Afrique SOTU Blog



In line with commemorating with this year’s Day of the African Child with the theme “Accelerating Protection, Empowerment, and Equal Opportunities for Children by 2030,” State of the Union (SOTU) Coalition joins hands with other well-meaning network of CSOs across Africa to further protect the right and welfare of the average African Child.

This day brings to remembrance the Soweto uprising which occurred in South Africa on June 16, 1976, where young students protested against the poor educational facilities they had. This incidence led to the death of millions of children, thereby leading to the declaration of that day being the Day of the African Child (DAC).

Africa is known to be the second most populous continent, and has a considerable number of her population as children. For the past years, there have been various issues facing the average African Child. These issues range from access to basic education, child labour, early childhood marriages, sexual abuse, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, amongst others.

One must commend the efforts of the various African Governments that have signed unto and ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child as the Charter provides for children to enjoy rights and freedom without discrimination and guarantees all children the right to life, nationality, education, privacy, health, leisure, recreation and culture. In other words, the interest of the child is a paramount factor in every decision-making process. This Charter is also in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child.


Africa has generally made progress in ensuring basic, social and economic rights for children. In Malawi, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique, for instance, free and compulsory education for all children has been entrenched in their constitutions. There has also been a steady decline in infant and under-five mortality across Africa. However, a lot remains to be done to ensure that societal norms that are detrimental to the overall well-being of the African Child are eradicated, as, for example, there are still African societies that prefer to enrol the boy-child in school over the girl-child. Nigeria, for instance, has the highest number of children out of school. Between 75% and 80% of the girls in Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Katsina and Kano States are not in secondary schools and in 16 states, more than 50% of girls have no access to secondary school education. This situation gives room for suppression of the girl-child and hardly gives her equal opportunity to grow intellectually and become independent in the future.


Although this issue of lack of access to education is being addressed by the Nigerian government with the passage of the Universal Basic Education Act, which was passed into law in 2004, and represents the government’s strategy in combating illiteracy and extends basic opportunities to children in the country. Other countries like Rwanda has, since 2010, introduced six years of free basic education and six years of post-primary education, while the government of South Africa has established earmarked “no fee” schools and gives fee waiver to parents from disadvantaged communities. These measures have resulted in a substantial increase gross enrolment of children in primary education institutions.


The above-stated issues facing the average African Child are enormous; however, what we can do is proffer recommendations in addition to the provision of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child, which would achieve the theme of this year’s Day of the African Child.

Some of these recommendations are:

  1. Urging of member states that are yet to domesticate the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to do so within a stipulated time
  2. Placing more stringent penalties on individuals who violate the right of the child through abuse, sexual violence, discrimination of children with disabilities, etc;
  3. Stoppage of discrimination of the girl-child in all ramifications;
  4. Establishment of basic infrastructural facilities, such as education and health services that would attend to the basic needs of an average African Child




Okeke Anya

SOTU Chair



The Coalition Governing Team (CGT) is the policy and governing body of the SOTU coalition and is charged with the general oversight role. Some of the key responsibilities of the CGT include; Oversight on policy, procedures and governance, monitoring the implementation of SOTU strategies, activities and campaigns including supporting of the Financial management agency to meet all contractual obligations contained in the Funding Agreement.



Call for Entries – SOTU Photography Competition

Call for Entries: Photography Competition

Our Africa, Our Rights

The State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) welcomes entries from all over Africa for four categories. Winners receive prizes, and their winning photographs will be used in a SOTU publication: “Our Africa, Our Rights,” to commemorate African Year of Human Rights. The overall winner will have their photograph used as the cover of the SOTU publication in addition will be awarded a fully-funded trip to a SOTU regional event. Deadline: March 7, 2016 at 23.59 (East African Time).


The State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) is a coalition of civil society organizations working together to advocate for the ratification, domestication, and implementation of African Union (AU) instruments (i.e. treaties, policy frameworks and standards). SOTU believes that the successful implementation of these instruments will have tremendous and positive impact on the lives millions of African citizens.

