A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation, ONE in Africa, recently honoured two Zimbabweans with hampers for being among the finalists in a Girls Count essay writing competition that attracted nearly 5 000 participants from Africa and the diaspora.
BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
Independent researcher, Mollin Mandaza (31) and Rumbidzo Gunduzo (21) were among the top 10 finalists after the judges approved their 500-word essays, in which they shared ideas on how African leaders should harness the girl child’s power to shape the future.
Mandaza advocated for an increase in enrolment of females for the science, technology, engineering and Maths (Stem) education, in response to the African Union’s statement last year that there was not enough engagement with the youth in decision-making.
Nigeria’s Nyeneokpon Ekanem was declared the overall winner after writing an essay titled Connecting The Unconnected, which attracted 19 000 votes as people voted online.
Other finalists were from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia.
Mandaza said she was excited by her victory and amazed by the responses her piece elicited.
“l was really excited and astounded by the number of people who reacted to my idea when ONE Africa shared it on its Facebook Page. A girl’s place is in the classroom and education is the key that will unlock their potential so give them the power and choice to determine their own destiny,” she said
Gunduza said the competition opened a platform for her to be heard.
“The competition opened me a platform where I was able to express my ideas about a subject that more of a calling,” she said.
ONE in Africa campaign manager, Gwadamirai Majange, said participants shared the challenges they face and proposals on how the girl child should be empowered.
“They told us all the things that are wrong in their countries but also laid down what they believe was the biggest idea to ensure that girls will get a fighting chance in life. After short listing and in consultation with some stakeholders, we took the finalists to a vote because we believed that Africans deserved to have a say on the final winner,” she said.
Majange said, in addition to the hampers, the two were going to be features on the organisation’s website and be its ambassadors.