Why Global Citizens Should Care
Nelson Mandela once declared extreme poverty and inequality to be among the most terrible misfortunes of our time, and called on world leaders, communities, and individuals to work together to end poverty and other social injustices. Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 celebrated the great leader’s centenary by taking actions that promoted gender equality, children’s rights, education, health and other human rights championed by Mandela. You can join the movement here.

On Dec. 2, 2018 — the year that would have marked Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday — activists, business leaders, diplomats, heads of state, and over 70,000 Global Citizens gathered in Johannesburg for a marathon of music and activism.

Artists including Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Cassper Nyovest, D’banj, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Femi Kuti, Pharrell Williams, Chris Martin, Sho Madjozi, Tiwa Savage, Usher, Wizkid, and Black Coffee performed for a crowd, every one of whom had earned their tickets by taking action to help end extreme poverty.

But it wasn’t just the grand scale of the event at FNB Stadium, or its stellar lineup of some of the biggest artists in the world, that made Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 so historic.

The festival was the culmination of the year-long #BeTheGeneration campaign that saw more than 400,000 people in South Africa and from around the African continent working with Global Citizen to end extreme poverty by taking actions aimed at reaching targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals.

More than 5.65 million actions were taken by Global Citizens in the lead-up to Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 — with more than 5.2 million actions taken in Southern Africa alone.

These included actions such as: participating in HIV screenings; emailing the government of South Africa calling on it to invest in menstrual hygiene education and products, as well as constructing safe toilets in schools; tweeting Madagascar, South Africa, and Zimbabwe to invest in child nutrition; and telling G20 leaders to secure a fairer future by prioritising food, health, sanitation, gender equality, and education; among many more.

Mandela100_MainEntrance_MpumeleloMacuForGlobalCitizen-4.jpgA general view of the FNB Stadium before the start of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Mpumelelo Macu for Global Citizen

In response to your calls, leaders took to the Global Citizen stage to make commitments and pledges to continue heeding Nelson Mandela’s call to eradicate extreme poverty and its systemic causes.

By the end of the festival, 60 commitments and announcements worth $7.2 billion (R104 billion) had been made.

Of that total, $3.8 billion (R54 billion) was specifically meant to improve the lives of more than 6.2 million South Africans — while the remaining $3.4 billion (R49 billion) would benefit the most vulnerable people across Africa in countries such as Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Sudan, as well as in the Middle East and Asia.

Of this, Global Citizen’s campaigns, and the actions taken by Global Citizens, directly resulted in 44 commitments worth a total of $3.7 billion (R52 billion). The remaining $3.5 billion (R51 billion) were committed by our partners on the Global Citizen platform, including the festival stage, Global Citizen-hosted events, and digital channels.

Collectively, these commitments are set to impact the lives of 121 million people.

One year on from Mandela 100, more than $2.5 billion (R36 billion) has been disbursed or allocated in South Africa and around the world.

Overall, this has impacted more than 55 million lives through the delivery of vaccinations, protection against malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), antiretroviral treatment, access to education and materials for students in situations of conflict, and nutrition, among other services.

In financial terms, this is 35.2% progress towards the complete delivery of commitments made at Mandela 100 — and the vast majority of commitments are on track to deliver on schedule.

ramaphosa 2 wide.pngPresident Ramaphosa is speaks during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on Dec. 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Global Citizen

But it’s absolutely central to the Global Citizen movement that we hold our leaders to account for their promises made as a result of Global Citizens’ actions.

Global Citizen has been tracking all of these commitments since they were made, monitoring progress against the targets that commitment-makers set at the time of their announcement.

Now, on the first anniversary of Mandela 100, we’re releasing an impact report — created to track every commitment, what funds have already been disbursed, whether commitments are on track, and what work still needs to be done to ensure every commitment is fully disbursed and is directly improving lives.

As we look back on the year, and what work there is that still needs to be done, we want to highlight the words of Mandela himself — a message of global progress, and a challenge to the international community to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, to end extreme poverty and achieve a world that’s truly equal.

“The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not yet taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.”  

You can find the full impact report here, but here are just a few of the highlights of the work that commitment-makers and partners have made since the festival:


The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria committed $369 million (R5.2 billion) to South African initiatives over the next three years, to be divided between tuberculosis and HIV programmes.

The commitment delivery officially kicked off in April 2019, and the Global Fund has so far disbursed $39.5 million (R567 million) to the joint programmes — with the remainder on track to be disbursed on schedule by March 2022.

Another commitment made towards combating HIV/AIDS came from PEPFAR, which stands for the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This was a commitment of $1.2 billion (R17.2 billion) to help the South African government meet its target of reaching 2 million more people with HIV treatment between 2019 and 2020.

