We’re used to getting all sorts of calls about all sorts of different awards here at The Awards People. Many of the awards we’ve heard of – as you would expect, however, one call intrigued us no end. When Olasubomi Aina MBE called us she wanted to know if we could help her enter (and win) the UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize…. Say what?!
Whilst Ola talked we typed and found the Prize’s webpage (https://www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay/mandela_prize.shtml). The Prize was awarded for the first time in 2015 and is only opened up for entries once every five years! It is an honorary award which is presented as a tribute to the outstanding achievements and contributions of two laureates: one female and one male who are not selected from the same geographic region. The Prize is in recognition of the humility of Nelson Mandela and the Prize awarded to each laureate is a plaque engraved with an appropriate citation and a relevant quotation. The Committee for the Prize, in consultation with the UN Secretary-General, determine the quotation.
We read further and found that the Prize aims to recognise the achievements of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of humanity as guided by the purposes and principles of the UN, whilst honouring and paying homage to Mandela’s extraordinary life and legacy of reconciliation, political transition and social transformation. In short, the Prize is awarded to acknowledge each laureates service to humanity in the promotion of reconciliation and social cohesion, and in community development.
Ola sent us some links to her websites as well as some materials she had had created enabling her organisation the Lightup Foundation (http://lightupfoundation.org/) to apply for grants in order to carry out their work. It soon became clear to us that this is one very, very special lady whose international reach includes projects aimed at establishing peace, encouraging and building a culture of volunteerism, enhancing the lives of children and young people via her Bag of Hope project (http://bagofhope.world/) and, across them all, to create an environment of support helping people of all ages, genders and cultures to work together thereby conquering hunger, disease and illiteracy.
Readers we agreed to help Ola with her application. The application in itself was a huge challenge for us because, after giving name and contact details there are only, really, three questions;
- In 250 words or less to outline your / your organisations background, including vision and mission
- In 350 words or less, describe why the nominees should be awarded the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize
- In 500 words or less (and in accordance with the eligibility criteria defined I the Statute of the nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize) present the outstanding achievements and contributions of the nominee (in chronological order, not more than five) to the service of humanity as guided by the purposes and principles of the United Nations
Now, we’ve deliberately put in word for word how each question was set to show you just what we were all up against! How do you distil over 30 years of global peace work and charity work into that! Well that was the challenge we faced… together with a looming deadline! There was, in all fairness, the opportunity to also submit pieces of additional material and we chose to create a couple of documentary type short films together with a further written document which gave more details, together with lots more photos, covering Ola’s history as well as looking at her focus now and in the future.
The Prize closed for nominations on the 28th February. We’ll let you know when we hear anything but in the meantime we have everything crossed for Ola. We wish her all the very best with what is a HUGE Prize and one that attracts many, many nominations. Here at The Awards People we hope that OIa achieves the recognition that she and her lifetime of work truly deserve and that she can use the increase in profile to help take her work out further to those in need.
Fingers and toes crossed y’all!