Seychelles #VoiceandChoice Summit winners announced

Seychelles #VoiceandChoice Summit winners announced

Date: July 8, 2019
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Victoria, July, 07, 2019: Seychelles hosted its first #VoiceandChoice Summit on Friday 5 July  with four winners in the media, gender and climate change, economic justice and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) categories.

The Summit held at the STC Conference Center in Victoria, is an initiative of Gender Links (GL) and the Southern Africa Gender Protocol. It is the fifth country #VoiceandChoice summit held this year.

Laura Pillay – journalist from Seychelles Nation, won the media category, Elvina Henriette of TRASS and GAEA Seychelles won the gender and climate change category whilst Marie Celine Zialor of the Guy Morel Institute was the winner for economic justice and Ben Vel presenting a case study on ASFF’s Youth Action Movement, involved in sexual reproductive health education and services, won the SRHR award.

By November, all 15 SADC countries will have had their country summits culminating into a regional one to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, just before the 16days of activism starts.

In her keynote address during the awards the Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Family Affairs, Marie Josee Bonne highlighted the long partnership between GL and the Seychelles.

“The relationship with Gender links started 16 years ago and has blossomed, culminating into the first Seychelles summit. Over the years Gender links has assisted us with capacity building and training. This has allowed us to align our gender action plan to the SADC Protocol targets as well as developing the Seychelles’ barometer which is updated every year,” said Bonne.

The summit programme started off with presentation by all the participants for each of the thematic four categories; #VoiceandChoice SRHR Action Award, Gender and climate change, Media and Economic Justice respectively. The most entries were received in the Action award for the gender and climate change category.

Not surprising for Seychelles with abundant beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands with pristine environment and also has the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and beaches, including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka. There was no question in the #VoiceandChoice Summit the Island country would champion climate change action.

The winners announced during the evening are as follows:

Category Name of winner
SRHR Action Award  Ben Vel
Gender and climate change  Elvina Henriette
Media  Laura Pillay
Economic Justice  Marie Celine Zialor

“It was an uplifting and daunting task to judge the entrants for climate change. All had merits and one just had to choose whoever had the edge over the other. It was also refreshing to see dynamic and committed Seychellois women being so present, active and innovative. Truly an enlightening experience,” said Banjamin Vel, one of the three judges judging this category.

Sheistah Bhundoo, Programme and Finance Officer, Gender Links Mauritius office, who was in Seychelles for the first Summit said ‘The Seychelles summit despite being a first in the island, was very interesting and provided a platform for sharing of best practices. It is great to organisations in Seychelles is putting gender on the agenda in areas of climate change, SRHR, media and economic justice’.

“The time element of the summit and the online procedure to enter for the awards were big challenges for us, organising the summit for the first time,” Sharon Thelemaque – Ernesta of Gem Plus – the alliance local partner – explained that more time should be given up to month.

“This will allow ample time for participants to complete the online entries which is time consuming and demands so much information. For this summit many of these were not completed.”

A proposal is that next year, a time period of three months is allocated for the organisation of the Seychelles country summit.

Running under the hashtag #VoiceandChoice the summits serve as a springboard to call governments to account for gender equality commitments made in the SADC Gender Protocol and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The summits will pave way for the localisation of the recently adopted Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) strategy.

The main purpose of the #VoiceandChoice Summit is to allow participants to learn and share best practices from various sectors across the countries.

Watch the summit awards ceremony opening here. 

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