Big Brother Africa star and ONE Campaign’s BBA Video Competition winner, Melvin Oduah travelled to South Africa on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty to officially present his winning video to the African Union. In this guest post he reflects on the motive behind his message.
ONE Africa Director Dr. Sipho Moyo presents Melvin with a gold disc of his video message, with Mwanja Ng’anjo from NEPAD and ONE Africa Deputy Director Nachilala Nkombo.
Hey, what’s up people! I’m very proud to be the winner of the ONE Campaign Big Brother Video Competition.
On a serious note, when I entered Big Brother, I did so to win the competition. $300,000 is a lot of cash. And I came close but, unfortunately, Dillish beat me to it.
However, I will forever cherish my experience in the House. Because of Big Brother I am known by a lot of people in Africa and that has given me wings to pursue and realize the dreams I had prior to entering the show. But the most thrilling part of the experience for me was being able to participate in the Charity Week activities.
Melvin speaking at the BBA Video Competition award ceremony.
We were all required to undertake activities to educate the viewers about pressing challenges facing Africa, and highlight possible solutions. I was touched by this because I grew up in an environment where the communities face a lot of socio-economic challenges daily. While poverty is, itself, a big problem in Nigeria as in other African countries, energy poverty is probably one of the biggest challenges we face in my country.
In Africa, energy poverty affects 7 out of every 10 citizens. And that is not cool. This severely hampers lifesaving hospital services including refrigeration of medicine and vaccines, job and educational opportunities, agricultural production as well as the safety and security of women and girls. That is why energy poverty is one of the pressing issues against which ONE is campaigning, in the fight to end extreme poverty in Africa.
When we entered the House, Big Brother told us that we had an opportunity to reach out to millions of people with positive messages. So I seized the opportunity and used the ONE Campaign Video Competition to call the AU’s attention to energy poverty. My hope was and still remains that our leaders would be moved to step up their efforts to combat the problem and, in so doing, improve the lives of ordinary Africans.
A total of 82,474 Big Brother Africa viewers participated in the voting process. There were 8 videos to vote for, and 51% of voters chose mine making me a winner. This, I believe, is a reflection of the importance that ordinary Africans attach to the issue of energy poverty. I hope that our leaders take this into consideration and do something about it.
Shortly after being named as the winner in Johannesburg last week, I had a Q&A twitter session with my fans and followers to discuss issues related to poverty and the engagement was overwhelming.
ONE Africa’s Sydney with Melvin and BBA housemate Koketso, ONE’s Nde, and housemate LK-Four.
We need to keep the discussion going, and lend our voices to the fight against poverty in general and energy poverty in particular. I presented my winning video to a representative from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and I think the challenge ahead for me is to keep working to ensure that our voices are heard and results are born.
Big up to MNET for the platform I have been given through Big Brother Africa and also to the ONE Campaign for creating this opportunity. Big up to my fans for all the support and the votes. To my fellow Big Brother housemates, Angelo, LK-Four and Koketso who came to support me in Johannesburg as I accepted the award as well as others like Dillish who tweeted their best wishes, I say peace!
Sure, I may not have won 300,000 bucks, but winning this video competition gives me a new sense of purpose and fulfilment – I now know that I can use my position to influence people and our leaders to seek the positive change that we need. To me, that is worth more than money.
And with it, I have joined a task more challenging than Big Brother: to help step up the fight against poverty.
Keep up with more stories like this on ONE’s Africa blog.