Saturday October 10th African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) was announced as the winner of the African Non-Profit Organization of the Year award at the prestigious African Awards. Presented by Mshale Newspaper, the annual African Awards were held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Initiated nearly five years ago by Mshale Newspaper founder and President Tom Gitaa, the African Awards celebrate the remarkable achievements and successes of African immigrant communities throughout the United States.
To be considered for the awards, community members submit nominations of notable individuals and organizations in the African Immigrant to Mshale. The submissions are then sorted by a select committee of judges before finalist are announced on Mshale’s website. AEDS was announced as a finalist in September. After the finalist are announced, Mshale opens up a public text-to-vote campaign for the community to vote for their favorite finalist. The 2015-2016 winners were announced during the African Awards.
A red carpet event, the African Awards attracted a large crowd and was emceed by KMOJA radio DJ Charles Dennis. With opening remarks from DJ Dennis and a fashion show from designer Hilda Mauya’s line, Dahil Republic of Couture.
The event’s program included Kenyan tech guru and humanitarian David Kobia, who served as the keynote speaker. During his speech, Kobia spoke at length about the power and potential of the African diaspora. Kobia also spoke about the work of his internationally acclaimed and innovative non-profit tech company Ushahidi, which created a platform to crowdsource information for communities in need.
With a number of individual and collective awards, the African Award winners included activist Wintana Melekin, emerging politician Ilhan Omar, Paschal Nwokocha Law Offices LLC, and several other winners.
For AEDS the African Awards come right on the heels of another major success. Last month, it was announced that AEDS was one of 12 winners of the 2016 Knight Green line Challenge for its Little Africa Cultural Corridor project. The award provides funding to further the development of Little Africa as a vital cultural district in the Twin Cities.Winning the African Non-Profit award validates the years of hard work and sacrifice AEDS staff and supporters have devoted to improving the community.
Special thanks to our board, the AEDS office staff, our numerous community partners, and thanks to our dynamic community members whose votes and continuous support made our award possible.