Lahti, Finland (dpa) – Angela Merkel on Tuesday picked a non-profit organization that supports women’s rights in Niger as the recipient of a 150,000-euro (186,000-dollar) donation.
Merkel, as the winner of an inaugural new gender equality prize sponsored by Finland, was allowed to pick which cause to donate the award. She chose SOS Women and Children Victims of Domestic Violence.
It’s “one of these beacons of hope for women and girls affected by violence,” Merkel said in a video message shown at the award ceremony in the Finnish city of Tampere.
“This international prize draws attention to the need to promote equality across the globe,” she added.
Merkel was named winner of the International Gender Equality Prize in December. Finland set the award up last year in order to enhance gender equality and celebrate its 100-year independence anniversary.
Accepting the prize sum in Tampere on behalf of the group she founded in 1998, Mariama Moussa noted that Niger rated poorly in terms of gender equality and domestic violence.
The money was to be used to build a residential shelter for victims of gender-based violence in the West African country, she said.
Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said in his remarks that “gender equality is one of the core values of Finnish society.”
The prize money is funded by the country’s development aid budget and the city of Tampere. The winner does not get to keep the prize money but instead selects a cause that they would like it to be given to.