After months of visiting every corner of the country to capture what selfless individuals are doing to transform their communities, the MTN Heroes of Change Season Four comes to an end today at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
Ten individuals, who stories have touched the hearts of millions of television viewers, readers and listeners, will be celebrated but at the end of it all, only one will emerge as the ultimate Hero of Change while three others will be adjudged as category winners.
The ten heroes are Naomi Amoah, Linat Kundaribuo, Emmanuel Annobil, Ayisha Fuseini, Dr. Quincy Attipoe, Dr. Dzifa Dey, Rev. Sanatu Nangtoma, Serwah Quaynor, Prince Oduro Williams, and Josephine Agbo-Nettey.
The three-member judging panel: Albert Ocran, an international motivational speaker and author; Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, a Communications Consultant and Columnist; and Sydney Caseley-Hayford, a Business and Financial Analysts and Columnist, are tasked with declaring the winners.
Apart from the ten heroes will be celebrated, MTN has introduced a new category known as the Special Awards.
The Special Awards is an initiative under the MTN Heroes of Change, which seeks to honor individuals who use their position and influence to make a positive difference in the lives of others in their community. These include, musicians, actors, media-personalities (journalists and talk show hosts) and the like.
The nominees are:
Yvonne Okoro: she is an actress and founder of the Elizabethan Home. The Home operates across different sectors, providing necessary resources (constructing boreholes, clothing of street children, providing playgrounds etc) for the handicapped and neglected in society.
Seth Kwame Boateng: he is a journalist working for the Multimedia Group. He developed a documentary entitled “Next to Die” which focused on the deaths of 4 babies at the KomfoAnokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). His expose resulted in the construction of an ultramodern mother & baby unit at KATH.
Yvonne Nelson: she is an actress and founder of the Yvonne Nelson Glaucoma Foundation. This organization creates awareness on glaucoma. The organization mainly focuses on the vulnerable in society and those in poverty-stricken areas.
Joseph Opoku-Gakpo: he is a development journalist working for the Multimedia Group. He travels across Ghana and reports on stories about under developed communities and the plight of the under-privileged in society.
Okyeame Kwame: he is a musician, and founder of the Okyeame Kwame Foundation. The foundation seeks to sensitize the general public on the dangers of Hepatitis B. Each year, the organization performs screening and vaccinations for Ghanaians against the disease.
Under the umbrella of the MTN Ghana Foundation, the Heroes of Change project has come to define the celebration of heroic Ghanaians, whose efforts are making substantial contributions in their communities.
The reigning Hero of Change is Genevieve Basigha, a speech and hearing impaired lady and Founder of Research Utilisation School for the Deaf (RUSFORD) at Obuasi, in the Ashanti Region. Though she was not born with speech and hearing disability, she lost her ability to speak or hear at the age of eleven due to an accident.
With her disability, Genevieve Basigha refused to allow her impairment to be an obstacle to her life. Rather, she decided to make the lives of others like her worth living by starting a school for the deaf and dump in Obuasi.
She set up the RUSFORD to cater for children who are also deaf and dumb. Prior to her nomination for the MTN Heroes of Change, the project was self-financed and supported with a GH¢70 fee paid per term by parents of the children.
The 2017/18 season also introduced two new categories to reward media personalities, media houses, musicians, actors and sports personalities who run campaigns that benefit their community. Each winner of the newly-added categories would receive a plaque and a certificate, as well as monetary award that would be invested in a Corporate Social Responsibility of their choice.
The prize money of GH¢100,000 for the ultimate winner remains unchanged with category winners taking away GH¢30,000 each for the investment in their projects, whilst the rest of the six heroes would be given GH¢10,000 towards their projects.