RIATT-ESA successfully co-convened the media awards prize giving ceremony as a side lunch event during the 3rd Specialized Technical Committee On Social Development, Labour And Employment (STC – SDLE) of the African Union on 1st April 2019.
The event which was attended by 310 delegates drawn from the African Union Member States provided an opportunity for amplifying the voice in support of the campaign on ending child marriage in Africa. Guest Speakers during the event were Dr Jane Ong’olo, Head of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission and Mrs Dephin Mpofu, RIATT-ESA Chairperson.
This event was a culmination of years of a campaign on ending child marriage in Africa working with the media. Preparations for this award started in 2018 when RIATT-ESA supported the planning and hosting of the African Union Commission and RIATT-ESA Media Award on Reporting Child Marriage in Africa. The award was open to independent journalists reporting on Child Marriage issues that have significantly contributed to the promotion of the principles espoused by the Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.
The primary objective of the Award is to promote reporting of child marriage issues; hence raising public awareness, understanding and galvanizing action against child marriage. The call received 53 entries from across Africa which were adjudicated by Media Monitoring Africa.
The top 2 winning journalists and their articles are:
Taiwo Alimi – from Nigeria whose article “Recession Babies” highlights the plight of teenage girls who leave school to go into early marriage in Nigeria; and
Kenneth Jali – from Malawi with an article “Ambiguous child age gives girls away to early marriages” brings to light challenges being faced by young girls forced into marriages amidst ambiguities on marriage age in the Malawi laws.
An accolade of US$2,000 was handed out to each one of the two winners during a lunch event hosted by RIATT-ESA.
During their award acceptance speeches, the two journalists said they felt highly honored to have come to the African Union and to be decorated at such an auspicious occasion where all the leaders of Africa were meeting. This was an indication that the fight against the vice is taken seriously across the continent. And on their part they pledged their unflinching commitment to the campaign and that they will continue to put the spotlight on all issues to do with child marriages.
Speaking earlier on, in her speech, the RIATT-ESA Chairperson emphasized the fact that the winning stories are a great example of a voice and effort that must be supported and amplified by everyone to get the message heard in every corner of the African continent that child marriage is both a violation of multiple rights and a failure to protect children. It is a form of violence against women and girls and leaves an enduring negative impact on its victims. It traps the girl child in a vicious cycle of poverty and trepidation.
For more information contact RIATT-ESA Programme Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org