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First Annual Anita Datar Prize Awarded in Mali

Modibo Maiga (left) and Ron MacInnis (right) at the Anita Prize award ceremony held at the US Embassy earlier this month.

It has been one year since our colleague and friend, Anita Datar, was tragically and senselessly killed while she was working in Bamako, Mali. Anita, along with a team of colleagues from Mali and the United States, were in Bamako to meet with local government and civil society members to launch Health Policy Plus – a program which aims to improve health services, and equitable access to them, for all Malians.

Anita’s impact continues to reverberate globally. A number of honours and activities have been set up to pay tribute to her. One activity among them is the Grand Prix Anita Datar, an annual prize of US $1,667 (1.000.000 FCFA) to be awarded to a Malian non-profit working to promote the health and well-being of disadvantaged girls and women. This has been set up by Anita’s Palladium colleagues in West Africa, and is funded by a range of individual and organizational contributors - including Palladium.

At the prize ceremony hosted earlier this month at the American Embassy, the Le Centre d’Accueil et de Placement Familial, Pouponnière de Bamako (CAPF), received the first annual award. CAPF is a non-profit dedicated to the care and education of orphaned children. It's Director, Mme Diarra Aminata Diabate, accepted the prize. Also attending the ceremony were Attaher Maiga, the Secretary General of the Minister for Women, Children and Family in Mali, Mr Malick Sene, Representative of the President of the Republic of Mali, and US Ambassador Paul A. Folmsbee. Modibo Maiga, Palladium’s West Africa Director for Health Policy Plus, and Ron MacInnis, a technical director for health, represented Palladium at the event. The Embassy flew the American flag at half-staff, as an honor to Anita Datar.

Said Anita’s colleague and prize coordinator Modibo Maiga, ‘the major goal of this initiative is to perpetuate the memory of Anita and to promote the health and well-being of girls and women, especially the most disadvantaged. We would like on December 7th of each year to gather in Mali with Anita's friends, family, and colleagues and reflect on Anita’s commitment and passion for helping others, her grace and kindness, and her expertise in family planning, maternal health, and HIV policy’.

This prize and many more honours will continue to keep Anita’s memory alive and radiate her life’s work for many years to come.

For more information about Anita Datar and to make contributions in her memory, visit: http://anitadatar.org/

To read reflections from colleagues and friends, please visit our Memories of Anita page.