Breaking Inequalities Through Poetry: ProjectASHA Awards Female Poets via the Vweta Chadwick 2023 Poetry Prize
The ProjectASHA Initiative, a local nonprofit, concluded the Vweta Chadwick Poetry Prize, wherein they awarded prizes of up to N500,000 in cash to four talented young female poets. These poets have lent their voices through poetry to dismantle the struggles caused by multiple inequalities faced by rural women in Nigeria and around the world.
The 2nd edition of the Vweta Chadwick 2023 Poetry Prize, themed “Speaking through the Void,” received a total of 150 entries from 110 young female wordsmiths across Nigeria. Twelve shortlisted participants made it to the final round and competed for the total prize money.
Led by Joseph Waribugo, National Volunteer and Project Coordinator of ProjectASHA, the virtual poetry event was graced by well-wishers, supporters, and human rights enthusiasts from various backgrounds.
The annual poetry event, organized in honour of the late Vweta Chadwick, a human rights champion and founder of ProjectASHA NGO, aims to spotlight the voices and provide a platform for girls and women alike to tell their authentic stories, express themselves, and champion causes dear to them.
The judges at the event were seasoned poetry professionals, including Aida Correa-Jackson, David Olajide, and Iquo DianaAbasi (both second-time judges), as well as Islamiyat Bakare, also known as Kemistree. They scored performances based on Originality, Pitch, Dramatic Appeal, and Performance. Each piece was powerful, making the judges’ decisions even tougher.
After the heated competition of sheer words, brutal truths, and the revelation of harsh realities, Favour Orlando emerged as the winner of this year’s contest for her poem “Who Can Serve Them Their Dreams on a Platter?” The first and second runners-up were Anita Nwokoji and Favour Davies for their poems “The Dark Void” and “Her Essence,” respectively.
These entries were all in the senior category. In the Junior category, Francis Zenom, who sadly passed away on July 1, 2023, emerged as the winner for her poem “ECHOES.” The entire ASHA team extends their heartfelt condolences to the family and has posthumously awarded prizes to her family.
As a local NGO with a global focus, ProjectASHA is firmly dedicated to empowering the voices of rural girls and women in marginalized communities. Through its array of advocacy-driven programs and projects, ProjectASHA continues to engage in conversations about women’s rights, digital literacy and inclusion, equality, equity, and justice as prominent topics in the nation’s discussions.
ProjectASHA’s work and milestones are strongly driven by individuals who take action to create tangible changes in the world. If you would like to support ProjectASHA in any of the aforementioned advocacy areas, please visit their website.
Just like the late Vweta Chadwick, there is a role to play. Vweta Chadwick’s legacy lives on.
Grace Smarts Blog is a Media Partner for ProjectASHA