Following fears of funding cuts, this commitment was restored at a greater value than before, with a total of over $1.4 billion (R20.1 billion) allocated to this initiative.

The joint efforts of PEPFAR and the South African government has so far helped an estimated 3.5 million people in the 27 highest-burden districts, while the partnership has reached more than 4.7 million people nationally.

2. Nedbank

Nedbank committed a further R5 million ($348,000) towards its partnership with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) — all of which has now been handed to the Fund.

As a result, NMCF has been able to train and fund community health workers — who have reached over 16,000 children under the age of six, and more than 1,300 pregnant women.

An additional 813 pregnant women have been supported with antenatal care, while 486 children under the age of one have been fully immunised. Almost 5,000 children under five have also been dewormed and been given their vitamin A shots.

The programme is also helping prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and women’s wellness clubs — to help mothers support each other too — have supported 826 women.

3. The Motsepe Foundation

The Mandela 100 festival wouldn’t have been possible without our partner, the Motsepe Foundation. But as well as supporting the whole campaign, they also made two commitments on stage.

The first was a commitment of R1.4 billion ($100 million) to improve education and reduce inequality for young people. So far, $20 million has been allocated for 2019, mainly for students in STEM, agriculture, social science, and entrepreneurial courses.

Some of the commitment is also going to support sports, music, and arts programmes in high schools and universities — with 15,000 schools to benefit from funding towards their sports, arts, and music departments.

The Motsepe Foundation also pledged R3.5 billion ($250 million) to agriculture, farming, agribusinesses, and land reform. So far, $50 million has been allocated for these partnerships.

As part of this, $7 million has been donated towards sustainable job creation projects in agriculture with 34 of the largest religious and faith-based organisations in South Africa.

4. Vodacom

Telecommunications company Vodacom made several commitments at the festival.

The first was R500 million ($34.8 million) towards tackling gender-based violence, teacher and learner digital literacy, and upgrading 15 early childhood development centres across South Africa over three years.

Of this commitment, key updates include:

  • Vodacom has so far worked in six early childhood development centres across Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga. This work has included upgrading infrastructure, improving sanitation, and providing mobile libraries.
  • Vodacom has established “educational ecosystems” in 12 schools of excellence, including one in KwaZulu-Natal, and another in Limpopo. These ecosystems target “previously underprivileged communities” specifically.
  • In a KwaZulu-Natal day care centre and high school, Vodacom has eradicated pit latrines, replacing them with appropriate sanitation facilities, and installed tablet devices as part of a mobile library.

The second commitment was R50 billion ($3.4 billion) over the next five years to help deploy a fibre network and 4G and 5G technologies in South Africa — specifically focusing half on underserved communities. This commitment is on track, and you can read more about it in the report.

5. The South African Government

On the Mandela 100 stage, President Cyril Ramaphosa committed to prioritise menstrual health. This kicked off with an allocation of R157 million ($11.1 million) in 2019 for menstrual hygiene education and the provision of sanitary pads for learners.

Six South African provinces have so far launched or initiated menstrual health education and free sanitary pad programmes for girls in Grade 4-12 in non-fee paying schools: Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and North West Provinces.

According to the government, most provinces will start or have started distribution between October and December, so more detail will be available early next year.

In the days prior to the festival, South Africa also committed R2.8 billion ($198 million) to eradicating unsafe pit latrines in response to the campaigns of Global Citizen and our partners. Global Citizen understands that the full commitment announced in the release of the budget for 2019-20 will be delivered over multiple years — including R700 million being disbursed in 2019.

So far, 606 schools have been identified to be targeted in 2019 and 2020, with 1,000 schools in the second phase, and 800 in the final phase. One school that has already benefited is Govani Primary School in Limpopo, which officially received newly built toilets in early November 2019.

Because these commitments haven’t yet been fully delivered, it’s critical that Global Citizens in South Africa continue taking action with us to ensure your voices are heard.

6. Food Security

The German government committed €63 million ($72.4 million / R1 billion) to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) over three years.

So far, Germany has disbursed €20.1 million ($23.1 million / R331.7 million) to IFAD, which has already reached an estimated 847,000 people — boosting poor and rural people’s agricultural production; increasing the benefits they see from markets; and developing resilience against the impact of climate change.

Meanwhile, the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) committed to match $5 million of spending each from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia for agricultural projects — for a total commitment of $20 million.

There have been some complications with this commitment, due to multiple staff transitions at USADF, so we can’t update on the full commitment.

However, for Nigeria, USADF launched a co-funded project with Niger State in Sept. 2019, with each party set to contribute $5 million. It’s a 5-year commitment, with grants and technical assistance to be provided to farmer cooperatives, producer associations, and small and medium-sized enterprises in Niger State.

7. Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

NTDs are a whole group of communicable diseases that affect more than 1 billion people globally — with people living in poverty being the most vulnerable.

