Five journalists mentored by Internews’ Boresha Habari project have scooped seven of this year’s Excellence in Journalism Awards Tanzania (EJAT), held on May 28 in Dar es Salaam.
Zanzibar print reporter and blogger Haji Mohamed won two first places and says Internews deserves a lot of credit for his success:
“I feel as if I should give one of my awards to Internews! Their trainers offer so much more than theory. They follow up and mentor your field work, which really helps you to grow, as a journalist.”
Haji’s story on people with disabilities fighting for their rights through the courts won in the Disability category, while his ground-breaking report on the negative impact of traditional marriage dowries won in the Open category. Haji works for Zanzibar Leo newspaper, blogs at Pemba Today, and says the training he gets from the Boresha Habari program has given him new skills and boosted his confidence.
Radio reporter Isakwisa Mbyale is mentored by Boresha Habari project partner Nukta Africa and says when he heard he had also won an EJAT Award, he could not believe his ears:
“This is a great victory for me and Highlands FM since it is the first award for any of us. Last year, I competed and failed in three categories but didn’t give up. This year, I came first in Data Journalism for my story on stunted children in Mbeya, and second in Health for my story on COVID-19 vaccinations in border areas.”
EJAT winner Gladness Msetti is a radio reporter with Azam Media. After attending an Internews training for journalism graduates, she was selected for a three-month mentorship and says it helped a lot: “No one in our newsroom cares to guide you, so it was the skills I got from Internews that made me shine.”
Zanzibar Leo reporter Habiba Rukuni was also trained by Internews and won second prize in the Disability category for her story about blind entrepreneurs in Pemba.
Amour Ali of Zanzibar Cable TV won in the Culture and Sports category for his report on people with disabilities (PWDs) who play soccer. Amour says the training he received with Internews is having a big impact on his work, on his community, and on local media rivals:
“After my story aired, Zanzibar Sports promised to recognize the activities of people with disabilities, who have been ignored and neglected for so long. So, I’m grateful to Internews for teaching me how to report on the challenges that PWDs face every day. I’m also pleased that my work is getting noticed – other organisations such as Azam Media and ZBC TV are now consulting me on how to cover such stories.”
Amour’s award represents an historic first for ZCTV, which started broadcasting 21 years ago.
All first-placed EJAT winners received a certificate, a trophy, and TZS 500,000 (USD 215). The runners-up received a certificate and TZS 300,000 (USD 130). A total of 598 entries were received across 20 categories. EJAT is an annual event organized by the Media Council of Tanzania and other stakeholders.
Boresha Habari is a five-year Media and Civil Society Strengthening program implemented by Internews Tanzania and funded by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2021, Internews launched its Inclusive Media project to empower journalists to cover stories about people with disabilities, with the aim of promoting their dignity and raise their voices.
By Alakok Mayombo and Temi Mahondo, Internews Tanzania