The Future Awards Africa
The Future Awards Africa (previously known as The Future Awards), are a set of awards given by The Future Project (TFP), a social enterprise communications firm affiliated to Red Africa. The awards celebrate young people between the ages of 18 and 31, who have made outstanding achievement in the year under consideration. Forbes has described the awards as "Nigeria’s most important awards for outstanding young Nigerians".
The first awards ceremony was held on February 6, 2006 at the Muson Centre in Lagos to honor the outstanding achievements of the 2005/2006 season and subsequent editions have been held at diverse locations, with that of 2011 held on January 30, 2011 at the Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Since the seventh season in 2012, it has been held at the Altec Azcum in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 2013's edition was hosted by on-air personality, Toke Makinwa and rapper, Vector.
In 2013, the name of the awards was changed to reflect the partnership with the African Union and its pan-Africanness.
Categories, nomination, judging and awards
The awards are given to winners in ten categories, including the Young Person of the Year category, trimmed down from the initial twenty-one categories. Some of the categories are:
Nomination results are usually announced to the public in late January.
There is a 4-stage, 3-month long judging process involving a board of judges and an audit committee. Judges come from all over Africa. The judges include Mfonobong Nsehe, Belinda Otas (Assistant Editor, New African Woman), Brenda Wendo (Deputy Features Editor, The Star Newspaper, Kenya), Billie Adwoa McTernan (Ghana correspondent, The Africa Report), Adam Bouhadma (Editor, 9rayti.com, Morocco), Michelle Atagana (Managing Editor, Memeburn).
Those on the audit committee are: Katja Schiller Nwator (Leadership Development and CSR Manager, The Tony Elumelu Foundation), Mahamadou Sy (founder and executive director of the Institut Supérieur de Développement Local (ISDL), Senegal), Wendy Luhabe (author), Abiola Alabi (MD, MNet Africa), Tonye Cole (executive director, Sahara Group), Ndidi Nwuneli (founder, LEAP Africa), Mo Abudu (CEO, EbonyLife TV), Gbenga Sesan (founder, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria), Eikem Nutifafa (founding partner, Oxford and Beaumont, Ghana), Chi-Chi Okonjo (publisher, Ventures Africa), Victoria Trabosh (founder, Ithafari Foundation), Taa Wongbe (managing partner The Khana Group), Ayo Ajayi (MD, PATH Global) and Jennah Scott (director, Liberia Philanthropy Secretariat, Office of the President).
The awards are presented at a live televised ceremony that is also streamed on the internet, most commonly in February or March following the relevant calendar year, and six weeks after the announcement of the final shortlist of nominees.
Young Person of the Year Award
Winners of the Young Person of the Year award include Tanzanian entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar, malaria scientist Ify Aniebo, writer Chimamanda Adichie, NASA scholar Tosin Otitoju, agriculture entrepreneur and advocate Nnaemekan Ikegwuonu.
The awards have drawn criticism from several quarters, especially as regards the ages of the nominees. In December 2011, Chude Jideonwo released a statement, stating: “We certainly have had more than a few complaints about the ages of one or two nominees. We sincerely appreciate those reactions and the fact that people feel so strongly about this awards process confirms to us that people believe in what we are doing... Over the years we have had to withdraw the nominations of a few nominees who have been unable to prove their actual ages; indeed, The Future Awards is one of the very few processes that actually demands proof of nominees’ claims.”
They announce a two-week complaint period, within which members of the public can email complaints about any nominee to the Central Working Committee about the age, substance of achievement, or any other claims by the nominees.
In 2009, an email exchange between a dancer and a former winner of the award, Qudus Onikeke and Chude, leaked on the Sahara Reporters blog, as the former sought to clarify comments he had made -about the Young Person of the Year Award given to D'banj - in the year after his win, against the backdrop of the musician's controversial video for Suddenly.
The Future Awards Africa won the Event of the Year award at the first The Nigerian Event Awards (TNEA), in May 2011.
The following projects are closely associated with the annual Future Awards ceremony:
- “Do Something” Conferences
- The Future School Seminars
- The Future Town Hall Meetings
- The Future Enterprise Support Scheme
- The Future TakeAction
- The Future Interventions
- The Young Writers Network
- The Future Mentorship Scheme
- The Future Volunteers Programme
- The Future Polls/Research
- This is the Future! Book
- The Future Youth Opportunity Centre
- This is the Future! Book
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