The year 2016 has been declared by the African Union as the African Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women. It affords African governments the opportunity to review and assess the human rights situation in Africa as well as entrench a culture of rights protection and respect for rule of law in their countries. It is also a time to commemorate achievement and progress made in the implementation of human rights standards on the continent. Most importantly, the African Union recognises that Africans should be given the chance to tell their story as a means of raising awareness about realities and successes in their communities but also to inspire future generations (See AU’s Concept paper on Declaration of 2016 as African Year of Human Rights:

SOTU is publishing a book of papers, inspiring stories and commentaries from ordinary citizens, activists, young people and community leaders to commemorate the African Year of Human Rights but also to showcase the current state of human rights in Africa. The book offers the possibility of posting original photography that captures the essence of being African but also promotes positive outlook about human rights from an African perspective. It will also profile talent from the continent.


  • African citizens based in Africa can enter the contest.
  • SOTU secretariat and coalition staff and judges are not allowed to enter the contest.
  • Entries may have been taken from any camera, film (as scanned slides) or digital
  • Each individual can only upload an image into one category. But the overall winner will be selected from the categories.
  • Categories are:
    • Women leading and contributing to society as key players
    • Africa rising – imagery of positive developments and economic group
    • African landscape and nature
    • Youth Category: (Only for persons 18-30 years old) Photography of youth e.g. youth empowerment or youth movement or youth at play or at work
  • By submitting, the entrant warrants that the entry is their original work and they have not infringed on another rights or copyright.

Photograph Submission

  1. Prepare a brief with the following information in English or French:
    1. Personal information: Full names; Nationality; Country of residence; Age; Gender, Vocation/Profession
    2. Contact info: email address, physical address, telephone/mobile
    3. Title of the Photograph
    4. Description of the photograph or captions (100 words max)
    5. Location and country where the photograph was shot
    6. Award Category you are submitting to.
  2. The photograph should be high resolution. However, at this stage, please limit your images to a maximum file size of 1 MB (1,000KB) and a maximum of 900 pixels. Short listed entries will be required to send the larger file formats minimum size 3MB (3,000KB) and 2000 pixels. It should be saved in jpeg format. Images will be viewed on a large monitor. Note that entrants should retain their high-resolution files of their submissions. Winners will be asked to submit these files for printing and display.
  3. Send the brief and the photograph entry to: The email subject line should read ‘SOTU Photography Competition’.

If you have any questions please email Sarah at Do not send entries to this address. The email is for enquiries only 


  • Photos should be the sole original work of the person submitting.
  • It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that any photograph containing an image of a person has been taken with the permission of that person (or, when under 18, the consent of their parent or guardian). Similarly, the photographer must have the permission to photograph in a particular venue or location, where required.
  • Submitted photographs must not infringe on the copyright of any third party. The entrant must own the copyright for the submitted photograph and for the usage rights required by the competition.
  • Submitted photographs must not infringe on the privacy rights, or any other rights of any person.
  • Copyright of a photograph submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants. However, each entrant grants SOTU licence to feature the photograph in any and all publicity including third party websites, publications and in the media (electronic). SOTU retains the right to publish the contest entries in any format. We will credit the photographer but will not seek permission to reuse an image after first receiving it. Note that winning photographs will be used in the SOTU book and may feature winners in press releases or other communication to showcase the competition, the winning photographs and congratulate the winners.
  • Due to the number of entries received, SOTU will be unable to return them. Kindly keep copies of all the material submitted for the competition for your records. 

Selection Process

A panel of judges comprising of representatives from the media, creative industry, human rights community and development sector will decide on criteria and select the winning pictures under each category and the overall best picture. The decision of the panel of judges is final.


  • Each category will be awarded a 1st prize winner and a runner-up prize.
  • There will be a special prize for nice effort from any of the categories
  • There will be an Overall winner selected from the 1st prize winners in each category
  • In total 10 prizes will be awarded.
  • All prize winners will receive a copy of the SOTU publication once printed
  • 1st prize any category $250; Runner-up prize $200
  • Special prize: $200
  • Overall winner prize: Cash prize: $500; Overall winning photo will be the cover of the SOTU publication and Winner will receive a fully-funded trip (economy class ticket, hotel accommodation and incidental costs) to a SOTU regional event.

Deadline to submit entries: Monday 7, March 2016

Email entries to



Compétition de Photographie

Notre Afrique, Nos droits – Une publication de SOTU pour commémorer l’année africaine des droits de l’Homme 2016

La Coalition des États de l’Union (SOTU) lance une compétition de photographie dans quatre catégories à travers toute l’Afrique.Les gagnants recevront des prix, et leurs photos gagnantes seront utilisées dans une publication de SOTU: «Notre Afrique, nos droits» pour commémorer l’année africaine des droits de l’homme. La photo du vainqueur sera utilisée comme couverture de la publication de SOTU. En plus, le gagnant aura droit à un voyage entièrement financé (billet en classe économique, l’hébergement en hôtel) pour un événement régional de SOTU.

