Singer, performer and composer Bernice Pitroipa, from Ouagadougou, won the global category prize for her song, Mpa koss yé (J’ai pas demandé) [I didn’t ask]. The Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe (MCAZ) Students Band, from Harare, came first in the grassroots category with their song, Vana Ava [Children]. Both winning entries raise awareness of child labour and its impact on millions of children and families around the world.
More than 200 entries from over 50 countries were entered into the competition, which invited professional and amateur musicians to submit songs that raise awareness of child labour and encourage people to take a stand.
The competition was launched as part of the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, which is being led by the ILO. The winning entries were announced at a virtual event to mark World Day Against Child Labour on 10 June.
When I saw the information about the contest I did not hesitate to apply because I feel concerned by everything that touches upon the well-being of children, I think we all have our something to contribute no matter what field we are in."Bernice, Singer, Burkina Faso
“I am very honored to receive this award,” she said. “When I saw the information about the contest I did not hesitate to apply because I feel concerned by everything that touches upon the well-being of children, I think we all have our something to contribute no matter what field we are in.”
The grassroots category winners are students at the Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe, in Harare. They work together to create musical productions that communicate powerful messages to local communities.
As young children in Africa we see ourselves working hard from such a tender age and it leads us to drop out of school."Panashe Arundel Matoi, Member of the MCAZ Studends Band, Zimbabwe
“The issue of child labor is an important issue for us as a band,” said Panashe Arundel Matoi, one of the members of the band. “As young children in Africa we see ourselves working hard from such a tender age and it leads us to drop out of school, so this was really an important topic for us as a band.”
The winners were chosen by a celebrity panel of artists:
- Juan Diego Flórez, opera singer and President of Sinfonía por el Perú.
- Ralph Johnson, Grammy-award winning singer with the band Earth, Wind and Fire.
- Lokua Kanza, award-winning singer, songwriter, composer and producer.
- Laura Pausini, Grammy, Latin Grammy, Golden Globes award-winning singer-songwriter and Oscar nominee.
- A.R. Rahman, Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe-winning composer and singer songwriter.
CLEAR Cotton category winnersThe celebrity jury also selected the winners of the competition’s CLEAR Cotton category. The ILO's CLEAR Cotton Project, co-funded by the European Union, is active in Burkina Faso, Mali, Pakistan and Peru and this special award category was open to national artists with songs highlighting issues related to cotton production and the national context.
The CLEAR Cotton category awards were won by musicians from the four countries where the project is being implemented, in Burkina Faso, Béné Starr (Benewend); in Mali, Virginie Dembélé; in Pakistan, Ahmed Faraz and finally in Peru, José Julio Zevallos Del Carpio. Winners will showcase during national World Day Against Child Labour celebrations in June.
For more information about the competition and the winning artists, visit the Music Against Child Labour webpage.
The CLEAR Cotton project, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by the ILO in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), combats child labour in Burkina Faso, Mali, Pakistan and Peru by supporting the efforts of governments, social partners and the cotton sector actors at national level and by empowering communities and stakeholders.