The Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND) announced the winning projects of its International Prize for Pioneering Development Projects, 2008, in the field of Prevention of Visual Impairment. The Prize Committee approved the winning projects in its meeting, which was held under the chairmanship of HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, AGFUND President, on Tuesday 18 November 2008, at the Islamic Development Bank Headquarters in Jeddah.
The Prize Committee has approved major changes in the Prize amount and categories, by increasing the Prize amount to be US $ 500,000 and adding one more category to be allocated for projects implemented by government agencies. The new changes will be applied starting from 2009.
The Prize Committee has also approved the winning projects of the Prize 2008 as selected three projects as winners from among (35) projects submitted for the prize from 24 countries in 4 continents:
THE FIRST CATEGORY PRIZE; allocated for international and regional organizations in the field of “The international organizations' role in supporting the developing countries' national policies and programs to control the main causing diseases of visual impairment”: Won by the "Sustainable Control of Onchocerciasis”. Implemented by Helen Keller International (HKI) Organization, in 10 African countries; Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Tanzania).
THE SECOND CATEGORY PRIZE; allocated for projects implemented by NGO’s in the filed of “NGOs efforts in the prevention of visual impairment and rehabilitation of the blind people: Won by the " A Model for Integration and Self Sustainable Eye Care ", implemented in Egypt by Al Noor Magrabi Foundation.
THE THIRD CATEGORY PRIZE; allocated for projects founded, sponsored and/or implemented by individuals in the field of “Individual-led initiatives to develop the blind's capabilities and invest their skills”: Won by the “Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital”, Implemented in Pakistan upon the initiative and effort of: Lt. Gen. Jahan Dad Khan. The Prize Committee has also approved " Development of Agricultre through Technology" as subject for AGFUND Prize 2009.
It is worth that mentioning that qualified nominated projects are evaluated by experts in the fields covered by the Prize, in accordance with the criteria specified in the Prize statute.
The Prize Committee membership comprises a number of renowned world figures, namely: Mrs. Mercedes Menafra de Batly, former First Lady of Uruguay, President of the All for Uruguay Organization, Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne MEP, Vice President, Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Ali, President of the Islamic Development Bank, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Managing Director of Grameen Bank, Dr. Y. Seyyid Abdulai, former Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development.