Winners of the Now-Us! Creativity and Innovation 2024

On April 5, 2024, CDEA organized the second Now-Us Awards, this time with a focus on celebrating organizations in Tanzania and the East African region,  that use creativity and innovation to contribute to economic, social and environment impact.

CDEA’s mission is to support multi-stakeholders’ to use culture, creativity and ICTs as resources to stimulate the creative economy, achieve social justice and environmental balance within the East African Community through a gender lens. In addition, CDEA’s motto is “Promoting creativity and innovation”.  It is against this background that CDEA  organized these awards to amplify and  celebrate champions in organizations in Tanzania and the wider East African region who have excelled in the  use of (a) artistic/ creative expression, (b) media (animation, film, radio)  and (c) immersive technologies (augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed realities) for sustainable development impact.

Below are the nine  award winners!

Brian Afande – Winner, Creative Economy Category (Kenya)

Brian Afande, from Black Rhino VR, believes in empowering African youth through immersive technology. As a creative technologist, he accelerates the adoption of XR tools, enabling youth to innovate and create new economic opportunities. Brian’s mission is to democratize XR technologies in Africa, making a positive impact on the continent’s development.

The jury selected Brian Afande as the winner of  the creative economy award (East Africa), for his excellence  for launching Africa’s first, user friendly augmented reality (AR) platform designed to empower content creators within the creative economy to rapidly build and publish AR content.

Princely Hope-Glorious – Winner, Creative Economy

Princely Hope-Glorious is the founding partner of OnaStories Group in Tanzania, specializing in storytelling and emerging technologies. He also serves as the Communications Director of the US/Tanzania ICT Partnership and leads Fikiri, a community focused on generating ideas and action. With over 13 years of experience, Princely has played a key role in developing an ecosystem for creative technologists, storytellers, and artists in emerging media like AI and XR (AR and VR) in Tanzania. He has trained and produced work for prestigious organizations such as the United Nations Tanzania, USAID, Songas, CRDB Bank, Vodacom, and more.

The jury selected Princely Glorious as the winner of the creative economy award for his excellence in the  use Augmented Reality (AR) and digital storytelling to attain  economic impact for Onastories and its creative community.

Francisca Damian – Winner, Women Economic Empowerment Category

Francisca Damian, a feminist Sociologist and MEL specialist, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Ladies Joint Forum in Tanzania. With a decade of experience, she leads projects like Female Photographers, Dada Kuoka, Sewing for Future, and Za Kwetu fashion show, directly impacting over 1000 women and girls.

The jury selected Francisca Damian because of her innovative approach to women’s empowerment through photography which drives change and economic growth, showcasing her commitment to gender equality.

Gwamaka Mwabuka – Winner, Girls’ and Women’s Education Category

Gwamaka Mwabuka, a visionary creative producer from Tanzania, is renowned for his contributions to 3D animation and storytelling. With eight years of experience, he has established himself as a masterful producer and director, dedicated to creating films that ignite positive change.

In 2016, Gwamaka co-founded Tai Animation Studio, driving the production of cutting-edge 3D animation content across East and Central Africa. His work has garnered global recognition, collaborating with organizations such as UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, and more. Gwamaka is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Digital Narratives, specializing in immersive storytelling.

The jury selected Gwamaka Mwabuka as the winner of girls and women’s education award for his excellence in the use of animation for promoting social change.

Sagal Ali – Winner, Girls and Women’s Education (Somalia)

Sagal Ali is an art and cultural heritage professional. She specializes in arts and heritage in the aftermath of conflict. Sagal’s ongoing work and research investigate the efficacy of art in post-conflict reconstruction. She considers art and heritage not merely about objects, monuments, and practices but rather about the re-visioning and reconstruction of people’s identities at risk. Sagal seeks to understand how the destruction and subsequent selective reconstruction of Somali art and cultural heritage will affect notions of belonging and identities.

In September 2020, Sagal launched the Somali Arts Foundation (SAF), the first independent contemporary arts institution in the history of Somalia. The main purpose behind SAF is to promote and create conducive environments for contemporary art to flourish, while also leveraging the arts to ignite critical discourses around issues of identity, trauma, and healing.

The jury selected Sagal Ali as the winner of the Girls’ and Women’s Education Award (East Africa) for her incredible work of promoting Girls and Women’s Education through the visual arts  at the Somali Arts Foundation.

Aluwa Hamis Mkilindi – Winner, Gender-Based Violence Category

Aluwa Hamis Mkilindi, a 29-year-old Tanzanian woman, is a visionary artist and founder of “Theatre Arts Feminists.” With seven years of experience in the Gender Movement, she utilizes participatory arts to advocate for women, girls, and children’s rights. Aluwa’s work has reached over 27,000 individuals across regions, focusing on educating both school-going and non-formally educated girls.

Despite challenges, her commitment to empowering communities affected by gender-based violence remains steadfast. Through her inclusive approach, incorporating traditional dances, she has transformed community perspectives and increased reporting of gender-based violence incidents. In 2023, Wildaf honored her as the Best Artist in Advocating Against Gender-Based Violence.

