A cause for celebration: the 2021 President's Awards

7 min read
WaterAid/ Guilhem Alandry

From partners going the extra mile to support our work, to volunteers making a real difference and political leaders standing up for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) – meet the winners of the twentieth annual President’s Awards.

Presented to exceptional supporters on behalf of our president, HRH The Price of Wales, the Awards are WaterAid’s highest honour, and are our way of celebrating the tremendous contributions of volunteers, groups and organisations.

Every year we ask staff and partners from across the global WaterAid Federation to nominate those who have shown great commitment to our cause through campaigning, fundraising, advocacy work and beyond. As always, it was incredibly difficult to choose the winners, but after much deliberation, our panel of judges selected 13 outstanding recipients.

This year's winners

ABeam Consulting LTD

ABeam Consulting has supported WaterAid Japan since its establishment in 2013, demonstrating their ongoing commitment through donations, fundraising events, and employee engagement activities. The donations from ABeam have helped projects in Nepal, Timor-Leste and Ethiopia, and Abeam has also supported our advocacy work in Japan.

ABeam's support has undoubtedly contributed to WaterAid becoming a trusted and respected NGO in Japan – leading to our selection as an official charity for the Osaka Marathon, which has provided us with invaluable exposure across the country.

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP

Andrew Mitchell has been a long-standing supporter of our work, beginning with his appointment as Secretary of State for International Development in 2010.

His impact on the place of WASH in UK political and media discourse has been far-reaching: he has helped foster a greater understanding of water, sanitation and hygiene issues, and has brought on board new – and often unlikely – supporters. By incorporating our briefings into his work and speaking out on cuts to international aid, he has reached millions of people with our key messages.

He has also helped us to shape our advocacy approach over the years, leading to improved results for this important strand of our work.


Choosing to remain anonymous, this supporter has shown an extraordinary commitment towards our work since 1992, and this award marks 30 years of a highly valued partnership. Their philanthropic support has helped projects in countries across Africa and Asia, transforming over 100,000 lives; moreover, they have always been open-minded in supporting work on some of our broader concepts, such as climate resilience and gender equality.

Mrs Cheleka Kaziya

As Assistant Director of Environmental Health at the Ministry of Health in Zambia, Cheleka has played a leading role in developing and disseminating WASH standards in healthcare facilities across the country – including encouraging the provision of inclusive toilets, incinerators and ash pits in health centres, leading to improved outcomes for both workers and patients.

Cheleka also led on the development and roll-out of the Hygiene Behaviour Change Campaign in Zambia, and plays a key role in the national response to COVID-19.

Compagnons Fontainiers du Rwanda (COFORWA)

COFORWA have worked with WaterAid Rwanda for over a decade, delivering inclusive infrastructure and social behaviour change projects in remote communities. Their approach is so highly regarded that it has been replicated by the government and other stakeholders, accelerating WASH access in communities, public spaces, schools, and healthcare facilities.

[The Award] is really a great encouragement in our work. It is also an opportunity for appreciating the successful partnership between COFORWA and WaterAid characterised by good collaboration, encouragement and support since ten years ago... We are very proud for having WaterAid as a good partner and for having been selecting to be awarded.
Jean Paul Kinyango, Executive Director, COFORWA

David Rose

David served in the British Army for 20 years as a Royal Engineer, during which time he worked on water and sanitation projects in developing countries and conflict zones. On leaving the Army, David took up a position at Yorkshire Water – and within weeks of starting had signed up to climb mountains for WaterAid.

His ongoing support, however, goes beyond personal fundraising: his work on our 20 Towns Project in Ethiopia (a collaboration with Yorkshire Water) has been groundbreaking in the sector, inspiring other water companies to form similar partnerships. His ongoing support has helped to raise our profile in both the UK and Ethiopia, inspiring others to get involved however they can.

David sharing expertise with WaterAid Ethiopia staff in 2017
David sharing expertise with WaterAid Ethiopia staff in 2017

Oscar Mallett

At the age of just 14, Oscar is our youngest ever President’s Award winner. Having learned about WaterAid at school as part of a geography project, Oscar decided to set up a social enterprise project at the start of the pandemic to raise both money and awareness.

He started a virtual bedtime story service to keep children company (and provide a break for exhausted parents!): in return for a small donation, children log in to Zoom to hear Oscar reading stories before bed.

His innovative idea grabbed the attention of the national media, providing additional exposure for our work, and encouraging and recruiting new supporters.

The Osprey Foundation

WaterAid America and the Osprey Foundation first came together in 2016 to support WaterAid’s acquisition and merger with Aquyuda, a local NGO operating in Colombia.

Over the following five years, their contribution to our mission has been significant – not only financially, but also through their support of our involvement in Agenda 4 Change, our strategic programme to strengthen systems in the water sector.

At the start of the pandemic, Osprey were proactive in asking WaterAid America how they could help respond to COVID-19, offering an unrestricted, supplemental gift to aid efforts wherever needed.

Rotary Club of Christchurch

The Rotary Club of Christchurch have supported WaterAid since 1993, focusing on both our Ghana country programme, and projects in Nepal. Not only do they organise fundraising events, but also work to raise awareness of WaterAid in the community, in turn leading to increased support for our work.

Steve Cheshire

Steve has been volunteering at festivals for WaterAid every year since 2016 and is now a key member of our festivals team – always motivating others, speaking positively and passionately about our work, and supporting first-time volunteers. This year, Steve gave up three weeks of his time to support our presence at Worthy Pastures, using the majority of his annual leave to take part.

As well as volunteering at festivals, Steve supports us at his workplace, Severn Trent Water, through running raffles and encouraging his colleagues to get involved with WaterAid too.

WaterAid volunteers outside the Good Loos at the end of the festival with the totaliser showing how many toilets have been funded to be built in Rwanda. Bestival, Dorset, UK, August 2018
Steve, bottom right, with fellow WaterAid festival volunteers at Bestival 2018
WaterAid/ Laura Summerton

Suleiman Hussein Adamu

Since being appointed as Minister for Water Resources in Nigeria eight years ago, Suleiman has been a strong supporter of our work, using his political will to raise funds from donors to expand and improve WASH services across 36 states.

He was a key supporter of the National WASH Action Plan, a roadmap for achieving open defecation-free status for Nigeria, and of the government’s pledge to reach 100% coverage for WASH services in rural areas.

Suleiman’s courage, leadership and outstanding commitment to achieving results has undoubtedly helped to set Nigeria on a path towards a long-lasting transformation.

Tony Ramos, Eversheds Sutherland

Global law firm Eversheds Sutherland has been an invaluable partner since 2016, and in his role as Corporate Responsibility and Pro Bono Manager, Tony has been instrumental in driving this relationship forward.

Thanks to his enthusiasm and passion for our work, Tony is a great champion for WaterAid within the organisation – growing awareness amongst employees, seeking opportunities for us to add our voice to the conversation, and embedding our vision within the company culture.

Tony’s support was also vital in securing an additional gift, alongside the company’s regular annual donation, to support our COVID-19 response last year.

Professor Wendy Graham

A world recognised obstetrician and gynaecologist, Wendy has championed the need for WASH in healthcare facilities for almost a decade.

As well as carrying out invaluable research into improving health outcomes through better WASH, Wendy has provided technical support to WaterAid Cambodia, Myanmar and Malawi, focusing on infection prevention and control.

Wendy has been instrumental in shifting thinking on WASH in healthcare facilities, and in gaining new supporters for WaterAid through her talks, collaborations and publications.

Congratulations to our winners – and a huge thank you to all our supporters around the world!