Date limite de soumission des candidatures: 07 Mars 2016 à 23.59 (heure de l’Afrique de l’Est).


La Coalition des États de l’Union (SOTU) est une coalition d’organisations de la société civile qui travaillent ensemble pour plaider en faveur de la ratification, la domestication et la mise en œuvre des instruments juridiques adoptés dans le cadre de l’Union africaine (à savoir les traités, les cadres politiques et normes). SOTU estime que la mise en œuvre réussie de ces instruments aura un impact considérable et positif sur la vie des millions de citoyens africains.

L’année 2016 a été déclarée par l’Union africaine comme l’Année africaine des droits de l’homme avec un accent sur les droits de la femme. Elle offre aux gouvernements africains l’occasion d’examiner et d’évaluer la situation des droits de l’homme en Afrique, ainsi que d’ancrerune culture de protection des droits de l’homme et du respect de la primauté du droit dans leur pays. C’est aussi l’occasion pour ces pays de célébrer les réalisations et les progrès effectuésdans l’implémentation des normes relatives aux droits de l’homme sur le continent. Plus important encore, l’Union africaine reconnaît que les Africains devraient avoir la chance de raconter leur histoire, ce qui constituera non seulement un moyen de sensibilisation sur les réalités et les succès dans leurs communautés, mais aussi un moyen d’inspiration des générations futures (voir la note conceptuelle de l’UA sur la Déclaration de 2016 de l’Année africaine des droits de l’homme:

SOTU publie actuellement une compilation d’articles, contenant des histoires inspiréeset des commentaires des citoyens ordinaires, des militants, des jeunes et des leaders communautaires pour commémorer l’Année africaine des droits de l’homme, mais aussi pour présenter l’état actuel des droits de l’homme en Afrique. Le livre offre la possibilité d’afficher la photographie originale qui capture l’essence de l’ « être africain », mais promeut également une image positive des droits de l’homme sous une perspective africaine. Ce document fait également ressortir les talents du continent africain.

Conditions d’admissibilité

  • Tout africain résident en Afrique peut participer au concours.
  • Le secrétariat de SOTU, le personnel de la coalition et les juges ne sont pas autorisés à participer au concours.
  • Les photographiespeuvent avoir été prises à partir de tout appareil photo, film (sous forme de diapositives numérisées) ou numérique.
  • Chaque candidat ne peut télécharger qu’une image dans une seule catégorie. Mais le grand gagnant sera choisi parmi toutes les catégories.
  • Les catégories sont:

o Les femmesleaders et celles qui contribuent au développement de la société en tant qu’acteurs clés

oAfrique Emergeante–Images du développement positif et des groupes économiques

o Le paysage et la nature africaine

oCatégorie jeune: (Uniquement les personnes âgées entre 18-30 ans). Exemple : Photographie de jeunes représentant par exemple : l’autonomisation des jeunes, un mouvement de jeunes ou des jeunes en train de jouer ou de travailler.

  • En postulant, les candidats devraient garantir que la photo est leurœuvre originale et qu’ils n’ont pas porté atteinte à d’autres droits ou au droit d’auteur.

Conditions de soumission des photos

  1. Préparer un document avec les informations suivantes: (* voir si elles peuvent remplir un formulaire) en anglais ou en français
  2. Informations personnelles: noms complets; Nationalité; Pays de résidence; Âge; genre ; Vocation / Profession
  3. Contact: adresse e-mail, adresse physique, téléphone / portable
  4. Titre de la photographie
  5. Description de la photographie ou des sous-titres (100 mots max)
  6. Lieu et pays où la photographie a été prise
  7. La catégorie de Prix auquel vous postulez
  8. La photographie doit être en haute résolution. Toutefois, à ce stade, s’il vous plaît limitez vos images à une un fichier d’une taille maximale de 1 Mo (1,000KB) et un maximum de 900 pixels. Les candidats présélectionnés seront tenus d’envoyer les fichiers grands formatsde taille minimale 3MB (3,000KB) et 2000 pixels. Ils devraient être enregistrés au format jpeg. Les images seront affichées sur un grand écran. Notez que les participants doivent conserver les fichiers haute résolution de leurs soumissions. Les gagnants seront invités à soumettre ces fichiers pour impression et affichage.
  9. Envoyer le mémoire et la photographie à l’adresse: La ligne réservée à l’objet du courriel doit être intitulée« SOTU Photograpy competition».

