The AGV Poetry and Storytelling Day competition brings to light the plight and importance of protecting the rights of adolescent girls around the world. The hybrid event which took place today offered an open space to adolescent creative writers aged 10-19 years a chance to express their voice and talent through poetry and storytelling.
AGV, which stands for Adolescent Girls’ Voices is an open space competition for young girls majoring in poetry and storytelling with an adolescent-girl focused Generation Equality call to action movement that addresses all socio-economic forms of inequalities among Ugandan adolescent girls.
The competition, which was launched in early October calling upon participants to submit their poem or story is organized by the Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) and its partners in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child 2021, under the theme, “My Voice amplified, our equal future secured.”
At 9 million, adolescents make up a quarter of the population in Uganda. Yet life is harsh for many. Poverty, HIV/AIDS, early marriages, teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence and low participation in secondary education make it difficult for young people to fulfil their potential.
Adolescent girls, in particular, face multiple vulnerabilities. They are severely and unevenly at risk of HIV infection. Two-thirds of all new HIV infections are contracted by adolescent girls many of them also drop out of school as a result of unwanted teenage pregnancy and early marriage.
According to the Ministry of health, 25% of Ugandan teenage girls become pregnant by the age of 19. Close to half are married before their 18th birthday and continue having babies into their mid-40s. In fact, The UNFPA Adolescent and Youth Dashboard – Uganda indicates that the percentage of women, aged 20-24, who gave birth before 18 is high at 33% with only 21.5% of secondary education completion rate (2017).
The AGV Poetry and Storytelling Day competition, which was a hybrid virtual conference event started at 2 pm today at the Golf Course Hotel and was also streamed online on various platforms such as YouTube and Zoom respectively.
During the selection process, only the top 10 finalists with the best work were picked to present at the poetry competition a few days before the grand finale event. The participants were expected to submit a maximum of one creative piece (poem/story) in two forms namely; text: (not more than 3 pages) and audio (not more than 3 ½ minutes).
The selected ten finalists had to battle it out for the top four cash prizes by performing their creative pieces live at the virtual grand finale event. Out of the top ten finalists, the Jury selected (against criteria) the top 3 winning performances with the viewers voting through a poll for the best performance under the “Viewer’s Choice” category.
The Jury’s top 3 winning performances as well as the Viewer’s choice will be announced and crowned with gifts and cash prizes at the grand finale event.
The AGV Poetry and Storytelling Day competition seeks to address all socio-economic forms of inequalities among Ugandan adolescent girls
The AGV Poetry & Storytelling Competition 2021 main objective is to address all forms of socio-economic inequalities among Ugandan adolescent girls aged (10-19) by amplifying their voices and rights through a creative writing competition.
One of the best ways out of vulnerability, poverty and exclusion is through education, but access to secondary education is low in Uganda. Only a fifth of adolescents of the right age are enrolled in secondary schools. In addition to teenage pregnancy and child marriage, school fees and other related costs are key factors that keep adolescent girls out of school.
Gender-based violence is another barrier to girls’ education. Instead of having protective and safe learning spaces, many girls face sexual harassment and rape in schools.
The virtual conference which had the top 10 finalists battling it out for the top spots will be awarded gifts and cash prizes accordingly. The expected prizes will be as follows:
The Grand Prize is UGX 1,000,000, the 1st runners up prize is UGX 700,000, the 2nd runners up prize is UGX 500,000 and the Viewer’s choice prize is UGX 300,000 respectively.
The AGVPS Competition Jury which had the responsibility of scrutinizing every creative piece to select the top finalists and top 3 winning creative pieces, had experienced creatives, youth and adolescent experts/consultants, a PHAU board member and a representative from one of the partners.
The competition, which was organized by the Public Health Ambassadors Uganda alongside its partners UNFPA Uganda, YoSPACE project, Open Mic Uganda, and the Guttmacher Institute was held at the Golf Course Hotel at 2 pm today.
UPDATE: 5: 06
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.