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A man stands for a portrait while wearing a mask.

January

A man stands for a portrait while wearing a mask.

COVID-19 continued to have a huge impact worldwide throughout 2021, yet Sightsavers and partners were able to support governments to deliver millions of treatments to combat neglected tropical diseases. Sightsavers director of NTDs Simon Bush said: “It is vital that our work continues in these challenging times. We need to make sure we support the most marginalised communities even when times are difficult.” Our NTD work during COVID-19

An elderly woman and a younger woman sit next to a man who holds a clipboard, in a hospital waiting area.

March

An elderly woman and a younger woman sit next to a man who holds a clipboard, in a hospital waiting area.

Sightsavers hosted an inclusive data event to share insights on how to collect data that includes everyone, regardless of age, sex, disability and other characteristics. The main themes were effective data disaggregation, ensuring that data is owned locally, and integrating data collection into existing roles and services. More about the event

A group of women sing, dance, and clap their hands.

April

The Gambia became the second country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate trachoma, ensuring millions of people will no longer have their sight threatened by the disease. Sightsavers has supported the government of The Gambia since 1986, when a survey found trachoma was the third leading cause of blindness in the country. How we helped to eliminate trachoma in The Gambia

Schoolgirls in Guinea smile and laugh together.

May

Schoolgirls in Guinea smile and laugh together.

Sightsavers called for girls with disabilities to be prioritised in education as part of the G7 Girls’ Education Declaration, which aims to get 40 million more girls into education in low and lower middle income countries by 2026. We called on world leaders to ensure that commitments are met to achieve these bold targets. Read the G7 story

Actress Sunetra Sarker smiling in front of a leafy green wall.

June

Actress and Sightsavers ambassador Sunetra Sarker (pictured) raised awareness about our work during an appeal that aired on BBC Radio 4. Sunetra spoke about the eye disease trachoma, which affects thousands of people like Zuwaira, whose story we shared during the appeal. About the appeal

A busy conference chamber at the United Nations.

June

A busy conference chamber at the United Nations.

At the 14th UN disability conference, Sightsavers delivered a video statement calling for disability rights to be upheld in the global pandemic response. In the statement, Sightsavers head of policy Hannah Loryman said: “Exclusion is still built into the systems that affect everyone’s ability to live a fulfilled and independent life, and this is made is even more severe in times of crisis.” Read our statement 

Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame speaking into a microphone.

July

Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Sightsavers’ advocacy adviser for social inclusion, received the World Blind Union Women’s Empowerment Award for her disability work. Presented at the World Blindness Summit, the award is given to blind or partially sighted women who have made an outstanding contribution to empower women. Read about Getty’s award

A man has his eyes checked for signs of trachoma.

July

A man has his eyes checked for signs of trachoma.

The world’s largest surveys into infectious disease reached an important milestone, with Sierra Leone becoming the 50th country to be surveyed for trachoma. The initiative, known as Tropical Data, has examined one person for trachoma every 26 seconds since it began in 2012. Read the news story

A photograph Rasak Adekoya taken in a Sightsavers office

August

Sightsavers’ Rasak Adekoya was named as a One Young World ambassador for his work tackling the inequalities faced by people with disabilities. Rasak is the programme officer for Inclusion Works in Nigeria, which addresses the barriers that prevent millions of people with disabilities from finding mainstream jobs. Read about Rasak’s award

A child drinks water from a cup during a drug administration session in Nigeria.

August

A child drinks water from a cup during a drug administration session in Nigeria.

Sightsavers’ largest neglected tropical disease programme, Ascend, closed early due to government funding cuts. During its two years, the programme made great progress in the fight to eliminate diseases such as trachoma and river blindness in West and Central Africa. More on Ascend

A group of smiling people hold signs that say Equal UN Mali.

September

After years of advocacy work through Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign, Mali passed a new law that protects the rights of people with disabilities, so they can claim their rights and access employment, education and social benefits equally. About Mali’s disability rights law

Two Sightsavers staff members in Cameroon, standing outside discussing their work.

September

Two Sightsavers staff members in Cameroon, standing outside discussing their work.

Sightsavers researcher Kareen Atekem (pictured) was recognised for her work on a new project to control and eliminate two neglected tropical diseases. Her project involves developing a new trap for flies that spread a parasitic disease which poses a major barrier to eliminating river blindness. More on Kareen’s award

A collage of images featuring men, women and children wearing glasses.

October

Sightsavers staff, partners and supporters around the world celebrated World Sight Day on 14 October, to help raise awareness of the importance of access to good eye care. Country offices ran free eye screening services and organised awareness events, while our supporters and partners shared key messages on social media. Read our highlights

A school student in a classroom is handed a tablet by a health worker, as other health workers and his classmates look on.

November

A school student in a classroom is handed a tablet by a health worker, as other health workers and his classmates look on.

For the sixth year in a row, charity evaluator GiveWell named Sightsavers as one of its top charities for our deworming programmes. These programmes treat children for schistosomiasis and intestinal worms: parasitic infections that can cause severe illness. Sightsavers and GiveWell

November

On 30 November, our generous supporters raised more than $90,000 during our Giving Tuesday appeal. Donations made on Giving Tuesday are matched and doubled so that individual gifts go twice as far, helping to protect and restore the sight of many more people. About the appeal

 

A person writes on a paper spreadsheet. Only their hand is visible.

November

A person writes on a paper spreadsheet. Only their hand is visible.

November also marked the end of the seven-year COUNTDOWN research programme, which focused on several neglected tropical diseases. It encouraged people to speak out about their illnesses and how they would like to be treated, enabling researchers to investigate cost-effective ways to control the diseases. Read the COUNTDOWN story

December

Sightsavers ended the year on a high by winning a prestigious Zero Project award for our accessibility audit pack. It includes guidance on how to carry out an audit of healthcare facilities, as well as recommendations on accessibility standards and examples of best practice. About the award

The Sightsavers accessibility pack box: a white and yellow box with handle, featuring the words 'Accessibility standards and audit pack, produced by Sightsavers'.

What else has Sightsavers achieved in the past year?

Read our news and blogs
Professor Christopher Whitty.
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News /

Sightsavers trustee Sir Chris Whitty knighted in New Year Honours

Sir Chris, who has been on the Sightsavers board since 2017, has been recognised for his role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 2022
A group of women sing, dance, and clap their hands.
sightsavers_news

Vote for Sightsavers in the 2021 Charity Film Awards

Two Sightsavers films that were created during the COVID-19 pandemic have been submitted for the awards, which celebrate and reward the best fundraising films. 

December 2021
The Sightsavers accessibility pack box: a white and yellow box with handle, featuring the words 'Accessibility standards and audit pack, produced by Sightsavers'.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers wins Zero Project award for accessibility audit pack

Sightsavers won the innovation award for its accessibility standards and audit toolkit, which helps improve healthcare facilities for people with disabilities.

December 2021