Miss Payal Jangid, a 16-year-old from India was on Tuesday honoured for her commitment towards advocating for education and abolition of child marriage after refusing to marry at the age of 12.
Jangid was presented with the Change Maker Award by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs Amina Mohammed at the 2019 Global Goals Award organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a 28-year-old, Miss Aya Chebbi from Tunisia also received the Campaign Award for her work on youth empowerment throughout Africa.
Also Mr Gregory Rockson, the founder of mPharma, who is from Ghana, received the Progress Award for his work in providing primary healthcare services across Africa.
Similarly, the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi received the Global Goalkeepers Award, which recognised the progress India had made in providing safe sanitation to over 500 million people through the Swachh Bharat Mission.
While receiving the award, Jangid spoke about her commitment to ensure that girls were treated properly and equal to men and also that it was important for girls to receive proper education.
“I want every kid in the world without education to be given a chance to progress in the society especially girls who are more likely to drop out because of gender bias or poverty,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Co-founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates charged world leaders to take a cue from the Indian government and priotise the SDG Goal 6, which deals with water and sanitation.
“Sanitation is something that governments do not like to talk about because the solutions are not that easy.
“We feel a lot about malaria because it is devastating but sanitation-related illnesses kill more kids every year than malaria yet progress in achieving the SDGs 6 on water and sanitation is lagging far behind,” he said.
Also, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs Amina Mohammed said that courage was what it would take to address global inequality and achieve the SDGs by year 2030.
“It will take courage to achieve the SDGs. I mean tons and tons of it. Courage to stand up for human rights and to stand against those who oppose gender equality.
“Courage to push for financial inclusion and say that universal access to basic services is not charity but a right.
“Courage to engage the sceptic and challenge the political interests that are hindering inclusive and sustainable development,” she said.