The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Director of Social Justice and Regional Engagement Jaki Adams has been recognised for her commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s eye care and health equity.  

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) awarded Jaki the 2023 Outstanding Contribution to the Sector Award for her more than 25 years of service.

She was selected for championing health equity, supporting strategic eye care relationships in Australia and across the Pacific, helping drive the agenda of the Allies for Uluru Coalition and elevating the voices of First Nations people.

“Thank you to those deadly people who nominated me, ACFID and the sector for the acknowledgement and support. I appreciate it so much,” Jaki said.

“I don’t do what I do for any accolades, but to be acknowledged in this way is special.”

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Board Member Michael Johnson and Jaki’s daughter Serena who accepted the award on her mother's behalf.

Born and raised in Darwin (Larrakia Nation), Jaki has ancestral links to the Yadhaigana and Wuthathi people of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, traditional family ties with the Gurindji people of Central Western Northern Territory and extended family relationships with the people of the Torres Straits and Warlpiri (NT).

She has worked for The Foundation since 2012 and has extensive experience in both government and international development sectors.

The Foundation’s CEO Ian Wishart congratulated Jaki on the award and commended her unwavering commitment to elevating the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“This is incredibly well-deserved recognition for Jaki’s tireless and enthusiastic advocacy for First Nations people in both the domestic and international development sectors over the past 25 years,” Mr Wishart said.

“Jaki has led the way in championing health equity in Australia and overseas, and her leadership in growing the Allies for Uluru Coalition has been outstanding.”

The Allies for Uluru Coalition is a network of more than 275 organisations supporting the implementation of the Uluru Statement From the Heart in full.

While Jaki said receiving the award felt “bittersweet” after the Referendum outcome, she reinforced her drive to elevate the voices of First Nations people.

“To our Allies who continue to stand up and support us, I ask that you continue to do so with unwavering love, commitment, and determination,” Jaki said.

“We are a strong and resilient people who come from a place of love and hope, and we will continue to use our Voice and assert our sovereignty and self-determination.”

ACFID’s Outstanding Contribution to the Sector Award is presented once a year to an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian aid and development NGO sector over an extended period of time.

It also acknowledges those who have made a substantial contribution to the whole sector, above and beyond their own organisation. 

Cover photo credit: The Fred Hollows Foundation