Zimbabwe: Herald Scribe Scoops Award

16 October 2020

Herald senior reporter Tendai Rupapa came out tops in Southern Africa in the online category of the Merck Foundation "Stay at home" media recognition awards.

African Argument journalist, Andrew Mambondiyani, came second in the same category.

The other Zimbabwean prize winner was Zimbabwe Independent reporter, Bridget Mananavire, who took second position in the print category, with Adolf Kaure from Namibia and Henry Sinyangwe from Zambia in first position.

Rupapa walked away US$500 richer, while Mambondiyani and Mananavire got US$300 each.

In addition, the journalists will be provided with one-year access to online educational training Master Class programme which will give experience and a self-paced learning course to motivate them.

There were other winners from Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi and South Africa, who competed in the four categories of online, print, multimedia and radio.

The awards were announced in partnership with First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who is the Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother in Zimbabwe.

Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, which seeks to improve the health and well-being of people and advance their lives, primarily focusing on improving access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities.

The foundation, in partnership with the First Lady, called on journalists countrywide to submit their published articles which focused on "raising awareness on how to stay safe and keep physically and mentally healthy during coronavirus lockdown".

Announcing the awards, Merck Foundation chief executive Dr Rasha Kelej, said her organisation believed in the critical role that the media plays in raising awareness about sensitive and pressing issues such as the coronavirus global pandemic.

"This initiative was launched to appreciate and recognise the distinguished reportage and the exceptional work of journalists who frequently covered the impact and shared facts and information related to the Covid-19 pandemic in their countries," she said.

"We would like to extend our gratitude to all the applicants for participating in the awards."

Dr Kelej said the call for entries was announced for Africa in three groups: French, English and Portuguese-speaking African countries.

The overwhelming response from English-speaking countries saw Merck Foundation awards committee further creating more awards for East Africa, West Africa and Southern Africa to give equal opportunities to each region.

Dr Kelej said the three winners from Zimbabwe stood out in a group of impressive applicants.

"The entries were reviewed by looking for stories and media work that are most creative and influential, aiming to raise awareness and sensitise communities about the alarming topic on Covid-19 pandemic on a regular basis, adhering to the highest journalistic principles," she said.

Merck Foundation said the valuable contribution from the winners in sensitising their communities about Covid-19 encouraged the organisation to additionally reward them all to become Merck Foundation alumni and provide them with a year's access to online educational training programme called "MasterClass."

"This offering from Merck Foundation aims to motivate passionate journalists to continue writing and advocating for social, economic and health issues across their countries," said the foundation.

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