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AFRICA PRIZE TARGETS HUNGER

By David C. Walters / July 10, 1992



BOSTON

This year's winners of the Africa Prize, Graca Machel of Mozambique and Ebrahim Samba of Gambia, were announced yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Each has contributed to the goal of eliminating hunger on the continent by the year 2000, said a spokesman for the New York-based Hunger Project.

Mrs. Machel, who was married to Mozambique's late President Samora Machel, has spent decades crusading for education and children's rights in her war-torn country.

During her tenure as education minister from 1975 until 1989, primary- and secondary-school enrollment rose from 40 percent to more than 90 percent for boys and 75 percent for girls. This progress was made despite the destruction of 2,650 primary schools by the rebels of the right-wing Mozambique National Resistance Movement. In the nation's 17-year civil war, more than 750,000 children have been killed and 250,000 orphaned.

Machel, president of the National Organization of Children of Mozambique, has worked to place orphans in families and taught reconciliation in an environment destabilized by terrorist attacks. She will split the $100,000 prize with Dr. Samba of Gambia.

Samba runs the Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP), an 18-year drive to eliminate the black fly which is linked to the spread of disease. Samba, who has managed OCP since 1980, has eased conflicts that have arisen in the program that operates in 11 nations.

By spraying insecticide along rivers that are black-fly breeding grounds, the OCP is helping to repopulate previously uninhabitable river valleys. The World Bank estimates that the 62 million acres of recovered arable land can feed as many as 17 million people.

Previous prize recipients include Prof. Wangari Maathai of Kenya and presidents Quett Masire of Botswana, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Abdou Diouf of Senegal. All are still in office.