6 Months After Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, Here's How Partners Are Honouring Their Commitments
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.”
It’s been six months since Global Citizens gathered at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, on Dec. 2 to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary.
Most importantly Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 was held to honour Madiba’s legacy by working towards ending extreme poverty by 2030.
Nelson Mandela was respected around the world for being one of the key political leaders who helped South Africa usher in freedom and democracy after more than half a century of apartheid and racial segregation.
However, his memory lives in the hearts of people globally because he was a man of the people, committing his life as a free man to causes that uplift the most marginalised people in the world, especially children.
In his vision to help create a world that’s equal and just, Mandela used his stature as one of the most revered statesmen of the 21st century to urge political and business leaders, and individuals, to help end extreme poverty.
“Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry, and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils,” he told a crowd assembled in London’s Trafalgar Square, in his now famous 2005 speech for Make Poverty History.
“The Global Campaign for Action Against Poverty can take its place as a public movement alongside the movement to abolish slavery and the international solidarity against apartheid,” he continued.
Global Citizen has long heeded the call to end extreme poverty, and on the day of Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, presidents, world leaders, our corporate partners, and Global Citizens all reaffirmed their commitment to achieving Madiba’s vision.
Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 saw dedicated Global Citizens take over 5.6 million actions which resulted in 60 commitments and announcements worth R104 billion ($7.2 billion) — and set to affect the lives of 121 million people around the world.
Global Citizen is busy tracking all of these commitments to ensure that the funds are distributed to reach those that need it most. Here are some highlights that commitment makers and partners have made since the festival.
Of its R17 billion ($1.2 billion) pledge, the United States government has approved the release of R10 billion ($732 million) towards South Africa’s HIV programme to provide antiretroviral treatment for 2 million people by the end of 2020.
2. Menstrual Health
The South African government has allocated R157 million (over US $11 million) in its 2019 budget to providing sanitary pads to learners from low-income households, effectively doubling the existing allocation to this issue by adding R79 million to the previous R78 million spend. The increased spending came into effect in May.
3. Water & Sanitation
Cross River State in Nigeria has unlocked R27 million ($2 million) of its R42 million ($3 million) commitment towards providing universal sanitation across the state for 2019.
4. Pit Toilets
Vodacom has kicked off delivery of its commitment. The company pledged to help the government eradicate pit toilets by replacing existing pit latrines with safe, new toilets in Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres, primary schools, and high schools across South Africa.
The full R5 million ($350,000) commitment made by Nedbank has been received by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and with this support the Fund was able to host an information day as part of World Vaccination Day, in one of its learning sites where vaccination rates are still very low.
6. Plastic Pollution
Since January this year, as part of its R530 million ($38 million) commitment to the environment, Coca Cola SA and its bottling partners have invested over $5 million in eight countries. And already, we’re starting to see polyethylene terephthalate (PET) collection and recycling rates increase.
7. Blindness & Trachoma
The Audacious Fund committed R1.4 billion ($105 million) to Sightsavers’ Accelerate programme, which is at the forefront of the fight to eliminate trachoma in at least 10 countries. New figures released by the World Health Organisation show that the number of people at risk of blindness from trachoma has been reduced by 91% since 2002 thanks to programmes just like this.
As Nelson Mandela himself declared in his Make Poverty History speech: “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”
“And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity,” Madiba highlighted. “It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”