You can vote for Zalissa’s Choice by Kinderpostzegels to recieve this year's Golden Radiator Award here.

This delicately shot short film looks at 14-year old Zalissa’s escape from child marriage. In Burkina Faso, 1 out of every 2 girls under the age of 18 must marry, which essentially means an end to education and professional opportunity. Zalissa’s grandfather--a man who had 30 wives--gave her away for marriage as soon as she was born.

The payment for this decision is due when she becomes a teenager. But Zalissa is the best student in her school and wants to continue her education. At first, her father says she must marry. Zalissa protests and begins to soften his conviction. Then, teachers from her school intervene on her behalf and break through.

“When I look back, I realize that child marriage is a tradition from the past, that we must discard,” Zalissa's father says in the film.

Now, Zalissa will finish her education. She wants to build a health center after college. It's clear she's going to have a huge influence on other girls in her community. Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.

What are the Radiator Awards?

Maybe some volunteer is spending her spring break in post-ebola Sierra Leone. Maybe she refills a hand sanitizer container and unloads some water from a truck. Clearly, the country would be doomed without these vital contributions and, clearly, the only sensible thing to do would be to capture it all with Snapchat.

Or perhaps an NGO wants to replenish its budget as the holiday season ramps up. Footage of starving and smiling children set to uplifting hymns should do the trick, right?

In the humanitarian world, the traps of self-satisfaction and misrepresentation are everywhere.

And The Radiator Awards wants to change that.

Started in 2012 with a humorous video called “Radi-aid Africa for Norway,” the organization aims to humorously challenge harmful stereotypes of Africans because, in their words, “stereotypes and simple solutions to complex problems are more damaging, than helping.”

Each year, “The Rusty Radiator Awards” recognize (and skewer) three videos that use stereotypes. For example: a guitar-strapped white guy singing a cheesy song of hope while walking through an impoverished camp in Africa.  

“The Golden Radiator Awards,” meanwhile, celebrate videos that accurately and creatively depict a situation or bust stereotypes.

Zalissa's Choice is one of 3 Golden Radiator finalists for this year. (You can vote for the winner here.)


Demand Equity

Zalissa wants to go to school, but child marriage stands in her way

By Joe McCarthy