Isu Elihle Awards 2023: South African based media watchdog, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), in partnership with Media Network on Child Rights and Development (MNCRD) in Zambia, and Save the Children International (SCI) are investing towards innovative children’s reporting through the Isu Elihle Awards.
Application Deadline: 15th June 2023.
Eligible countries: The Competition is open to professional journalists, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa. This pertains to the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
About the Isu Elihle Awards: Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) launches its 7th edition of the Isu Elihle Awards Competition – an African ground breaking initiative that promotes and supports ethical, engaging and quality reporting on children’s issues. The phrase, Isu Elihle is isiZulu for “great idea”. As the name suggests is an awards competition that challenges journalists to submit high quality child-focused story ideas that are innovative, places children’s issues at the centre, involves children’s voices when it is in their best interest, and holds the powerful to account.
The competition aims to empower and equip journalists through mentorship, sharing of resources and providing financial support to help them to develop and publish their stories in any mainstream news media platform of their choice. This encourages journalists to challenge how they see children engage with the issues that affect them. This results in a remarkable journey of growth evident in the initial story idea, all the way to the final published story.
A former winner, Jamaine Krige shares her experience, “these awards changed my perspective, l stopped reporting about children and l started cooperating them in my reporting.”
The awards also continues to honor the legacy of Mandy Rossouw through the Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category, which is awarded to the journalist (if so determined) who made the best attempt at holding the powerful to account on issues specifically related to children.
This year’s Isu Elihle awards come at a crucial time, when the explosion of AI is making it easier to spread mis and disinformation, where media houses across the continent continue to struggle for sustainability and where levels of trust in media continue to decline. Journalists can use the Isu Elihle Awards not not just to provide excellent story ideas about children but then go on to hold powerful people accountable and through excellent quality journalism help build trust in the media.
- The Isu Elihle Awards is open to professional journalists, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa.
- No entry fee is payable.
- Employees and the immediate families of Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) are not eligible to participate in the competition.
- The Competition is held in English. Therefore all entries and story ideas should be in English.
- Applicants are strictly limited to a maximum of one entry; however, each media house can have as many applicants as it wishes.
- Late, incomplete, illegible and/or fraudulent entries will be disqualified.
- MMA reserves the right to refuse entries that do not comply with the above rules. No correspondence will be entered into in this regard.
- A panel of distinguished, independent judges with appropriate knowledge and experience of children and the media will judge the competition. MMA will determine the panel of judges at their sole discretion. Children will also be part of the judging panel
- The judges reserve the right to transfer entries for consideration in other categories at their discretion, for instance, the Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category.
- The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- The top six journalists selected by the panel of judges will be taken to the final story-writing round of the competition. MMA will provide financial support to enable the journalists to write and complete their stories in the timeline. All finalists will be individually responsible and accountable to MMA for their costs. The journalist is also required to provide MMA with invoices and other supporting documents for all expenditures related to the production of the story. Any irregular expenditure will lead to the finalist being disqualified and being held liable for the amount
- Should MMA require the top six finalists to travel as part of the Awards or related activities, sufficient notice will be given, however, each finalist will be required to arrange for their visas and any other documentation required for travel. MMA will cover for travel and accommodation costs.
- Finalists will be expected to be available for the duration of the programme and participate fully in the calendar of events that are expected to take place on those dates as indicated under the Isu Elihle Awards Timeline.
- Journalists must acknowledge that this is only competition and the awarding of any prize does not give rise to an employment agency or joint venture relationship or arrangement between journalists and MMA.
- The top six finalists should send a written confirmation from mainstream media acknowledging that they will be publishing their story otherwise, the journalist may be disqualified. MMA must be acknowledged in the published story i.e (This reporting was supported by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) as part of the Isu Elihle Awards.
- Individuals and media houses enter this competition at their own risk. MMA and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any injury or accidents, fatalities or damage incurred while participating in this competition.
- By submitting your entry, you confirm that you have read and agree with these rules and agree that should you be in breach of the terms, you may be disqualified from the competition.
- Journalists must submit new story ideas and not ones that have been previously published
- Journalists are encouraged to submit high-standard work.
Criteria for judging Isu Elihle Award entries: Please note that both the story idea and the published story will be judged according to the criteria below.
- The focus on or extensive voice given to children or an issue that impacts children. Children are defined as any persons between the ages of 0-17.
- Consideration for the best interests of children and the ethical manner in which children are treated and given a voice in the story (Ethical Guidelines). Journalists must adhere to ethical practices and principles in the planning and execution of the story as MMA will not tolerate the violation of children’s rights in any shape or form.
- Fresh, innovative, and different perspective to children’s issues and/or investigative angle undertaken to report on issue.
- Must be able to complete the story in the period allowed.
- Clarity of the issue and extent to which story engages and captures audiences. The story could be about an area that is not commonly given a children’s angle such as the economy or economic impact on children, land issues, investment or an existing news story and giving it a children’s focus.
- Stories need to highlight possible solutions to the problem or issues that children face.
- Extent to which story challenges common negative stereotypes about the roles of children in society, especially within the gender debate.
- The story should also explore relevant legislation of policy issues related to the issue being explored.
5. The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category
The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability prize will be awarded once all stories have been published during the second round of adjudication. This Prize will be awarded to the journalist (if so determined) who made the best attempt at holding the powerful to account on issues related to children.
Stages of the Competition:
First Stage: Submission of the story idea
- Journalists submit their story ideas before or on the deadline indicated below. These ideas will go through an adjudication process, undertaken by a panel of judges made up of children, child rights experts and an independent media practitioner. Following the adjudication process, the top six finalists will be announced online and across social media platforms as well on mainstream media.
Second Stage: Producing and publishing the full story
- The top six journalists will be given financial support of R10 000 to research and develop their concepts into publishable material, which will then be published or broadcast, by a mainstream news media house of their choosing. Please note that individual journalists must take sole responsibility to approach a media house and form an agreement to publish/broadcast with the media house in question should their story idea be selected as part of the top six.
- The top six stories will undergo adjudication and only the top three are guaranteed to win a cash prize. The fourth cash prize for The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category is conditional. It will only be awarded if there is a story (in the top six) that meets the criteria for the category. The amount of money to be awarded for the Mandy Rossouw prize will be determined on the quality of the story published.
Number of Awards: 4
Value of Award:
|Winner Categories||Cash prize|
|Overall winner||R25 000|
|First runner up||R15 000|
|Second runner up||R10 000|
|Mandy Rossouw Category||Between R10 000 and R25 000|
*Please note that it is possible for one of the top 3 winners to be selected as the winner of the Mandy Rossouw Category. In this case they would take two cash prizes. It is also possible that the MRC will go to one of the other finalists not in the Top 3.
How to Apply:
- The Competition is open to professional journalists, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa.This pertains to the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- Please find competition rules here and entry form for here.
- It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.