fesmedia Africa has awarded three young Africans from Nigeria, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe as its Access to Information Competition winners.
Nigerian Austin Chinonye Ekwujuru, who is the chief executive of Basic Rights Watch came first, trade unionist and social activist Jonathan Sulemane from Mozambique came second, and Zimbabwean analytical chemist and trade unionist Nobuhle Nyamanza came in third place.
The competition drew entries from 13 different African countries.
Winners were announced on September 28, the International Day for Universal Access to Information, under the UNESCO theme “Saving Lives, Building Trust and Bringing Hope”.
Ekwujuru said access to information is crucial in building trust.
“Timely and unrestricted access to information will enable citizens participation in governance and it is key to development and fighting corruption at all levels of governance,” he said.
Nyamanza shared the same sentiments, and said access to information is a fundamental right and is a critical tool in holding elected officials accountable.
“The message that I want to send is that as Africans, especially women and youth, is we need to know what is right for us and what is due to us,” Nyamanza said.
A fesmedia statement said “there were so many unique videos” that the judges made special prizes. The extra categories were: Most Artistic Entry, Most Authentic Entry, Most Educational Entry, Most Engaging, Best Namibian Entry, and The One to Look Out For.
Ekwujuru said he was “humbled” by the recognition but said the award is a call for more work in advocating for social justice in Nigeria to be done.
“[This is] through the instrumentality of the access to information law and to entrench transparency and accountability in Nigerian public institutions through championing grassroots’ accountability campaigns,” he said.
Nyamanza said African governments take advantage of the “widespread lack of knowledge” in communities.
“I would like every one of us as the populace to realize the power that we have within us and to be able to fearlessly look for and demand access to information that guarantees a better future for Africa,” she said.
Watch all the awarded videos on the fesmedia Africa Facebook page.