ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 22, 2020/ — Africa’s creative young women and girls are awarded for their art and impact amid COVID-19. The African Union through the Office of the AU Youth Envoy in collaboration with the Women, Gender and Development Directorate created AfricaYoungFeministblog “Sautiصوتي”, a first of its kind in the AU, as a platform to amplify young African women voices, feature their initiatives to address COVID-19 pandemic as well as empower and support young African women creative by showcasing their artworks and reinforce the linguistic diversity of Africa.
This project is in line with Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6 which calls for an Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth as well as Office of the Youth Envoy 2019/2020 Action under Innovation Model and AU strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
“The impact of COVID-19 on women and girls is multi-dimensional and, therefore, the responses have to be appropriate to meet the differential and multiple ways in which women may be affected. One of them is by amplifying the voices of young women on the African continent and the diaspora through Sauti صوتي publication and having their critical voices heard and responded to accordingly “MS. Lehau Victoria Maloka, Acting Director of Women, Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD).
The annual blog was launched during International Women’s Day 8 March 2020 followed by re-launch in May adjusting to COVID-19 outbreak, calling for young women from across Africa and the diaspora to share their stories, in writing, visual, audio and videos to further showcasing their innovation and impact in the community.
“COVID-19 is bringing to light the profound gender disparity in the various sectors, with an increase of Gender-Based Violence as a result of the lockdowns. Therefore, the agency and experiences of young African feminists must be amplified through the first-ever blog of the African Union; Sauti صوتي”, African Union Chairperson’s Special Envoy on Youth, Ms. Aya Chebbi.
Following submission from about 500 young women, a review committee vetted and selected 25 outstanding young women who will be featured on the African Union website and also on the Sauti صوتي publication which will be available online and distributed to AU member states. In addition to the aforementioned honors, each winner will be awarded $200USD cash prize. See list of winners. https://au.int/en/sauti-blog.
The Sauti صوتي project was made possible with the support of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and Forum for African Women Educationalists.