By Terry Xu
The Singapore Advocacy Awards (SAA) was launched by an activist group, The Working Committee 3 (TWC3). The aim of the awards is to celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations of the civil society in Singapore and affirm their role in shaping society.
The Working Committee 3 (TWC3) is the successor after the two civil society groups, The Working Committee (TWC) and TWC2 (which was renamed to Transient Workers Count too, an organization which renders assistance to foreign workers in Singapore).
Former president of Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) Ms Constance Singam said in the launch of the awards, “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”.
The symbol chosen for the awards is an inverted ‘A’ (for Advocacy). The group in charge of the awards say that this idea of using the invert ‘A’ stems from the idea of the ‘tipping point’, which in sociology is defined as ‘a point in time when a group —or a large number of group members— rapidly and dramatically changes its behavior by widely adopting a previously rare practice’.
TWC3 states that Civil society has a pivotal role to play in the development of a democratic society. Citizens must be able to play a part in the shaping in their community. There much be space for varying visions of the future for vigorous debate of these different approaches and for continued discussion after a decision had been made and public policies put in place.
SAA is seeking nominations of individuals and organisations whom have contributed to this process. Apart from this, 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 in August each year:
- Individual Award : Civil Society Advocate of the Year
- Civil Society Advocate Organisation of the Year
- 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.
On whether or not there will be a cash reward element in the awards still remains as a question as there was a heated debate on the issue during the Q & A session after the launch of the event.
Nominations can be submitted from January 2014 to 20th June 2014. Anyone including people who benefit from the group, organisation or individual’s activities may make a nomination.
Nomination forms can be obtained and submitted online at Singaporeadvocacyawards.org.