impact across key areas in gender, education, and literacy. As a result of one of these programs, more than 1,900 female farmers have been trained in relevant ICT skills to enable them to communicate with other farmers, access relevant products and services online, and ultimately provide them with access to economic opportunities by connecting them to potential buyers. Another, a Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) and website has provided victims of violence in South Africa with a source of support, by providing counselling, service referrals, and immediate response in the event of imminent danger, all free of charge.

Germany committed $72.4 million to support the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD).

Germany’s commitment helped support IFAD overall efforts, insuring that from 2019 to 2021, 23.4 million people gained access to financial services, such as savings and credits, and almost 1.7 million hectares of land were brought under climate resilient practices In 2020 alone, IFAD’s ongoing projects reached over 128 million people, surpassing the year’s goal of 120 million. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IFAD has repurposed $179 million in the form of 58 projects across 36 countries to help relieve the pandemic’s profound impacts thanks in part to funding announced at Mandela 100, in other partners. Recently in Eritrea, for instance, $1 million has been repurposed through the “Fisheries Resources Management Programme” to provide temporary cold storage to make sure those affected by COVID-19 were able to store their harvests.

Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 was an event to commemorate the legacy of a man whose extraordinary vision for peace and equality still resonates today within the hearts and minds of people of all generations. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, organizations and governments press on to respond and deliver on pledges made at the event, helping millions of the world’s most vulnerable combat poverty daily, while mitigating the ongoing personal and economic impacts of the pandemic. ​​

Research suggests that COVID-19 will likely accentuate the long-term concentration of poverty in countries that are resource-poor, fragile, and facing conflict. By 2030, the nine countries with the largest numbers of extreme poor will be in Africa.

As the world celebrates the impact and progress of the commitments achieved three years ago, Global Citizen continues to advocate to bring Mandela's dream to reality by ending extreme poverty.

In order to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals, we must end poverty in all its forms.


Demand Equity

In the 3 Years Since Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, Here’s Our Collective Impact

By Camille May