The AidEx Humanitarian Hero of the Year Award aims to recognise and celebrate stand-out individuals from the humanitarian aid and development community and showcases the courageous work and dedication that they put into their line of work.

Do you know a Humanitarian Hero?
This award is open to anyone involved in the aid and development community including those who are community volunteers, or who may work for suppliers, NGOs, governments and elsewhere. We particularly invite nominations of those from marginalised groups. The winner will be awarded during the AidEx LIVE award ceremony (date and time to be confirmed). Entry is now closed. 


Previous winners of the Humanitarian Hero Award...

2019 - Jess Markt, diversity inclusion & sports advisor at ICRC

Jess works for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the United States as a Diversity, Inclusion and Sports Advisor. Jess has been changing lives by coaching wheelchair basketball in war zones and is notable for his establishment of the first women’s national basketball team in Afghanistan. He continues to transform lives with the development of wheelchair basketball leagues in the world’s most challenging contexts.

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2017 - Dr. Michael Kühnel, Doctor at Austrian Red Cross

Michael Kühnel is a medical doctor who has volunteered for the Austrian Red Cross as a disaster relief assistant for almost two decades. He was in Indonesia after the tsunami in 2005, Haiti in 2011, and was the only Austrian doctor working in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.





2016 - Dr. Cynthia Maung, Doctor and Founder of the Mae Tao Clinic

Medical doctor Cynthia Maung has dedicated three decades of her life to helping provide healthcare, education and human rights to poor people of minority ethnic groups. After the pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma in 1988, Dr. Muang fled Karen State where she was born, and opened a clinic across a Thai-Burma border in a dilapidated on the outskirts of Mae Sot. Starting as makeshift clinic with limited supplies and almost no money, her clinic now treats over 75,000 patients a year.



2015 - Sean Casey, Regional Director of International Medical Corps

Sean Casey was the first person deployed by International Medical Corps to respond to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Since August 2014, under Casey’s leadership, International Medical Corps has cared for nearly 2,500 patients in its Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) in Liberia and Sierra Leone, trained thousands of front-line Ebola responders, screened hundreds of thousands of individuals through its SRUs in the three most-affected countries, and provided ongoing support to hundreds of Ebola survivors.



2014 – Christian and Marie-France des Pallières, Founders of Pour un sourire d’enfant

Cambodian-based Pour un sourire d’enfant started when Christian and Marie-France visited Stung Meanchey landfill site in Phnom-Penh when on mission with an NGO. They were shocked by the conditions in which they found a group of children living there.  Upon their return to France, they spoke to their family and friends of the horrors that they had witnessed and so they decided to found the NGO in a bid to improve the education and wellbeing of these children.



2013 – Dr Jumana Odeh, Founder of Palestinian Happy Child Centre

Jumana Odeh set up the Happy Child Centre in Palestine to help promote the welfare and wellbeing of children with special needs in Palestine. Special needs is still an issue which is considered as a taboo subject in the Arab world. The model applied by Dr Odeh includes a training element for the children’s parents, teaching them how to care for their children. This is particularly relevant for this region of the world given that reaching a medical centre is often challenging in itself.



2012 – Dr Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of the Kenyan Red Cross

Dr Gullet began his work in the humanitarian field when he volunteered in the first aid youth service. That was just the beginning of his dedication towards helping others. Since then, he has helped to build the Kenyan Red Cross into the leading humanitarian organisation in the country, but has also gained recognition much further afield. The Kenyan Red Cross is even considered as one of the best performing National Red Cross Societies globally.



2011 – Janina Ochojska, Founder of Polish Humanitarian Action

Following some time volunteering in France, Janina felt a desire to bring humanitarian activity to her home country and inspire Polish people to care for those in need. Polish Humanitarian Action was born during the onset of the Bosnian War, in 1992. The small NGO was initially run out of a room in a private apartment, just several years after the fall of communism in Poland. From these small beginnings, PHA is now based all over the world, having helped with relief efforts in Haiti, Ukraine, The Philippines, Nepal and Syria.