BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
LOCAL filmmaker and digital storyteller Kudzai Tinago has scooped a global award at the Global Youth Neglected Tropical Diseases Festival: Power of Storytelling Competition that featured 39 countries from all over the world.
Tinago came second under the video category with his production titled Mass Drug Administration at the competition launched by Uniting to Combat NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases) in December last year, and sponsored to the tune of US$25 000.
The competition encourages young people to share their experiences about NTDs which affects over 1,7 billion people globally, of which a billion are below the age of 15.
The competition was divided into five categories namely digital, music, video, audio and text. It received over 400 entries from the 39 countries that included Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Rwanda and Pakistan.
Its panel of judges included veterans from countries such as Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom and Costa Rica.
In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Tinago said filming had always been his passion with the goal being to serve humanity using film and photography.
“I entered this competition because of the effects of neglected tropical diseases I have seen in my community and feel children deserve a future free from neglected tropical diseases,” he said.
“I will continue producing content to promote awareness, and inspire more people to join the fight against NTDs. It matters to me because the fight will enable many children to have a better future, free from NTD-related illnesses and disabilities.”
Tinago said there was need to fund and support the health services and enact policies and strategies that will ensure that NTDs are eradicated.
He has also produced music videos for locals such as Firm Faith Music and Ishan in 2019, was awarded the Best Short Film by The United Nations Population Fund, titled Speak Out.
In a statement, Uniting to Combat NTDs executive director Thoko Elphick-Pooley said the winners showcased the cultural and geographic diversity with finalists from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon.
“The youth storytelling competition is a drumbeat to the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June and will help galvanise global support for NTDs which will culminate into tangible commitments from countries that will be involved,” she said.
“Young people have a vital role to play in ensuring the next generation is free of neglected tropical diseases and the Power of Storytelling Competition showed us how passionately they feel about making this a reality.”
She added: “By sharing their stories and creativity, they have declared it’s time to end neglected tropical diseases and we are humbled to have been able to give them the opportunity and a platform to share this creativity publicly.”
“A child may contract an NTD at an early age, but the effects of that disease, including disabilities, stunting, disfigurement and stigma, could last a lifetime. But that doesn’t have to be the case. NTDs are preventable and/or treatable,” she said.
The competition was jointly organised by Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, African Union, Channels TV, Commonwealth Youth Health Network, International Youth Federation, MPJ Youth, TIBA, National Institute of Health Research, ASMTH, and 1millionX2021.
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