Last night, in Glasgow, we awarded our prestigious Livingstone Medal to Mary’s Meals founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow OBE. Magnus was presented with the medal by RSGS Board Member Vanessa Collingridge, the citation was read by RSGS Chief Executive Mike Robinson. Magnus also gave a talk to those in attendance about his work and the achievements of Mary’s Meals.
Magnus was awarded the Livingstone Medal in recognition of his dedication to changing the lives of millions of children across the world “one meal at a time” through the work of Mary’s Meals. The Livingstone Medal, awarded for an outstanding contribution to humanitarian work with a clear geographical dimension, recognises Magnus’ work over the last 15 years to take Mary’s Meals from a simple idea to a major charity which feeds over one million school children in 12 countries around the world every day. Magnus was awarded his medal by RSGS Board Member, Vanessa Collingridge, at a special event held at Glasgow University on Wednesday night (16/11/16).
The RSGS Livingstone Medal, was endowed by RSGS co-founder Mrs Agnes Livingstone-Bruce in memory of her father Dr David Livingstone and was first awarded in 1901 to explorer Sir Harry H Johnston. Since 1901 the medal has only been awarded a further 66 times. The medal has an impressive heritage having been awarded to many world-leading figures from the past 120 years. Most recently the RSGS Livingstone Medal was awarded to Annie Lennox for her work to raise awareness of the HIV/Aids epidemic, and in her acceptance speech she herself mentioned her admiration for Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow. It is particularly fitting that the last two Livingstone Medallists, Annie and now Magnus, are being recognised for their work in the very country, in which Livingstone himself did most of his work, Malawi.
Speaking about the choice to award the Livingstone Medal to Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Mike Robinson RSGS Chief Executive said: “As Magnus himself has said: “every small act of kindness does make a difference” and what began as his small act of kindness has undoubtedly made a huge difference to many many lives. Magnus seems to embody the spirit of David Livingstone more than anyone I can think of.
“Aid is of course a complex and multi-faceted issue, and whilst it clearly requires a long term structural response, we should never lose sight of the need for simple basic humanity. The simplicity of Mary’s Meals I think underlines that beautifully, and Magnus’ humanity, is evident to everyone who meets him.”
Past Livingstone Medallist Annie Lennox OBE, said: “I cannot think of a more appropriate recipient of The Livingstone Medal than Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the CEO and founder of Mary’s Meals, a global hunger charity based in Scotland that provides a vital meal for 1,187,104 of the world’s poorest children every school day in 12 different countries around the world. This daily meal attracts children to the classroom, where they can gain a basic education to help access a more sustainable future and a way out of poverty. As a fellow Scot, I am so proud that exemplary individuals like Magnus are making such a significant contribution on a global scale. I’m sure the whole country will be inspired and applaud his tremendous achievement.”
Speaking about receiving the RSGS Livingstone Medal, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow OBE said: “When we began this work, we wanted to bring hope to people in desperate situations and help them to change their lives for the better. Now there is a global movement of people, all working towards the same goal – that every child receives one daily meal in their place of education.
“It’s wonderful for Mary’s Meals to receive this recognition through the presentation of the Livingstone Medal, and in turn I’d like to recognise the many wonderful people who contribute to this work, giving their skills, time, donation and prayers to allow us to continue reaching out to the next hungry child.”