Nigeria’s HelpMum Wins $50,000 from Waislitz Global Citizen Award

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerian health tech startup, HelpMum, has been announced as one of and the only African and among the four global winners for the 2021 Waislitz Global Citizen Award.

HelpMum was selected as the winner for the Waislitz Global Citizen COVID–19 Response award and would receive $50,000 as part of winning the award.

The Waislitz award is an annual cash reward (if up to a total of $250,000) presented by the Melbourne-based Waislitz Foundation with support from Mesoblast to individuals who are considered to be global changemakers.

The institution believes that the cash prize will enable the recipients to further implement their advocacy efforts especially to end extreme poverty.

This year, the 2021 Waislitz Global Citizen Awards applicants were evaluated in five areas: global citizenship, proof of concept, disruption, scalability, and adaptability.

According to the platform, hundreds of applications were received from participants from across the world but had to select four whose projects stood out as especially creative and important in the fight to defeat poverty.

The four winners include Bina Shrestha who founded Build Up Nepal, an organization that helps rural families build homes with environmentally friendly materials and offers entrepreneurial opportunities to people.

Other winners include Tania Rosas’ Fundación el Origen (Origin Learning Fund), Jimmy Pham’s  Know One Teach One (KOTO) and HelpMum, founded by Dr Abiodun Adereni.

HelpMum provides an e-learning platform to train community birth attendants in their indigenous languages. It also provides a vaccination tracking system where expectant mothers in targeted remote areas are registered to encourage immunisation for their babies.

The startup works to ensure safe and hygienic delivery among pregnant women in rural and underserved communities through the distribution of affordable birth kits including cleansed gloves, antiseptic soaps, sterilised delivery mats and maternity pads.

HelpMum has so far worked with over 20,000 pregnant women and nursing mothers as well as more than 500 healthcare workers. In the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the startup donated 10,000 face masks to pregnant women, nursing mothers as well as traditional birth attendants in rural health centres.

This is not the first time that the start will be recognised as it received a $250,000 grant in 2018 as one of the Google Impact Challenge winners. It later won a $5,000 grant from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Speaking on the award, Dr Abiodun said, “Winning this award will help us at HeloMum scale our solutions —especially those we developed during COVID, help accelerate the impact we’ve had so far, and save more lives in remote communities. We are extremely grateful for this support from Global Citizen, Waislitz Foundation, and Mesoblast.”

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