Announcing the 2020 Waislitz Global Citizen Award Winners



Haroon Yasin

Orenda | Co-Founder and Chairperson

The grand prize winner of the Waislitz Global Citizen Award and the cash prize of $100,000 is Haroon Yasin, Co-Founder and Chairperson of Orenda. Haroon is revolutionizing access to education in Pakistan with a unique educational and entertaining mobile application that has reached over a half a million children and is being aired on national television to reach kids whose schools have closed due to the pandemic. 

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Waislitz Global Citizen Disruptor Award

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu

ColdHubs | Founder and CEO

The winner of the Waislitz Global Citizen Disruptor Award and a $50,000 cash prize is Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, Founder and CEO of ColdHubs. Nnaemeka is helping farmers and vendors in Nigeria reduce food spoilage, extend the shelf life of their fruits and vegetables and increase user income with 100% solar powered walk-in cold rooms.

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Waislitz Global Citizens’ Choice Award

Farhad Wajdi

Ebtakar Inspiring Entrepreneurs of Afghanistan Organization | Founder and Executive Director

The winner of the Waislitz Global Citizens' Choice Award and a $50,000 cash prize is Farhad Wajdi, Founder and Executive Director of Ebtakar Inspiring Entrepreneurs of Afghanistan Organization. Farhad empowers women to break into the male-dominated profession of food cart vending in Afghanistan, and during COVID-19 converted these food carts into mobile disinfectant units.

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Waislitz Global Citizen COVID-19 Response Award

Muzalema Mwanza 

Safe Motherhood Alliance | Founder and CEO

The winner of the Waislitz Global Citizen COVID-19 Response Award and a $50,000 cash prize is Muzalema Mwanza, Founder and CEO of Safe Motherhood Alliance. Her organization distributes birth kits and trains birth attendants in Zambia, and is manufacturing PPE during the pandemic for frontline healthcare workers including 3D printed masks and face shields. 

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Waislitz Stories

About the Awards

The Waislitz Global Citizen Awards are annual cash prizes totaling $250,000 that recognize the excellence of individuals in their work to end extreme poverty. The grand prize is $100,000 with three additional prizes at $50,000 each, for a total of four prizes. The awards are presented by the Waislitz Foundation and Global Citizen, and in 2020 are supported by the leading US and Australian based cellular medicines company, Mesoblast Ltd and global fund management group Paradice Investment Management Pty Ltd. 

“Ending extreme poverty is not a choice, it's an obligation. My hope is that it will inspire many thousands of people around the world to do what they can to improve the living standards of those in dire need," Chairman and Founder of the Melbourne-based Waislitz Foundation, Alex Waislitz.

The Waislitz foundation exists to create a positive social impact locally and globally through innovative projects that empower individuals to meet their full potential and make a measurable difference to the world.

Past Winners


Charlot Magayi, founder and CEO of Mukuru Stoves, is an eco-entrepreneur on a mission to eradicate household air pollution in Africa. With over 5 years’ experience in the cookstove industry, Charlot believes in a world where every household is smoke-free and has dedicated her time, skills and knowledge to work towards achieving this dream.

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Koketso Moeti saw the potential of cell phones to amplify the voices of poor women and hold government accountable. Working to turn every cell phone into an active citizenship tool, Koketso founded, a movement of over 200,000 active citizens across South Africa who campaign against poverty.

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Wilma Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Saahas Zero Waste believes in persistence and practicality. Wilma has had a diverse career path – from being a tour guide and German language translator in the eighties, to a business journalist in the nineties, and for the past 16 years a pioneer in the Waste Management Industry. When not at work, Wilma likes to spend her time planting and nurturing trees, making compost and being around family.

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Clarisse Uwineza, whose Environmental Protection and Organics organization focuses on converting organic waste into fertilizer in Rwanda, said that her project will “help reduce waste and empower farmers to produce more food.” Her BIORGOFERT project converts bio-organic waste into an environmentally friendly and clean fertilizer.

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Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, the director of Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, won the 2015 prize for his work in making education more accessible to AIDS orphans in Uganda. This includes developing schools but also helping the women - or “grandmothers” as he calls them - who raise these orphans.

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Anoop Jain, the founder of Humanure Power, won the 2014 prize for his work in rural India building sanitation facilities. Anoop believes that building toilets addresses the underlying causes of poverty, which affect broader health, social, and economic change desperately needed in India.

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