I’m delighted to announce that Groupe de Reflexion et d’action, Femme Democratie et Developpment (GF2D), from Togo are the 2011 winners of the fourth annual ONE Africa Award.
The ONE Africa Award celebrates and bolsters innovative Africa-led, Africa-driven advocacy efforts to help advance one or more of the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s blueprint to fighting extreme poverty and disease. The goals specifically address critical issues to development, such as; halving extreme poverty; halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and malaria and providing universal primary education.
GF2D helps women in exercising their right to participate in decision making processes of their country.
One of GF2D’s tools is the use of paralegals who are trained in Togolese laws by GF2D and empowered to communicate messages to communities about women’s rights, engage in mediations related to marriage, inheritance and children, and offer referral assistance for issues that need to be handled in court. Many of their paralegals are everyday women – traders, seamstresses, mothers, whose lives have been changed because of their paralegal training and some of them have gone on to seek local political positions. These women and men have become well-respected members of their societies because of their knowledge of Togolese laws and their ability to convey the rights of women to their peers in simple messages. GF2D has been integral to the increase in the number of female political office holders in Togo today.
As winners of this year’s ONE Africa Award GF2D receive $100000 in prize money.
As the award was announcement here in Johansburg, Léontine, GF2D’s General Secretary said:
“We dedicate the 2011 ONE Award to all Togolese women whose bravery and dynamism are well known. We want to recognize the silent majority of those who suffer from violence, discrimination and low incomes gained from their hard efforts. The announcement of the award was greeted with a great joy at the “House of women” by all the members and staff of GF2D.
This award represents the recognition for over 20 years of efforts to realize a vision where: women know their rights and fully benefit from them:
- Togolese women, freed from the constraints and socio-cultural burdens imosed on them, contribute to the development of their society
- equal participation of men and women exists in the political, social and economic decision making processes
- a genuine partnership exists between men and women in the management of their families, public and private institutions
We receive this award as an encouragement to persevere in defending the cause of women. We thank ONE whose mission is to recognize, reward and support the important work of African civil society organizations towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “
The runners up of the award this year in no particular order include: Prévention Information et Lutte contre le Sida (PILS) – Mauritius, Africa Youth Trust (AYT) – Kenya, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) – Ghana and Sylva Food Solutions Limited (SFSL) – Zambia
Previous award winners include Nigeria’s Development Communications Network (Devcoms) and Kenya’s Slums Information Development and Resources Centres (SIDAREC) and SEND West Africa.
We are here today to celebrate Africa’s unsung heroes and to play our part on changing the stereotype narrative on Africa. We don’t deny that there are challenges that exist, but, we also need to highlight the successes, the determination and the ingenuous creativity of the African people despite these challenges.
I’m sure you will join me in congratulating GF2D and our runners ups, and thanking them for the amazing work they are doing across the continent. We wish them every success in the future!