People heading effective anti-poverty organizations are nominated by the country offices of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) as outstanding contributors to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UNDP said. The MDGs, taken together, are designed to halve extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.This year’s three winners focusing on HIV/AIDS are Founding Executive Director Helen Ditsebe-Mhone of the Coping Centre for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana; Founding Executive Director Jimmy Bhojedat of Guyana’s Lifeline Counselling Services and founder Achmad Ramadhan of Indonesia’s Centre for Information and HIV/AIDS Counselling, according to UNDP.The other two winners, serving in economic areas, are Bulgarian Economy Minister Lydia Shouleva and the new Jordanian Minister of State and government spokesperson Asma Khader, who founded Jordan’s National Network for Poverty Alleviation.Since 1993, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been 17 October and since 1997 the award ceremony has taken place close to that date to increase public awareness of poverty eradication activities.Ms. Ditsebe-Mhone left the management of one of Botswana’s leading hotels when she tested HIV-positive, went public about her diagnosis and founded the Coping Centre to battle the stigma attached to the disease. The centre also provides services to many others who are affected, the agency said.Mr. Bhojedat expanded his organization, which at the outset served 70 people living with HIV/AIDS, to one now serving 40,000 people. He also supervises 150 counsellors and 1,000 educators, including 190 youth-peers, UNDP said.Mr. Ramadhan, an Islamic preacher, challenged cultural traditions by speaking publicly about HIV/AIDS in a community that considered the topic taboo. His centre now works with 50 Islamic organizations to raise awareness about the disease and to mobilize volunteers in the effort to teach prevention. “He has directly helped more than 10,000 people and indirectly reached more than 100,000,” UNDP said.Lawyer, writer and human rights activist Ms. Khader, before her appointment this week as a minister of state, had linked representatives of ministries, national commissions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as individual activists, into a productive network combating poverty, UNDP said.Minister Shouleva created a programme, From Social Assistance to Employment, that has found public works jobs for 80,000 previously unemployed Bulgarians. The programme includes literacy classes and vocational training and gives tax breaks to corporations investing in low-income regions, UNDP said.She also incorporated the MDGs into her country’s first comprehensive National Strategy for Poverty Eradication and Social Inclusion, it said.