A total of 90 individuals, groups, organizations and public-private initiatives have been shortlisted for the 2020 Frontline Heroes Awards, organizers African Silent Heroes in partnership with Fikiria Consulting announced.

From sporting icons Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba to government entities like Tunisia’s Ministry of Industry’s Director of Innovation and Technological Development, Kingdom of Morocco and Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, non governmental organizations, health care professionals and youth leaders, the awards aim to highlight and recognize efforts that have made a remarkable impact in the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite experts’ fears that the coronavirus pandemic would decimate the continent due to its fragile health systems weakened by years of conflict, corruption and under-funding, so far Africa has been spared the worst of the virus.

With almost 16% of global population, the continent of 1.2 billion people accounts for just 4% of global coronavirus cases.

Some analysts believe a youthful population, experience dealing with pandemics like Ebola before, living in the tropics and low testing numbers are partly responsible for the relatively low cases.

They also overwhelmingly acknowledge successful efforts by African leaders, civil society, celebrities and youth groups in fighting the pandemic through innovation and commitment.

In organizing this year’s special award that honors remarkable impact in the fight against the pandemic, African Silent Heroes in partnership with Fikira Consulting provided a spotlight for submissions to showcase dedication, tenacity and generosity from Africans living in the continent and diaspora.

Nominations opened on August 18th allowing the public to nominate individuals and organizations as many times, and in 16 categories spread across Health, Education, Business, Social Responsibility, Media/Entertainment, Technology, and Youth.

The awards attracted strong pan-African and Diaspora interest, with entries from all corners of the continent.

The outstanding number of entries were judged by a distinguished panel of jurors made African cross-sector specialists, chaired by Malesela Maubane. Members included: Ndapwilapo Selma Shimutwikeni; Vivian Onano; Selamawit Mamo; Tania Tomie; Innocentia Motau; Indira Pires; Lulu Shabell; Ambassador Yvonne Khamati-Yahaya and Abasiama Idaresit.

The Front Line Hero of the Year Award will be contested by six individuals – Dr. Allison Amara Chukwu from Nigeria, Dr. Nontokozo Mzimela and Dr. Zweli Mkhize from South Africa, Malachie Manaouda from Cameroon, Ivorian Carl Manlan and Madagascan Raveloarimisa Mbolatiana.

Another individual centric award is the African in Diaspora Hero of the Year which will be contested by Femi Ogunremi from Nigeria, Guinea’s Diaka Camara, Precious Nwafor who resides in the UK, Dr. Frank Dike and NMA Phil Onuigbo from Nigeria and Ismael from the Benin Republic.

Nominees for the African In Diaspora Hero of the Year Award. Courtesy: Africa Silent Heroes

Governments also feature handsomely in the awards shortlist. Rwanda’s Ministry of Health has been nominated for the Creative Innovation and Technology Award while Tunisia’s Ministry of Industry’s Director of Innovation and Technological Development will battle Government of Togo’s financial sector and telecoms sector and Kingdom of Morocco for the Best Public and Private Collaboration award.

The awards feature many health care categories such as the Most Dedicated Health Care Assistant Award that will be contested by three Nigerians Olushola Osho, Dennis Okporobia and Sanitarian Eghene Tijani Eleojo, Malawi’s Martin Gama and Ronald Onyari from Kenya.

There is also an Outstanding Medical Doctor Award that will be contested by Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe from DRC, Nigerians Dr. Dankuwo Oyeleke Oyenuga, Dr. Charles Umeh and Dr. Akintunde Sanusi, Professor Abdool Salim Karim from South Africa and Dr. Manal El-Sayed from Egypt, and an Outstanding Nurse award that will be contested by three South African nationals – Goloka Mabusela, Ntombizodowa Thiula, Olebogeng Masemola, two Nigerians Adeola Morgan and Khafila Ojomu Ilelaboye with Kalkidan Gizaw from Ethiopia rounding off the list.

Nominees for the Oustanding Nurse Award. Courtesy: Africa Silent Heroes

Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba will renew their fierce African football rivalries with both nominated for the Outstanding Sports Contribution Award alongside DR. Congo’s Dikembe Mutombo, Siya Kolisi, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Multichoice Group from South Africa. Seed Project from Senegal rounds off the list.

The continent’s largest demographic – the youth – who have been key in fighting the pandemic are also recognized in the awards shortlist. The public will choose from South Sudan’s Nelson Kwaje, Cameroonian Christian Achaleke, Michael Ashura from Kenya, Thelma Chalwe from Zambia, Burkina Faso’s National Youth Council and Madagascan Marie-Christina Kolo.

Voting is open to the public and will close on December 15.

Africa Silent Heroes Foundation was founded in 2018 to recognise, honor and reward Africans who over the years, quietly and repeatedly execute extraordinary community development philanthropy within their African communities, in partnership with Fikira Consulting, a pan-African marketing and communications agency.

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