Launching the African Youth for Maputo Protocol Essay Competition - Equality Now
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Launching the African Youth for Maputo Protocol Essay Competition

The African Youth for Maputo Protocol Essay Writing Competition, sponsored by Equality Now and the SOAWR Coalition, seeks to promote scholarship and innovative approaches to solving the greatest challenges in the ratification, domestication and implementation of the Maputo Protocol in Africa.

About the Essay Writing Competition

The African Youth for Maputo Protocol Essay Writing Competition, sponsored by Equality Now and the SOAWR Coalition, seeks to promote scholarship and innovative approaches to solving the greatest challenges in the ratification, domestication and implementation of the Maputo Protocol in Africa. The Essay Writing Competition also seeks to hone the skills and interest of the next generation of African women’s and girls’ rights practitioners by recognizing them for their work. The essay competition is open to students between the ages of 18 and 25 currently in university, with a preference for undergraduate students of African descent studying within the continent.

The theme of the Essay Writing Competition will be Catalyzing Progress on the Rights of Women and Girls in Africa through the Ratification, Domestication and Implementation of the Maputo Protocol. The theme of the Essay Writing Competition seeks to elicit ideas, innovations and approaches for promoting the ratification, domestication, and implementation of the Maputo Protocol in Africa, regardless of a country’s ratification status of the Protocol.

The competition’s six sub-themes will address the existing legal and policy gaps that may be addressed by the ratification, domestication and implementation of the Protocol; national, regional, and continental case studies; commentary; and other forms of legal and policy review.

The sub-themes of the competition

Challenges and Opportunities in Ratifying the Maputo Protocol: This sub-theme seeks to elicit essay entries that will discuss challenges facing the ratification of the Maputo Protocol, the effects on the rights of women and girls that arise from a country’s failure to ratify the Maputo Protocol, and opportunities, approaches and/or strategies that may be applied to bolster efforts towards the ratification of the Maputo Protocol (Note: This sub-theme is only open to essay entries focusing on countries which are yet to ratify the Maputo Protocol: Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan)

● Article 5 (Elimination of Harmful Practices) and Article 17 (Right to Positive Cultural Context): This sub-theme seeks to elicit essay entries that will discuss the responsibility of states to eliminate harmful practices while promoting the right of women to a positive cultural context, including the right of women to participate meaningfully and decisively in the determination and formulation of cultural policies.

● Article 6 (Marriage) and Article 7 (Separation, Divorce and Annulment of Marriage): This sub-theme seeks to elicit essay entries that will discuss the intersection between the rights to women within a marriage as well as the rights of women at the point of separation, divorce and annulment of marriage, with a specific emphasis on the recent General Comment No. 6 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on Article 7(d) of the Maputo Protocol.

Article 10 (Right to Peace) and Article 11 (Protection of Women in Armed Conflicts): This sub-theme seeks to elicit essay entries that will discuss the positive obligations placed on state-parties to the Maputo Protocol on the right to peace as well as the obligation upon state-parties to protect women in armed conflicts, with a specific focus on enforcing mechanisms aimed at promoting women’s participation in preventing and/or ending armed conflicts of any kind.

● Article 14 (Health and Reproductive Rights): This sub-theme seeks to elicit essay entries that will discuss the positive obligations placed on state-parties to promote and protect the rights of women to health, particularly reproductive health.

Reservations to the Maputo Protocol: This sub-theme seeks to elicit essay entries that will discuss the social, political and economic dynamics at play in a country’s decision to place reservations on provisions of the Maputo Protocol, the effects on the rights of women and girls that arise from a country’s reservation, and opportunities, approaches and/or strategies that may be applied to bolster efforts towards removing these reservations.

Essay Writing Competition Format and Rules

  1. The Essay Competition will award 6 Prizes: Winner, 1st Runner Up, 2nd Runner Up in 2 categories, English entries and French entries.
  2. The Winner of the Essay Competition will receive USD 500, the 1st Runner Up will receive USD 300 and the 2nd Runner Up will receive USD 200. This award will apply for both the English and French categories of the competition.
  3. All 6 prize winners will receive certificates of merit and will have the opportunity to speak about their ideas at an Equality Now/ SOAWR sponsored webinar on the ratification, domestication and implementation of the Maputo Protocol.
  4. The top 20 entries will receive certificates of merit and will have the opportunity to have their work published in a collection of essays on the Maputo Protocol, published by Equality Now and the SOAWR Coalition.
  5. Participants must be citizens of African countries between the age of 18 and 25 and currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in an African university.
  6. Essays must be the original work of the competitors, be written in an accessible style and must not contain instances of plagiarism or defamatory language. 
  7. Only individual entries will be permitted, and no teams or co-authored essays will be considered in the competition.
  8. Essays must be well researched and cited and must succinctly analyze a situation and offer innovative ideas and approaches that apply the letter and spirit of the Maputo Protocol.
  9. Essays must be no longer than 2000 words (not including citations).
  10. Essays can be submitted in English or French. No other language submissions will be considered for the competition.
  11. Essays will be reviewed by a panel composed of Equality Now staff and SOAWR Coalition member representatives.
  12. All essays must be submitted by 4th August 2021 at 23:59 East African Time, the closing date of the competition. Only entries submitted by this deadline will be considered for the competition.
  13. Essays should be sent in either Word or PDF Format and must be accompanied by a CV of the entrant alongside evidence of enrollment at an African university. All entries must be sent to the Equality Now Africa Office email ([email protected]) copying K Kanyali Mwikya ([email protected]) with the subject line “African Youth for Maputo Protocol Essay Writing Competition.
  14. Essays will not be returned. Entrants are encouraged to keep a copy of their essays.