KAMPALA — Uganda’s Eng. Winnie Karagwa Byanyima who serves as UNAIDS Executive Director is among the four finalists for 2020 Global Citizen Prize for World Leader.
The Global Citizen Prize, hosted by International advocacy organization Global Citizen honors those making extraordinary efforts to lift up the world’s most vulnerable and make the world a better place, and who inspire others to stand up and take action.
Eng. Byanyima was selected alongside Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Eng. Byanyima is a renowned women’s rights activist and political leader from Uganda, and serves as the first-ever female Executive Director of UNAIDS, a UN program to regulate and stop the spread of AIDS.
With degrees in aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering, Eng. Byanyima is a popular leader in the efforts against AIDS, gender inequality, and poverty around the world.
As UNAIDS Executive Director, Eng. Byanyima is on a mission as part of the UN’s Global Goals to wipe out AIDS globally by 2030. Her first step towards this goal was to implement an ambitious testing and treatment regime called 90-90-90 that aims to stop the spread of HIV infection.
Throughout her career, Eng. Byanyima has been an advocate for women taking up space in politics, with the aim of ending unjust practices against women and bringing about global equality for women — and played a key role in making the Ugandan constitution more gender inclusive.
Even in her response to COVID-19, Eng. Byanyima made sure to commend the success of women leaders for their management of the global pandemic — including hailing New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg for their responses.
Under her supervision, UNAIDS also collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law to create a collective database of legal documents related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These documents aim to increase transparency and record countries’ responses to the pandemic.
Eng. Byanyima is one of 140 signatories of a letter calling for a “people’s vaccine” against COVID-19, joining current and former world leaders in their call for future vaccines to be produced at scale and made available at no cost for developing countries — to ensure that no one is left behind in the global response to the pandemic.