Si vous avez des questions, s’il vous plaît envoyer un courriel à Sarah à l’adresse suivante Ne pas envoyer les photographies à cette adresse car, elle est réservéeuniquement aux demandes de renseignement.


  • Les photos doivent être les seules œuvres originales de la personne qui postule.
  • Il est de la responsabilité de chaque participant de veiller à ce que toute photographie contenant l’image d’une personne ait été prise avec l’autorisation de cette personne (au cas où cette personne àmoins de 18 ans, il faudrait le consentement de ses parents ou de son tuteur). De même, le photographe doit avoir l’autorisation de photographier dans un espace ou lieuparticulier, au besoin.
  • Les photographies soumises ne doivent pas porter atteinte aux droits d’auteur d’une tierce partie. Le participant doit posséder le droit d’auteur pour la photographie présentée et les droits d’utilisation exigés pour la compétition.
  • les photographies soumises ne doivent pas empiéter sur le droit à la vie privée, ou tout autre droit de la personne.
  • Les droits d’auteur d’une photographie soumise pour cette compétition reviennent aux participants. Cependant, chaque participant s’engage à accorderà SOTU une Licence pour présenter la photographie dans toute publicité, y compris les sites de tierces personnes, dans les publications et les médias (électroniques). SOTU se réserve le droit de publier les bulletins de participation dans tous les formats. SOTU accréditera le photographe, maisne demandera plus une autorisation, après avoir en reçu une première, pour réutiliser l’image. Notez que les photographies gagnantes seront utilisées dans le livre de SOTU et peuvent présenter des gagnants dans les communiqués de presse ou d’autres moyens de communication,afin de mettre en valeur la compétition, les vainqueurs et les photos gagnantes.
  • En raison du nombre d’inscriptions reçues, SOTU sera incapable de faire retourner les dossiers. Veuillez bien conserver des copies de tous les documents soumis dans le cadre de la compétition pourvotre suivi.

Processus de sélection

Un jury comprenant des représentants des médias, des industriesde la création, de la communauté des droits de l’homme et le secteur du développement décidera sur les critères de sélection et sélectionnera les photos gagnantes de chaque catégorie et la meilleure vue d’ensemble. La décision du jury est définitive.


1.) Chaque catégorie récompensera un gagnant pour le er prix et un deuxième prix

2.) Il y aura un prix spécial pour le bel effort fourni venant de n’importe quelle catégorie.

3.) Il y aura un gagnant global choisi parmi les gagnants du 1er Prix dans chaque catégorie

4.) Au total, 10 prix seront attribués.

5.) Tous les gagnants recevront un exemplaire de la publication de SOTU fois imprimé

  • 1er prix est une catégorie de 250 $; finaliste prix de 200 $
  • Prix spécial: 200 $
  • Prix global du gagnant: 500 $La Photo constituera la page de couverture de la publication de SOTU et le gagnant aura droit à un voyage entièrement financé (billet en classe économique, l’hébergement en hôtel) pour un événement régional de SOTU.

Date limite de soumission des résumés : 07 Mars 2016.

Participation par Email :


SOTU Journalist Competition 2016

SOTU Journalist Competition 2016

Call for Submissions

The State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) calls out for submissions of articles from journalists working in the 10 African countries SOTU has membership; Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Tunisia. The competition is open to African journalists reporting on Human Rights and Governance issues in the print and digital media. Deadline: 31st May 2016 at 11:59 (GMT +3).


The State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) is a coalition of civil society organizations working together to advocate for the ratification, domestication, and implementation of African Union (AU) instruments (i.e. treaties, policy frameworks and standards). SOTU believes that the successful implementation of these instruments will have tremendous and positive impact on the lives millions of African citizens.

Theme: Human Rights and Governance in Africa


Your article must fall into one of these categories;

  1. Corruption
  2. Food Security
  3. Women
  4. Youth

Eligibility and Dates

The competition is open to all bona fide practising journalists from Africa who must be African Citizens.
We are looking at having new and fresh submissions that must have been published in May 2016.