The jury selected Aluwa  the Gender-Based Violence award for her dedication to using theatre arts for education, empowerment, and community transformation in the fight against gender-based violence.

Hassan Kiyungi – Winner, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Category

Hassan Kiyungi is a seasoned creative organizer and project management expert with four years of experience in designing, coordinating, and assessing the impact of youth creative arts and media projects. He is the founder and Executive Director of Mema Afrika, a youth storytelling-based initiative.

In 2022, Hassan launched Simulizi, a film festival dedicated to providing accurate SRH information to youth through film screenings and intergenerational dialogues. Simulizi was selected among the top six finalists from 800 participants across 13 countries in the UNFPA East and Southern Africa’s Innovation Hacklab. Hassan believes in the power of storytelling for social change.

The jury selected Hassan for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) award as the result of his experience and innovative approach through film and storytelling, and his focus on youth education.

Felix Masinda – Winner, Mental Health Awareness Creation

At MentifyTz, mental well-being is a priority, and holistic care is their driving force. They offer exceptional listening services through compassion, creating a warm and supportive environment for open expression. Their unwavering commitment ensures a non-judgmental and empathetic approach, fostering connections for lasting mental wellness. Their service goes beyond mere services; it’s a vow of transformation, empowering individuals to navigate life’s hurdles, build resilience, and unlock their full potential.

The jury selected Felix for Mental Health Awareness Creation award because of his excellence in the use of mentify podcast in creating a safe space to talk about the mental health issues and break the STIGMA.

Nazzinda Ruth – Winner, Mental Health Awareness Creation (Uganda)

Nazzinda Ruth is the Executive Director at Garage Women Foundation, a filmmaker at Film Garage Studios, and a Film Jury member in Film Festivals. Passionate about documentary storytelling that impacts communities, Ruth is a Ugandan and a multi-award winner. She studied Film/Media at the University of Cape Town SA and is an alumni of Buganda Royal Institute, Ladima Film Academy, DFMI Talents Durban, Berlin School of Podcast, Creatures Animation Studio, and DW Akademie.

Her directed films include “Mmamba Anime,” “To Survive,” “Beyond Schools UCT,” “UN Women Ug Women Rise Up,” and “Out from the Dark,” a film about mental health depression awareness recognized and awarded in film festivals worldwide. She has been honored at Accra Indie Film Fest, Serenity screening UK, African Human Rights SA, Women in Film Switzerland, TAFF, Unified Filmmaker Germany, and SDGs Action Film United Nations. Ruth is also a partner and mental health advocate at LEM UG. Her first feature documentary “Revenge Porn UG” is in the development stage, requiring co-production.

The jury selected Ruth Nazzinda as the winner of the mental health awareness creation award (East Africa) , for her excellence in the  use documentary film and storytelling for social impact.

Doreen Odemba – Winner, HIV/AIDS Category

The Doreen Odemba Foundation (DOF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2020 and registered on April 19, 2022. DOF focuses on four strategic areas: Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Economic Empowerment and Innovation, Advocacy, and Community Education on HIV/AIDS.

Their vision is to create a community that cares for people living with HIV/AIDS without stigmatization, providing reliable services and contributing to sustainable national development. DOF advocates for accessible HIV/AIDS health services, provides education and counseling to the community and people living with HIV/AIDS, and aims to remove stigma for sustainable development.

The jury selected Doreen Odemba for HIV/AIDS award for her excellence use of  broadcast media in advocating and providing education to the community about HIV/AIDS.

Lucas Elineema – Winner, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

Najali, an innovation by Lucas Elineema, a student of Engineering in Textile Technology, started in 2017 after noticing the challenges faced by girls in rural areas in accessing sanitary pads easily. He has developed cost-effective reusable pads using material science.

Najali’s goals are to revolutionize menstrual care by providing eco-friendly, affordable, and enjoyable alternatives. They envision a world where menstruation is celebrated, and sustainable options are easily accessible to girls, leading to a positive impact on the environment and women’s health. This includes breaking the stigma around menstruation by teaching girls in school how to take care of themselves during their periods.

The jury selected Lucas Elineema for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) award for his commitment to improving menstrual hygiene management through his innovative design of  sanitary pads for young women.

Kelvin Nicholaus – Winner, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Kelvin Nicholaus, CEO of Africraft, is a dedicated changemaker in environmental sustainability. Leading impactful initiatives at Africraft NGO, he focuses on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Education, and Health.

Through innovative projects, Kelvin strives to drive positive change in waste management and circular economy practices. With over 8 years of experience, he leads the organization in addressing environmental challenges while fostering economic opportunities for youth, women, and people living with disabilities. Kelvin is committed to contributing to a greener and more resilient future.

The jury selected Kelvin Nicholaus for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation award for his innovative projects that strives to drive positive change in waste management and circular economy practices and uses of creativity to produce functional products through waste.

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