OFID 2017 Annual Award for Development: Winner announced

06.07.2017 | E19/2017 

OFID 2017 Annual Award winner FUDI
From left: Abdul Wahab Ahmed Al-Bader, Chairman of OFID’s Governing Board; Juan Carlos Méndez, Chairman of FUDI; HE Abderrahmane Raouia, Minister of Finance of Algeria and Chairman of OFID's Ministerial Council; HE Antonio Roberto Castellanos Lopez, Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala; Suleiman J Al-Herbish, OFID Director-General.

Vienna, Austria, July 6, 2017. The aQ´on Jay Program of the Foundation for Integral Development (FUDI) in Guatemala has been announced winner of 2017 OFID Annual Award for Development. The program will receive US$100,000 from OFID in support of its efforts to improve maternal and child health and nutrition.

The award was presented by HE Carlos Alberto de la Torre, Minister of Economy and Finance of Ecuador and Chairman of OFID’s Ministerial Council at the Council’s 38th session, held at the organization’s headquarters in Vienna. Accepting the award was FUDI Chairman Juan Carlos Méndez.

“We are delighted to recognize the aQ´on Jay Program in this way,” said OFID Director-General Suleiman Al-Herbish. “The program’s focus on maternal and child health is in line with OFID’s focus on tackling the significant challenges related to the 2030 goals, including improved global health, the targets of which encompass, among others, improvements to maternal, child and reproductive health, the reduction and prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and access for all to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines.”

Al-Herbish continued: “Presenting this award to FUDI is also consistent with OFID’s approach—through its Grants Program—of supporting community level and grass roots initiatives, responding to the needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and addressing the underlying root causes of poverty in developing countries.”

Méndez explained how the aQ´on Jay Program provides holistic support to families with the goal of generating sustainable development. He added that FUDI’s interventions include advocating at government level for public policies to help scale-up its programs to a national level. “At FUDI, we are deeply honored with this recognition,” he said. “We receive it on behalf of our aQ´on Jay Health Center, and on behalf of all the rural families that are assisted through this health and nutrition program. We can assure you that these resources will strengthen the type of assistance provided at the Center to mothers and children under five years of age who are vulnerable to chronic malnutrition in the rural areas of Chimaltenango, Guatemala.”

FUDI was established in Guatemala in 1976 in response to the earthquake damage of the same year. Its work is carried out in three centers; one of which is the aQ´on Jay Health Center. The aQ´on Jay Program was initiated in 1999. It focuses on improving the health and nutrition of children under five with severe chronic malnutrition. The center works directly with the indigenous population, teaching women the causes of malnutrition and how to improve their own dietary and health care—including improved hygiene and food safety practices—as well as that of their children.

By teaching maternal and child health, the program helps women to improve their living conditions and family’s health. It also encourages them to further their opportunities and independence. The center currently serves 570 families in 13 communities in the Chimaltenango area of Guatemala. The funding from the OFID Annual Award will support the program to increase its reach.

As of December 31 2016, OFID’s cumulative contribution to the health sector stood at US$866m. Among the many activities funded are infrastructure provision, capacity building and primary healthcare programs. OFID has recently restructured its grant program to incorporate a special health program that broadens the scope of its interventions. As well as HIV / AIDS and other preventable diseases—including TB, malaria and waterborne illnesses—the program targets NCDs, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, which are more prevalent in poor developing countries.

The OFID Annual Award for Development was introduced in 2006. Past winners include: Syrian refugee Doaa Al Zamel; the Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt, Kenya’s Kakenya Center for Excellence; Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan; Dr Mazen Al-Hajri, renowned ENT surgeon and philanthropist; Professor Muhammad Yunus; and Bartolina Sisa National Confederation of Peasant Indigenous Native Women of Bolivia, among other distinguished personalities and institutions.