Annual awards to recognise efforts of civil society activists

A group of civil society activists have started the Singapore Advocacy Awards (SAA), which aims to celebrate civil society's achievements and affirm its role in shaping society.

"There is a need to raise public awareness of advocacy, public education about civil society and the importance in engaging in civic activities. Citizens become stakeholders in the larger national narrative," said veteran activist and ex-president of Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) Ms Constance Singam. She launched the award at Select Books on Monday where veteran advocates such as heritage activist Professor William Lim turned up to show their support.

Organised by a group of activists called The Working Committee 3 (TWC3), the SAA is also seeking nominations of individuals and organisations that take it upon themselves to identify a societal need and show courage in taking action. The individual or organisation must have helped communities to drive change for themselves, inspired others to contribute to their community or given time, skills and resources to make a difference to society.

Three awards will be given out annually in August: Civil Society Advocate of the Year which goes to an individual, Civil Society Advocate Organisation of the Year and Most Promising New Civil Society Advocate of the Year. In addition, there will be an honours list which recognises those who have contributed to civil society across the years.

A panel of judges headed by arts educator and cultural medallion winner T Sasitharan will assess the nominations and pick the winners.

The judging panel includes academic Cherian George, architect Richard Ho, Nominated Member of Parliament and environmental activist Faizah Jamal, consultant Sharon Siddique, Ms Singam, medical doctor Wong Ting Hway and arts supporter and former diplomat Geoffrey Yu.

Anyone, including those who benefit from an organisation or individual's activities can make a nomination. One can nominate his organisation or the organisation he works for but there must be another person to second the nomination. Nomination forms can be downloaded and submitted online at singaporeadvocacyawards.org.

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