A panel of MEPs singled out The Shona Project’s SHINE Festival, which hosted thousands of young students over two days across the country last year, for the Parliament’s highest honour.
Waterford-based non-profit organisation for young women and girls The Shona Project has been awarded the European Citizens’ Prize, which is awarded every year by the European Parliament to recognise exceptional achievements by people and groups in the EU.
The organisation was nominated jointly by Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan and Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, who recognised the stellar work The Shona Project has undertaken to build a network of young women and host discussions on a massive range of issues facing young women in Ireland today, from period poverty to racism to the pressures of social media.
In particular the nomination recognised the Shona Project’s work in hosting the SHINE Festival over two days in October of last year. The festival brought together thousands of young women around International Day of the Girl both at an in-person event in Dublin and streamed live into school gyms and sports halls around the country. The festival focused on careers, body positivity, activism and health, women in sport and women in STEM. A series of videos also paid homage to the late Vicky Phelan, who became a role model following her campaign for cervical cancer victims.
Following the announcement of the win today, Tammy Darcy, Founder and CEO of The Shona Project said: “We are thrilled to win this prestigious award and incredibly grateful to Grace O’Sullivan and Chris MacManus for the recognition. The Shona Project is more than a nonprofit organisation it is a movement for change where every girl in Ireland has a part to play in creating a future where they can all thrive and achieve their potential. This award will help us to continue to grow our impact and achieve our ambitious strategic goals.”
Speaking from Brussels, MEP Grace O’Sullivan said “I cannot overstate just how happy I am to learn today that The Shona Project’s SHINE Festival has won this EU award. It is testament to the work and dedication of Tammy Darcy and the whole Shona Project team who put together an amazing festival for young women and girls across Ireland. I look forward to the awards ceremony in Brussels in November.”
The Shona Project was launched in September 2016 by Waterford woman Tammy Darcy and is named after her sister who recently passed away. The project has worked with over 100,000 teenage girls all over Ireland and has distributed over 60,000 free copies of its “Survival Handbook for Girls” to individuals and schools since it was founded.
Awarded every year by the European Parliament, the European Citizen’s Prize rewards projects run by citizens and organisations demonstrating cooperation, mutual understanding and the promotion of European common values and fundamental rights. In 2022, Nasc Migrant Youth and mental health organisation Jigsaw won the prize for Ireland.