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AMH’s Melody Chikono wins AU grant

Melody Chikono (center),Wynne Musabayana (right) and Yemisi Akinbobola (left)

ALPHA Media Holdings Journalist, Melody Chikono’s pitch on promoting the Rights of Children was judged the winner of a US$3000 grant at the African Union Zones Awards announced at the African Women in Media (AWIM) 6th annual conference held in Fes, Morocco last week.

The grant falls under the African Union’s Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6 (African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children).

Chikono proposed to write a series of stories amplifying the voices of children and advocating for their rights. She will also have to show how promoting the rights of children can help the continent to harness its youthful demographic dividend.

Announcing the winners on behalf of Leslie Richer, the AU Director of Information and Communication, Wynne Musabayana who is the AU Head of Communication,restated the commitment of the African Union to ensure that the media engage with Africa’s development from a position of knowledge about key issues.

“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). Chikono’s series of stories will amplify the voices of children in advocating for their rights,” Musabayana said.

“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.

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.”

Chikono was nominated alongside Marie-Therese Nanlongn of Nigeria, who was selected who was 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.

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.

AWIM, Co-founder and CEO, Yemisi Akinbobola, restated the vision of the Pitch Zone as a platform to create opportunities for women journalists to produce the kind of stories that will give them the level of visibility seen as essential 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 AU, through its Information and Communication Directorate, has been supporting the media in various initiatives such as 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 its vision of African development that is driven by African people.

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