From left: Diraj founder, David Owino with media award winners, Ruth Keah Kadide, Kenya, Dicta Asiimwe, Uganda, Mai Elshafei, Egypt, and UNISDR head, Mami Mizutori
By Brigitte Leoni
TUNIS, 15 October, 2018 - Over 100 stories on disaster risk were submitted from 16 countries for the first Africa Media Awards and the winners were announced on International Day for Disaster Reduction at the Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction.
“Disasters are exciting events to cover but it can be more satisfying to dig deeper into the root causes of these events in the hope that they can be addressed,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori.
The Awards were organised by UNISDR and Diraj, the Disaster Risk Reduction Network of African Journalists.
Ms. Mizutori presented the best DRR story award to Ms Ruth Keah Kadide of Radio Rahma, Mombasa, Kenya, for her story “Skeleton River” on the negative impact of climate change on communities dependent on rivers on Kenya’s coast and possible solutions to reduce community exposure.
The second category: the best DRR story with a human angle was given to Ms. Dicta Asiimwe, special correspondent for The East African, Uganda, for her story “Will forcing pastoralists to grow crops deliver food security for East Africa?” The story explains how pastoralists preferred to stick to their traditional way of living to anticipate drought and consequent famine.
The third category, the best investigative story was awarded to
Mr. Romain Dekadjevi from Radio Tokpa, Benin, for his story on erosion and the Grand Popo River.
Ms. Mai Elshafei from Egyptian broadcasting TV from Egypt received the special recognition for her consistent DRR reporting.
The UNISDR DIRAJ Media award is an initiative to encourage the media across the region to deepen public understanding of disaster risk and to spread awareness of the drivers of disaster risk in the community.
“This is a good start. We did not get so many entries from the Arab states, but this I believe will change as now there is increased interest of journalists from all over the region to work together with our network – DIRAJ,” said David Owino, founder of the network.
“The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction encourages media to be an active partner in its implementation and the award is a recognition of the important role the media plays in raising awareness and educating the public. We hope that the initiative will continue to prosper and that many more journalists will submit their work for consideration at the next awards ceremony,” said Ms. Mizutori.
The jury was comprised of four members; UNISDR staff: Ragy Saro and Brigitte Leoni, and DIRAJ membersr: Fabiola Monty and Edward Wanyonyi.