“Isu Elihle”(Great Idea) Awards

Ubunifu wa habari zinazowahusu watoto

(Innovative thinking in news about children)

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 ZAR 100 000 towards innovative children’s reporting.

In a first of its kinds for our continent we are launching awards for media professionals that seek to encourage fresh reporting, innovative angles, insightful investigations and those that seek to give children a voice and elevates the status of the child in Eastern and Southern Africa.  Whether you are a seasoned journalist, a fresh young talent, photographer, editor, in print, digital, radio, TV or the web – we want your story ideas.  So get thinking!

All professional journalists based in the East and Southern Africa region  are invited to submit story ideas to be awarded cash prizes and with a focus on children’s issues to be considered for the inaugural Isu Elihle Awards. Isu Elihle is a phrase derived from isiZulu which means “Great idea”.

Extensive research conducted by MMA, MNCRD and SCI into the representation of children in the media[1] indicates that children are effectively marginalised and excluded from news media, thus offering little insight into the diverse and often complex issues facing children on the continent. Director of MMA William Bird says, “Children are also seldom seen as target audiences for news media. In addition, journalists often lack the necessary resources, both time and technical means, to conduct adequate research for stories.”

The Isu Elihle Awards therefore call on journalists to submit their best story ideas focused on issues affecting children as a response to improve the representation of children in the media. Director of MNCRD Henry Kabwe says, “Journalists are challenged to think innovatively and ethically around the representation and inclusion of children in the news in order to contribute to competitive, in-depth and high-quality coverage of children in the media.”

The top three ideas will be selected by a panel of judges and the journalists behind these will be supported by the awards to produce their stories. The top three finalists (to be announced in November 2016) will then be ranked and awarded cash prizes. Journalists are encouraged to explore any topic or issue involving children.

Competition Details

There are two stages to this competition:

First stage: Submission of story idea

Journalists submit their story ideas between: 05 October and CLOSING DATE 03 November 2016. These ideas will go through an adjudication process, undertaken by a panel of judges made up of children, an international child rights expert, representatives from the participating organisations and an independent news editor. Following the adjudication process, the top three finalists will be announced in November online and across social media platforms as well as mainstream media.

Second stage: Producing and publishing the full story

The top three journalists’ newsrooms will be given financial support to research and develop their concepts into publishable material, which will then be published (print or online) or broadcast, by a news media house of their choosing. Please note that freelance 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 three. The top three stories will undergo further adjudication and will be ranked according to first, second prizes and Overall winner. Finalists will be announced in November 2016.

The prizes include:

Winner Categories Newsroom Financial Support Journalist Cash Prize
Overall Winner ZAR 17 000 ZAR 25 000
Second  prize ZAR 17 000 ZAR 15 000
Third  prize ZAR 17 000 ZAR 10 000

*Please note that the amounts calculated above are in South African currency.

MMA will release more details in the following week.

For updates contact:

Media Monitoring Africa

+27 11 788 1278


Or e-mail:


[1]See research conducted by MMA, MNCRD and SCI as part of the Empowering Children & Media Programme