Last week, the African Woman Association (AWA) hosted a press briefing for the launch of its African Women Awards, which are to take place early next year to honour women in media, business and enterprise, and politics.
The awards will fall under the broader umbrella of AWA, an organisation founded in 2013 by Carol Nyazika and Lisa Chiriseri.
“If we look at Africa as a whole, there are so many women breaking barriers and standards of what it is to be an African woman,” expressed Nyazika who was voted ‘Personality of The Year’ in the 2013 Zim Achiever Awards and is the founder of Ndanaka, a beauty care range.
She added that the awards would not be run as a “popularity contest” and will feature a qualified panel which will select winners, unlike more recently popular methods where the audience votes for its favourite nominee. With Zimbabwe as its starting base, AWA hopes to grow the awards to become more of a regional endeavour.
During the briefing, Chiriseri who is the Founding Director of Fund A Child’s Education Zimbabwe (FACEZ), also explained that the awards are not intended solely as a time-bound event, but rather an ongoing conversation and process. She mentioned post-award activities such as live access sessions that would encourage interaction between the public and the winners, as well as tours of universities where AWA would host public talks featuring the awardees.
AWA aims to encourage innovation and leadership among women and to create platforms to build and strengthen relationships among industry leaders, which the organisation see tas contributing to the development of Africa. Its platforms include the African Women Awards, the African Women Association Network, African Women Association Media and the African Women Association Foundation. A reality show – produced by AWA – is expected to be flighted on television before the awards next year.
“We are working with VOX Africa on the reality show which will showcase what AWA is doing towards creating positives about Zimbabwe,” said Chiriseri. “This will help change the negative perception of the nation that has gone on for a very long time.”
She added that VOX Africa currently broadcasts in 26 African countries.
Through their work with the Foundation, AWA hopes to host training and life skills sessions with women around various themes and interest areas. They intend to also reach out to rural communities and not only focus on the urban marginalised. AWA will also provide support for children’s education and invest in income-generating projects.
The briefing also featured AWA’s patron Kiki Divaris, who spoke of her enthusiasm to be involved in the project and its charitable activities.
“I did not start this association, the young ladies did,” Divaris stated. “It is such a blessing to grow old and see young people do what you used to do, because they do it better.”