Rajasthan girl gets Changemaker Award at Gates Foundation event
Youth activist Payal Jangid, 17, from Rajasthan, won the Changemaker Award for her fight against child marriage and child labour in her village at the same ceremony where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented the Global Goalkeeper Award for improving sanitation under Swachh Bharat on Tuesday night.
She was one of three young persons under 30 years who were awarded at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Goals Awards for pioneering work that’s added to the global progress in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Jangid almost became a child bride herself, but she said she fought her parents and community to stay in school.
Jangid soon won support from her peers in school and formed a “bal panchayat” (youth council) and was elected sarpanch (head). They started going around their village persuading people to stop keeping their kids from school to work in the fields as unskilled labour.
“We had to work hard to make the village elders realise that early marriage was effectively preventing us from getting an education. It prevents us from getting skills to give us a better future,” she said.
“I resisted and now I’m in college doing my graduation. I want every child in the world to get an education that will give them a better life. All children must be given the chance,” Jangid said.
The Progress Award was presented to Gregory Rockson, co-founder and CEO of mPharma, for his work to increase access to high-quality drugs across community pharmacies in five African countries. “Even basic medicines are very expensive in most countries in Africa, mPharma ensures pharmacies are well stocked with affordable medicines and there are no shortages,” he said.
Aya Chebbi, the first African Union Youth Envoy, won the Campaign Award for her work promoting youth empowerment, peace-building, and non-violent mobilisation in Africa
The awards were given to young people who are changing the lives of communities around them against seemingly insurmountable odds in regions with the least opportunities for the young.
Geography and gender are the biggest drivers of inequality, which can be addressed with smart policies built around digital technology that improves both the quality and reach of government services, said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Examining Inequality 2019 report that tracks the global progress to meet the UN’s SDGs by 2030.
The report found that a gender gap in access to education and services exists in every country, with women globally doing three times more unpaid care work, which is currently valued at $10 trillion per year.