On Monday, 8 November 2016, South African based media watchdog, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), in partnership with Media Network on Child Rights and Development (MNCRD) in Zambia, and Save the Children International (SCI) launched the inaugural Isu Elihle Awards at Google South Africa in Byranston, Johannesburg.
The awards have invested ZAR100 000 into child-centred journalism and seek to encourage fresh reporting, innovative angles and insightful investigations that seek to give children a voice and elevate the status of the child in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Speaking at the launch, Joe Thloloe, Director in the Press Council of South Arica, explained, “Isu Elihle is isiZulu and could be translated into English as a beautiful, great or simply a neat solution.” He added how the awards, “…couldn’t have been conceived at a better time than this when the young are again asserting themselves through uprisings like #FeesMustFall and others…These awards also strike at many other stereotypes and seeks to ignite a revolution in its own right.”
The top three finalists who submitted their story ideas between 5 October to 3 November and who were selected amongst an impressive 48 entries by a panel of adjudicators were announced during the ceremony. They are:
Abdallah Bakari Nassoro (Tanzania)
The Guardian Correspondent
Topic: Domestic work and child violence in Tanzania
Judith Atim (Uganda)
The Monitor News Anchor/Reporter
Topic: Access to justice by children in conflict with the law in Uganda
Louise Ferreira (South Africa)
Topic: Sex education in schools “What children don’t know will hurt them”
Each finalist will receive a sum of ZAR 17 000 in financial support to develop their ideas into publishable material. Their published stories will then be ranked and each stands a chance to win: ZAR 25 000 (Overall Winner), ZAR 15 000 (Second place) and ZAR 10 000 (Third place). The rankings will be announced early next year once all the journalists have completed their stories.
Farida Bascha of Save the Children Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa, who joined the ceremony together with the finalists from East Africa in dual celebrations in Nairobi via Google Hangouts, congratulated the finalists, “We look forward to collaborating with you on your stories which we know will go a long in advancing the rights of child.”
MMA Isu Elihle Coordinator, George Kalu said, “We have been so encouraged by the imaginative response and quality of entries submitted that we are looking to see how we can support some of the other highly commended entries.” William Bird, Director at MMA added, “We will contact those journalists shortly as we must use this opportunity to ensure that we can expand the impact of the awards to reflect on the various issues affecting children on the continent, these awards encourage and inspire, and we are thrilled to have launched them”.