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2020 ISU ELIHLE Awards - Rewarding Innovative Journalism About Children

Updated on May 21, 2020 811 views
2020 ISU ELIHLE Awards - Rewarding Innovative Journalism About Children


“Isu Elihle” is an isiZulu phrase and could be translated into English as a beautiful, great or simply a neat solution”.

MMA’s awards seek to give children a voice and highlight the status of children in our continent. Journalists are encouraged to submit their story ideas and these can be targeted at any mainstream news medium such as TV, Radio or Online. The top six story ideas will then be selected during an awards ceremony which will be held in September. Journalists behind these ideas will each receive guaranteed financial support of ZAR 10 000. MMA will also offer support to the finalists to develop their concepts. The final stories will be ranked and the final cash prizes will be awarded as follows: ZAR 25 000 (Overall Winner); ZAR 15 000 (2nd place); ZAR 10 000 (Third Place).

The media can play an important role in protecting and promoting children’s rights and, in many instances, in exposing their abuses and triumphs. This is informed by the belief that children are not a homogenous group and deserve protection of their rights in all stages of their lives from early childhood development right up until they are legally considered to be adults. The Isu Elihle Awards therefore aim to encourage alternative thinking around reporting on children, and to contribute to an environment that enables journalists to expose and highlight issues affecting children in the country and the continent.

For more details, terms and conditions as well as the Application Form visit the Isu Elihle Award’s website

For enquiries please contact:

Girlie Sibanda


  1. Stages of the Competition 

First Stage: Submission of the story idea 

  • Journalists submit their story ideas before or on the deadline indicated below. These ideas will go through an adjudication process, undertaken by a panel of judges made up of children, child rights expert, and an independent media practitioner. Following the adjudication process, the top six finalists will be announced online and across social media platforms as well on mainstream media.

Second Stage: Producing and publishing the full story

  • The top six journalists will be given financial support of R10 000 to research and develop their concepts into publishable material, which will then be published or broadcast, by a mainstream news media house of their choosing. Please note that individual 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 six. 
  • The top six stories will undergo adjudication and only the top three are guaranteed to win a cash prize. The fourth cash prize for The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category is conditional. It will only be awarded if there is a story (in the top six) that meets the criteria for the category. The amount of money to be awarded for the Mandy Rossouw prize will be determined on the quality of the story published.

2. Prizes

Winner Categories Cash prize
Overall winner R25 000
First runner up R15 000
Second runner up R10 000
Mandy Rossouw Category Between R10 000 and R25 000

*Please note that it is possible for one of the top 3 winners to be selected as the winner of the Mandy    Rossouw Category. In this case they would take two cash prizes. It is also possible that the MRC will go to one of the other finalists not in the Top 3.

3. Isu Elihle Awards Timeline 2020

Activity Dates Duration
Story idea submission 15 May-30 June 6 Weeks
1st round adjudication July  
Finalists announcement September  
Finalists produce and publish stories 25 September-06 November  
Announce winners November  

*Please note the timeline above is subject to change and due notice will be given should it change

4. Isu Elihle Journalist Awards 2020 Rules & Guidelines:

*Please note by submitting your entry, you confirm that you have read and agree with the following rules:

  • The Competition is open to professional journalists, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa.
  • No entry fee is payable.
  • Employees and the immediate families of Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) are not eligible to participate in the competition.
  • The Competition is held in English. Therefore all entries and story ideas should be in English.
  • Applicants are strictly limited to a maximum of one entry; however, each media house can have as many applicants as it wishes.
  • Entries should be made in accordance with the instructions given on the competition entry form and must be submitted on, or before, 00:00 (CAT) 30 June 2020. After this date, no extensions will be made.
  • Late, incomplete, illegible and/or fraudulent entries will be disqualified.
  • MMA reserves the right to refuse entries that do not comply with the above rules. No correspondence will be entered into in this regard.
  • A panel of distinguished, independent judges with appropriate knowledge and experience of children and the media will judge the competition. The panel of judges will be determined by MMA in their sole discretion. Children will also be part of the judging panel
  • No handwritten applications will be accepted. All applications must be completed online using the online form, which is available here.
  • The judges reserve the right to transfer entries for consideration in other categories at their discretion, for instance the Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The top six journalists selected by the panel of judges will be taken to the final story-writing round of the competition. MMA will provide financial support to enable the journalists to write and complete their stories in the timeline provided. All finalists will be individually responsible and accountable to MMA for their costs. The journalist is also required to provide MMA with invoices and any other supporting documents for all expenditure related to production of the story. Any irregular expenditure will lead to the finalist being disqualified and being held liable for the amount
  • Should MMA require the top six finalists to travel as part of the Awards or related activities, sufficient notice will be given, however each finalist will be required to arrange for their visas and any other documentation required for travel. MMA will cover for travel and accommodation costs.
  • Finalists will be expected to be available for the duration of the programme and participate fully in the calendar of events that are expected to take place on those dates as indicated under the Isu Elihle Awards Timeline.
  • Journalists must acknowledge that this is only a competition and the awarding of any prize does not give rise to an employment agency or joint venture relationship or arrangement between journalists and MMA.
  • The top six finalists must commit in writing that they will publish the completed story in mainstream media otherwise the journalist may be disqualified. MMA must be acknowledged in the published story i.e (This reporting was supported by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) as part of the Isu Elihle Awards.
  • Individuals and media houses enter this competition at their own risk. MMA and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any injury or accidents, fatalities or damage incurred whilst participating in this competition.
  • By submitting your entry, you confirm that you have read and agree with these rules and agree that should you be in breach of the terms, you may be disqualified from the competition.
  • Journalists must submit new story ideas and not ones that have been previously published
  • Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) (and all associated parties including but not limited to employees, contractors and partners) involved in the adjudication of the Isu Elihle Awards competition hereby confirm that story ideas submitted in this competition will not be shared or published beyond the scope of the competition. The copyright in each story ideas remains with the participating journalist. The only story ideas that will be publicised are those of the six winners of the first round of the Isu Elihle competition. We encourage participants who are not selected as top 6 finalists to still pursue their story ideas with the support of their relevant media houses.  Once a story idea is submitted, the participant will receive a copy of their entry on email of which they can share with their editor. 

Criteria for judging entries: Please note that both the story idea and the published story will be judged according to the criteria below.

  • The focus on or extensive voice given to children or an issue that impacts children. Children are defined as any persons between the ages of 0-17.
  • Consideration for the best interests of children and the ethical manner in which children are treated and given a voice in the story (Ethical Guidelines). Journalists must adhere to ethical practices and principles in the planning and execution of the story as MMA will not tolerate the violation of children’s rights in any shape or form.
  • Fresh, innovative, and different perspective to children’s issues and/or investigative angle undertaken to report on issue.
  • Must be able to complete the story in the period allowed.
  • Clarity of the issue and extent to which story engages and captures audiences. The story could be about an area that is not commonly given a children’s angle such as the economy or economic impact on children, land issues, investment or an existing news story and giving it a children’s focus.
  • Stories need to highlight possible solutions to the problem or issues that children face.
  • Extent to which story challenges common negative stereotypes about the roles of children in society, especially within the gender debate.
  • The story should also explore relevant legislation of policy issues related to the issue being explored.

5. The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category

The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability prize will be awarded once all stories have been published during the second round of adjudication. This Prize will be awarded to the journalist who made the best attempt at holding the powerful to account on issues specifically related to children


Find More Details About this Competition on

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Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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