Today the shortlist for the prestigious Bond International Development Awards is announced with finalists from Somalia, Ghana, Syria, Mumbai and the UK battling for top honors.


Three inspirational humanitarians have been announced as this year’s finalists recognised for their innovative and tireless work in the field.

Agatha Aboe, Sightsavers

Agatha Aboe, Sightsavers

Image by Sightsavers, BOND

EX-PREACHER PRAISED FOR ELIMINATION OF TRACHOMA IN GHANA Humanitarian aid worker introduced the idea of conducting house-to-house searches for people with trachomatous trichiasis, the most severe stage of trachoma, which can lead to irreversible blindness.

Her tireless work and dedication in Ghana helped result in the country making history by becoming the first sub-Saharan African country to eliminate trachoma in June 2018.

Her actions directly increased treatment coverage across the country and ensured that no one was left behind. Demonstrating leadership by example, Agatha personally led searches in the Northern and Upper West regions of Ghana, travelling through very difficult terrain to go door-to-door ensuring everyone was reached. Her presence greatly encouraged local case finders to go that extra mile in their work.

The Ghanaian Ministry of Health awarded Agatha a Citation of Honour, stating: “The story of the elimination of trachoma in Ghana cannot be completed without the mention of your name. You stood as a strong pillar and saw the programme through from beginning to end.”

‘CHANGEMAKERS OF AZRAQ CAMP’  When Shadi and Muteeb arrived at the refugee camp they realised that long-term educational needs of young people were not being met. They made a commitment to ensure that camp circumstances did not stop students from preparing for the next chapter in their lives. Together, Shadi and Muteeb earned a reputation as “the Changemakers of Azraq Camp”.

Both Shadi and Muteeb fled the war in Syria in July 2012 and June 2014, respectively, before arriving in Jordan as refugees. Prior to the conflict, neither worked as teachers; Shadi was a professor’s lab assistant, while Muteeb worked as a tour guide in Damascus.  Working with Relief International, Shadi and Muteeb successfully helped 54 students pass the Tawjihi (Jordan’s General Secondary Education Certificate), since March 2015. They’ve also secured scholarships for several of their students. 

SOMALIAN SHORTLISTED FOR WORK IN ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT HUMANITARAIN CONTEXTS IN THE WORLD Khadija Farah has served her country and the humanitarian community for 27 years as an aid-worker on issues spanning from child protection and advocacy, to nutrition and maternal health, operating in one of the most difficult humanitarian contexts in the world.

The 51 year old, currently based in Baidoa serving refugees and IDPs, has been nominated for her work with International Medical Corps UK.

Khadija began her career in 1991 as a nurse with International Medical Corps, helping people wounded in the civil war. Over the course of her long career, Khadija’s work in maternal health has helped to increase the number of safe deliveries and successfully reduced the number of women dying in childbirth.



Hester, an 11 year-old schoolgirl from Bath, UK has been registered blind since birth. She has been nominated for her fundraising work with Ethiopia Aid, raising funds to support a school for the blind in Mekele. Hester flew 5,000 miles to experience what life was like for blind children on the other side of the world. 

 Hester’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6mw7KXoHbQ   

Hester was delighted to be shortlisted. “I feel honoured and pleased to be raising awareness about the huge challenges and the importance of education for blind children.  My greatest hope for the future is that the children I met at the Mekele Blind School will be able to lead happy, successful and independent lives.” 



Tessa and Jim met in 1991 volunteering for Restless Development in Zimbabwe. Five years ago they launched the Flight Centre Schools Triathlon Programme which has become one of the UK’s largest sporting fundraising events for young people. In just four years, more than 9,000 children across 100 schools have taken part, raising £1 million for Restless Development and over 60 other charities.

The Flight Centre Schools Triathlon builds confidence in children by supporting their fundraising skills and sporting abilities. Many schools and local sporting clubs use the event to build confidence in children by teaching them how to swim and ride a bike.

Money raised by the schools event for Restless Development helps to fund the charity’s work with young people, helping them to lead long-term sustainable change in their communities around the world, tackling issues such as child marriage and HIV prevention.



Dr Shabnam Rangwalaa a Paediatric Occupational Therapist from Mumbai was nominated for her volunteer work with disability charity Matis, helping to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. In this small charity, Shabnam has been the clinical lead and has led on rolling out the Community Health Worker programme in India, Jamaica and Sri Lanka so that children with disabilities and their families can receive practical support in their own homes from trained staff.

Shabnam was instrumental in getting her training programme rolled out by the Government of India in Himachal Pradesh, before gaining the support of the Government of India to ensure MAITS’ Community Health Worker programme was rolled out across the whole state. Shabnam trained 35 government healthcare staff, as part of a programme run by the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and 30 trainees from local charities, equipping them with knowledge to identify disabilities and break down taboos surrounding disability and providing direct hands-on support to families as part of the training.

The Bond International Development Awards form part of Bond Annual Conference, Europe's biggest international development event, bringing together diverse organisations and thinkers to share ideas and discuss emerging trends in the international development and humanitarian sectors.

All winners will be announced at the Bond International Development Awards in London on March 23.



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