Africa’s most prominent activist and grassroots campaigner, Mallam Hamzat Lawal was on Saturday, April 1, 2023 honoured, with the African Humanitarian Award at the maiden edition of the African Heritage Awards held in Kigali, Rwanda.
The event, which was the celebration and global recognition of Africans’ outstanding achievements, also honoured former Presidents of Nigeria, Botswana, and Tanzania, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Seretse Kahama Ian Khama, and Late John Magufuli.
Others who won the African Humanitarian Award are Vice President of Liberia, Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, Founder and Director, Bright Kids Uganda; Victoria Nalongo Namusisi, Head Water Access, Rwanda; Christelle Kwizera and Fred Swaniker, Founder of African Leadership University.
Mallam Lawal, the Chief Executive of Connected Development and Founder of Follow the Money, both African-based organizations achieving Sustainable Development Goals, dedicated his award to his mother.
His words: ”I dedicate this award to my mother, who struggled to get educated, but because of her culture and religious norms, she was stopped from going to school.
”But she ensured I went to school and do this work with that knowledge. And for me, the greatest service to humanity is service to people.”
He also spoke on the rapid expansion of Follow The Money, which now has over 7,000 users, saying:
”Today, we are in over 10 African countries with actively 90,000 young people organizing and mobilizing following taxpayers’ money to ensure the effective use of these resources.
”I believe that Africa can be greater than what it is today. Thank you.”
Mallam Lawal seats on the Executive Board of Africa’s most significant youth movement – African Youth Initiative on Climate Change.
His robust advocacy has made him one of the top six young persons changing the world alongside Malala Yousafzai. He was also recognized among the 100 most influential people in 2019, Amina Mohammed, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Aliko Dangote.
Other distinguished Africans recognized at the event include Professor Patrick Lumumba, who was given the Africa Advancement Icon Award, Engr. Simbi Wambote who bagged the Champion of Local Content Development in Africa Award, and Olumide Akpata, who won the Africa Legal Icon Award.
Music performers from Uganda, Ghetto Kids, were recognized with the African Entertainment Award, while the Founder of Heritage Bank, Dr. Ifie Sekibo won the African Philanthropist Award.