Last week, I was pleased to announce Melvin Oduah as the winner of ONE Campaign’s Big Brother Africa video competition. This week, I am even more pleased by the African Union’s quick reaction to Melvin’s message.
Melvin recorded this video message calling on the African Union AU to step up its efforts to fight energy poverty. Energy poverty affects 70% of the 589 million citizens in sub-Saharan Africa. This severely hampers life-saving hospital services, job and educational opportunities, agricultural production as well the safety and security of women and girls.
This was part of a video competition organised by ONE in collaboration with MNET to mark charity week. BBA housemates recorded short video messages calling on the AU to do more to address problems facing Africa. Viewers then voted on the best video using Big Brother Africa’s online platform.
Melvin presented his winning video to a representative of AU/NEPAD at a press function held in Johannesburg last week, on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. On that occasion, ONE noted that 42, 170 viewers (out of 82, 474) had voted for his message, signifying the importance that Africans attach to energy poverty. He therefore, called on AU leaders to do something about it.
Well, H.E Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Agriculture and Agriculture at the African Union thought it wise to respond to Melvin’s call with a video message of her own. How cool!
What’s even cooler, she reassures Melvin and the Big Brother Africa viewers:
“We will definitely increase our efforts and steps to eradicate energy poverty, end hunger, fight HIV/AIDS and many more pertinent issues…. The African Union is not just for the Heads of State and Government – it is your Union,” she said.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, whom I am here representing, echoes the words of young people who like to say: it is not cool to be poor,” Her Excellency added.
ONE agrees with you, Mrs. Peace. We are sure young Africans will applaud that too and more of them will be moved to join the fight against poverty, which you are leading!