The Nigeria Prize for Difference & Diversity launches today


First edition to be endowed by Chude Jideonwo for N1 million.

The Working Group for The Nigeria Prize for Difference & Diversity has announced the launch of the initiative today, with its first edition to hold in late 2020. The new prize is dedicated to identifying and celebrating people championing difference, diversity, inclusion, and immediate impact on the African continent. It is co-presented by YNaija.

The Nigeria Prize for Difference and Diversity seeks to celebrate people who are creating safe spaces for difference and diversity in the culture on a macro or micro level, through their persons or by building communities or organisations. The thematic focus for the Prize is in the areas of mental and emotional health, sexuality, gender, special needs, art, faith and spirituality, and human rights (prisoners, rape, sex workers).

The mission of the Prize -themed this year as “Difference Matters” –– is to open up the voices, hearts, and spirits of young people across Nigeria, for them to embrace their true identities and accept their uniqueness without feeling suppressed, oppressed, or misunderstood. “They are leveraging social media and offline communities to propagate their causes and forcing governments to engage in discussions about reform and reject harmful laws while pushing for widely beneficial policies. The imperative for people of influence and platform at this moment is to help curate and amplify this advocacy.

At great personal sacrifice, these young Africans are choosing activism and advocacy as their life’s work, said Edwin Okolo, who is YNaija’s editor.

The first edition of the prize is endowed by journalist and entrepreneur, Chude Jideonwo – whose platform #WithChude is focused on curating safe spaces in the media and the culture for mental, emotional, and spiritual health. “Nigeria will change, whether we like it or not,” Jideonwo said in an article announcing his endowment.

That is the inevitable nature of society. In 50 years, many of these rights I fight for will be enshrined because the moral arc of the universe bends only one way: towards justice. And when that time comes, our children will wonder if we had lost our minds when we insisted on this exclusion and oppression—the way many today wonder at history’s legacy of slavery, child marriage, and the suppression of voting rights for women.

Nigerians and Africans cannot be fighting for Black lives—which are a minority in the West and the East—while oppressing their own minorities here at home, and resisting the urgency of diversity. No. Black lives matter. Gay lives matter. Trans lives matter. Women’s lives matter. Atheist lives matter. Agnostic lives matter. Autistic lives matter. Neuro-divergent lives matter.

Public nominations from across the six regions of Nigeria are set to be received starting from the 30th, June 2020. 10 individuals – who make their voices heard, light the unique fires of other people, and are creating the space for people to be or express themselves –– will be selected into the residential fellowship, and will have the opportunity to interact with authentic leaders from across the country, who are advocates for inclusivity.

All finalists will also get one-year media amplification support for their work from through its Non-Binary vertical. The winner will also be entitled to a N1 Million Naira grant, to be awarded after the one-week residential fellowship.


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