Mary Chirwa: a voice for the voiceless in Zambia becomes an Award

Mary Chirwa: a voice for the voiceless in Zambia becomes an Award

In honour of her commitment to duty and her fearless fight against corruption in her country

Mary Chirwa award logo

Why do we need an award about Courageous Leadership?

On Tuesday 16 October 2018, Mary Chirwa, guest of honour at the Nudge Global Impact Awards, impressed and inspired guests and young leaders with her bold dedication to making Zambia a more transparent and just country. She is the Director General of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), a government agency responsible for regulating financial crime. As an expression of gratitude to her amazing work, and a gesture of encouragement to other such courageous leaders, Nudge introduces the very first award for Courageous Leadership.

Mary Chirwa and the Nudge Founder, Jan van Betten, during the Awards night at the Peace Palace, the Hague

The backlash from some government offices on FIC and the threats to Mary Chirwa’s life

In true dedication to their purpose, the FIC published its 2018 Trends Report, disclosing massive corruption in the public sector that led to the loss of approximately 420 million euros in public funds. Such funds are essential to many Zambians living below the poverty line.

Disclosing high level corruption involving politically exposed persons was a true act of bravery and it caused a stir. Sharing her experience at the Nudge Global Impact Awards 2018, Chirwa received a standing ovation. She disclosed that the report had a lot of backlash, and she has been receiving threats to her life. Chirwa however remains resolute in her passion to fight corruption in Zambia. “It’s dangerous to do this job, but I love it. If I get scared, I can’t help my community. It takes fearless leadership to be able to work in this environment.” she stated.

Bravery, integrity and perseverance must be rewarded

The FIC report represents a voice for the voiceless in Zambia. Chirwa’s principles, work ethics, and desire to create impact under adverse conditions show how an individual can make a difference. The Mary Chirwa Award is launched to honour other such fearless leaders. Although it is not part of the Challenge, our programme and platform provide a great opportunity to highlight such remarkable leadership.

How to nominate a Courageous Leader?

The Mary Chirwa Award Foundation, together with Nudge, are proud to honour Mary Chirwa to inspire change makers and young leaders to bravely stand up for what is right. The award will be given to an individual with a proven record in Courageous Leadership in 2018/2019, in a field related to one or more of the Sustainable Development Goal(s).  The call for nominees has been spread via all our social media channels and anyone in the world can nominate a courageous leader. Nudge will be granting the very first Mary Chirwa award for Courageous Leadership on the Nudge Global Impact Awards 2019 evening, 22 October 2019.

Do you have a Courageous Leader in your community, organisation or country that you think they deserve recognition? You can nominate them here until 1 September 2019!