The diseases can cause disability and death, as well as trapping people in a cycle of poverty through preventing education and employment.

At Mandela 100, Botswana committed to eliminate NTDs by 2023. Working with the World Health Organisation, the country has conducted mass drug administration among children in six endemic districts: Chobe, Jwaneng, Kgalagadi South, Lobatse, Mabutsane, and Selibe-Phikwe.

Sightsavers announced its Accelerate programme at Mandela 100, and has shared that the programme is on track to deliver its aims on target. It has warned, however, that there are challenges ahead — particularly in reaching people in areas of conflict and crisis.

Since launching, the programme has:

  • Treated 8.6 million people with antibiotics to protect them from trachoma, an NTD that can cause blindness.
  • Trained health professionals have examined and assessed 13,685 people with advanced trachoma.
  • Trained and certified 69 surgeons to deliver pain-relieving and sight-saving surgery.

Sightsavers has also reported that the programme’s scope has expanded from 12 African countries to 14.

The END Fund has been supported with $15.5 million (R222.6 million) in commitments from high-net-worth individuals, organisations, and individual donors — to reach 31 million people with treatment for and prevention of NTDs in Africa.

This commitment is complete, with the full $15.5 million now disbursed — and an anticipated 31 million people will have been reached by the end of Dec. 2019. These funds have supported NTD prevention and treatment programmes in countries such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $17 million (R244.1 million) to the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN).

So far, $10.8 million (R155.1 million) has been disbursed, however, impact data isn’t yet available for ESPEN’s 2019 work from these funds, so we’ll update again in the future.

8. UNFPA Supplies

UNFPA Supplies is the UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) flagship fund and the world’s largest provider of family planning services. It reaches over 20 million women and girls every year in the world’s poorest countries, and in fragile and conflict settings.

Norway committed NOK 17.5 million (about $2 million / R29.7 million) to UNFPA Supplies by 2020 — bringing its total pledge for this timeframe to over $20 million (R297.2 million). This commitment is complete, and it’s estimated that the additional funding made at Mandela 100 has impacted 235,000 people.

Denmark committed an additional DKK 50 million ($7.6 million / R109.1 million) to UNFPA Supplies by the end of 2018. This pledge has been disbursed in full to UNFPA Supplies — and once it’s fully disbursed on the ground it’s estimated it will have saved the lives of an estimated 21,000 women, by preventing 8.7 million unintended pregnancies and 2.7 million unsafe abortions.

Belgium committed €9.2 million ($10.5 million / R151.7 million) to boost its 2018-19 contributions to UNICEF’s and UNFPA’s joint programme to accelerate action to end child marriage, to the SheDecides Support Unit, and UNFPA Supplies. These commitments are all on track.

9. The World Bank

At Mandela 100, the World Bank committed an extra $1 billion (R14.8 billion) towards human capital projects in Africa through 2019 and 2020.

The commitment is on track. In 2019, the World Bank has supported 36 projects in Africa, and anticipates that in 2020 it will support 52 projects.

These projects include helping to empower women and girls through providing essential health services; providing resources so girls can stay in school; and supporting over 100,000 women to learn marketable skills in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

10. Cisco

Cisco committed at Mandela 100 to prepare 10 million people worldwide for jobs in the digital economy over five years.

Since then, Cisco has reached 2.15 million people through the Cisco Networking Academy, and reports that it’s making strong progress on its commitments.

Of those students who have taken part in the Networking Academy, 95% say its made a positive impact on their lives, and 94% report that the skills they learned have been important to their career.

You can read about how the Cisco Networking Academy has impacted one young South African, 24-year-old Mpho Mudau, here.

But Global Citizens didn’t stop taking action on the issues that matter most to them after the Mandela 100 festival was over, far from it.

Since Mandela 100, more than 950,000 actions have been taken by Global Citizens in South Africa — on issues including women & girls, education, environment, and health. Meanwhile, we’ve had more than 25,600 Global Citizens in South Africa join us in 2019.

While our Mandela 100 first anniversary impact report reveals that extraordinary progress has already been made — remember, your actions have impacted more than 55 million lives in just one year — there’s still a lot of work to be done to make sure every commitment is fully delivered.

So keep taking action with us to call on those commitment-makers, and join with us as we kick-off our 2020 campaign, Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream. We need to drive additional investments of $350 billion a year, for the next 10 years, in the world’s 59 poorest countries if we’re to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and end extreme poverty.

The campaign will focus on gaining commitments across the issues of education, health, and food; climate change, and gender equality.

We need literally every person to start taking action with us and in their communities if we’re going to make this ambition a reality — so start taking action with us today at GlobalCitizen.org or in the Global Citizen app.

Source: Global Citizen

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