The articles must make reference to at least 1 of the 14 SOTU focus AU legal instruments & policy standards. Refer to them on;

Class of Entries

  • Print and Digital


Entries must be in the 4 select African Union languages;

i) English ii) French iii) Portuguese and iv) Arabic

Broad Rules of the competition

  • The competition shall be open to all print media journalists who are citizens of AU member states and who are based in Africa and whose publications are published in AU member states.
  • Winners will be selected from the 10 participating countries, 1 each from print and online/digital. Additionally, there will be 2 regional winners and an overall winner.
  • Each journalist entering the competition shall be required to show proof that he/she is a citizen of an AU member state
  • Each entry shall be accompanied by full names of the writer, the name and contact details of his/her employer, his/ her position in the news organisation and region from where the entry is emanating:
  • Should you be selected, a written confirmation on official letterhead from the media organisation employing the journalists, confirming his/ her employment in the agency and confirming the dates of publication of all the submitted entries will be required.
  • On receipt, the entries will be judged by a competent panel of judges established by the SOTU coalition.
  • Entries from qualified female journalists are encouraged.

Submissions sent without the required accompanying documentation will be disqualified. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into after the closing dates.

How to enter


Winners in each of the categories will receive $500 and the overall winner will receive an additional cash prize of $500

Selection Criteria

Entries will be evaluated on their potential to educate and inform diverse audiences about issues related to African Union Agenda in line with the theme of the awards. The judges will score entries on the following criteria.

  • Accuracy and fairness
  • Present innovative or enhanced approach on issues
  • Relevance to the public policy and debate
  • Easily understood by the targeted audience
  • Quality of presentation

Opening and closing dates for submissions

  • Entries for the competition will be opened on 1st May 2016 and will close 31st May 2016.
  • Winners will be informed in June 2016.

How to submit

Interested journalists are invited to submit entries to the SOTU Secretariat. The entries for print should be a scanned copy of the published article with accompanying word version, for digital send a link and a word copy of the article.

Submissions should be sent electronically to



SOTU Malawi Grand Petition ll to Government on May 25 Africa Day 2016

The National Advocacy Platform (NAP) under the State of the Union (SOTU) coalition in Malawi presented the Grand Petition ll to the Malawi Government through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) as part of commemoration of the Africa Day, 25 May.

The Principal Secretary of OPC Mr. Clement Chinthu Phiri received the Petition on behalf of the Malawi Government for forwarding to the Head of State. Through the Chairperson, Mr. Robert Mkwezalamba, NAP has called for urgent attention to the issues raised and recommendations made.

Among the urgent issues raised included the call for decisive actions to stop the killing of People with Albinism. As we celebrate Africa Day 2016, it is being reported that a new murder case in Tcheu district has emerged. It involved a man with Albinism who was attacked while working in his dambo field. These killings are unacceptable and need to be tackled with urgency.

Below is the summary of the Grand Petition ll 


The National Advocacy Platform (NAP) comprising civil society and citizen groups
believes that for Malawi to make remarkable progress on its effort to address political,
social and economic challenges, and to ensure that all citizens enjoy equal rights
enshrined in the various legal and policy instruments including the Republican
Constitution, the following are the key asks the Government of Malawi and other
stakeholders should seriously and expeditiously ACT ON:

1. Stop the killings of people with albinism and severely punish the perpetrators
of this inhuman and barbaric violence against citizens. JUSTICE must be served.

2. Eradicate all forms of violence and discrimination against children, women,
people with disability and political opponents- such acts are unacceptable.

3. End hunger by depoliticizing the agriculture sector, invest in massive irrigation
programmes and declare maize as a protected crop.

4. Ensure that public hospitals have food, drugs and functional medical equipment-
the breakdown of health care system is affecting the poor most.

5. Decisively act against corruption by bringing to book and punishing all persons
implicated in government offices and district councils.

6. Complete the 2006/2007 Constitutional Review process to comprehensively
respond to emerging political and governance concerns and harmonize the
reform agenda. This process is long-overdue and remains a key governance
issue that needs urgent attention.

7. Enhance compliance with regional and international charters and protocols such
as the AU instruments for the benefit of citizens.

8. Ensure that all children of Malawi are accorded the right to education and
protection irrespective of their background, social status, and physical abilities-
the education crisis concerning the school dropout by children with albinism in
fear of attacks must be investigated and mechanisms be put in place to ensure
that these children return to school

9. Prioritize youth development by establishing Parliamentary youth committee
and awarding young entrepreneurs 30% of public contracts as a response to
rising youth unemployment.

10. Ratify the Revised AU Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources and invest in climate change mitigation programmes.