Female Winners of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 Media Awards

Every year during the annual African Women in Media (AWiM) conference, five female journalists are given the opportunity to pitch their story ideas according certain categories fixed by the African Union. The African Union is a continental organization comprising 55 African countries.

The pitch for the categories include: (i) Africa’s Digital transformation Strategy – Positioning Africa for the 4th Industrial Revolution (related to Agenda 2063 Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa) and (ii) Rebranding Africa – Changing Narratives and perceptions (related to Agenda 2063, Aspiration 7).

The female journalists selected as the finalists were announced on the 9th December at the African Women in Media (AWiM)  conference held in Fes, Morocco. They show case their motivation and creativity, and winners are awarded cash grants of $3000 each, to support the production of in depth and evidence based stories that reflect the progress and impact of the implementation of Agenda 2063 on the continent, under each thematic area. The stories are produced in, at least, two languages of the African Union.

Meet the Winners- Agenda 2063 Pitch Zone Awards 2022.

Ms. Marie-Therese Nanlong (Nigeria) was selected the winner in the category on the AU Theme of the Year 2022 – The Year of Nutrition “Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent: Strengthening agro-food systems, health and social protection systems for the acceleration of human, social and economic capital development.” 

Ms. Nanlong’s series of stories will delve into how to scale actions that address the challenges of food scarcity, malnutrition and how regional and continental trade offers exponential potential for the continent to meet the food demands of every African citizen.

Ms. Elizabeth Angira (Kenya) won in the category on Promoting efforts towards the Economic and Financial Inclusion of African Women (Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6, AU Gender Equality and women’s Empowerment Strategy (GEWE); the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), and the AU Constitutive Act.

Ms. Angira’s series of stories will advocate for the rights of women, and breaking the culture of harmful practices that continues to hamper the full realization of those rights. She will also interrogate the implementation of policies and laws that safeguard those rights.

Ms. Melody Chikono (Zimbabwe) was selected the winner in the category on Promoting the Rights of Children in Africa (Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children). Ms. Chikono’s series of stories will amplify the voices of children in advocating for their rights. The series will also show the significance of promoting the rights of children for the continent to prepare its future, from which it can harness the demographic dividend.

The African Union through the Information and Communication Directorate has been supporting the media in various initiatives such as promulgating policies that protect access to information, safety and welfare of journalists; and with capacity building initiatives to ensure the African narrative and stories are told correctly by the continent’s own people, and in their own words. This is line with the African Union’s vision of African development that is driven by African people.

While announcing the winners on behalf of Ms. Leslie Richer, African Union’s Director of Information and Communication, Wynne Musabayana, Head of Communication, restated the commitment of the African Union that is driven by the desire to ensure that the media engage with Africa’s development from a position of knowledge about the different key issues. 

She explained, “with the funding received, each winner will have sufficient means to produce relevant, evidence based and timely content in their chosen format: content that digs deep into the issues to answer the famous five W’s and one H of journalism.”

It has long been proven that information is key to development. It allows citizens to make informed decisions, share experiences and learn lessons from each other. Journalists, being the intermediary that provides information both ways between institutions and their publics, are therefore key stakeholders in the development process. 

She concluded, “we are encouraged by the presence of so many professional women journalists who are determined to make their mark in telling the many stories of success, challenges, and mitigation measures, as well as the concrete plans for a brighter future, that are made by our heads of state and government and other policy and decision makers, with the participation of the African public.”

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, Co-founder & CEO, African Women in Media, restated the vision of the Pitch Zone since its inception in 2017 as a platform to create opportunities for women journalists to produce the kind of stories that will give them the level of visibility they need for their career development. 

“Our partnership with the African Union since 2019 in achieving this means that the winners get continental exposure and are at the same time contributing to the broader objective of changing the narrative of Africa. Our research shows that allocation of resources and roles in newsrooms are often gendered, and we hope the Pitch Zone Awards continues to do its part in bridging this gap,” she said.

The African Union aims at accelerating the process of integration in order to play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems inside Africa. In order to ensure the realization of its objectives, it has been collaborating within the strategic framework of its Agenda 2063.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.