Guardian International Development Journalism Award winners announced
London – On 19th November the winners of the prestigious Guardian International Development Journalism Competition were announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Society for the Arts.
After the success of last year’s Guardian Development Journalism Competition, Marie Stopes International (MSI) partnered again with the Guardian newspaper for the 2009 awards. The Department for International Development (DFID) backed the competition as part of an initiative to raise public awareness of developing issues.
The awards encouraged journalists to cover underreported aspects of global poverty that deserve greater media exposure, such as maternal mortality in Nepal, deforestation in Tanzania, HIV in Lesotho and the plight of girl soldiers in Uganda returning home after conflict.
The articles entered for the competition have highlighted to the British public what is really happening around the world - making faraway issues more real, and helping locals understand the great work going on to strengthen societies in the developing world.
“Stories create connections and shrink the world reminding us that we are all one. And through such connections, we can motivate and inspire individuals to make a difference – to their own communities and to communities and countries around the world,” said MSI Chief Executive Dana Hovig at the Awards ceremony held in the end of November at the esteemed Royal Academy in London’s Piccadilly.
Hundreds of entrants submitted articles this year, and were narrowed down to sixteen finalists – eight amateurs, eight professionals. The finalists were then flown to a developing country and given assignments guided by a consortium of eight international NGOs led by MSI. The finalists’ articles were published in two Guardian newspaper supplements as well as on the Guardian online.
Nash Colundalur won the amateur category with his piece on the devastating impact of drought in northern Kenya. Preeti Jha was the professional winner with an article about how climate change is affecting pastoralist communities in the same region of Africa.
Alison Buckler received a special commendation in the amateur category for her piece for MSI about maternal health in Nepal. Mary Griffin received a special commendation in the professional category for her report on the Dalit women of Bangladesh and their struggle to end generations of oppression.
New for 2009 was an inaugural award for the people who have made a positive difference to the lives and livelihoods of some of the world's most marginalised people. The Guardian Achievements in International Development Award was a further way to bring the stories of some of the unsung heroes helping to reduce poverty around the world to the attention of the British public.
The public voted on a shortlist of five candidates for this new category, and chose Maggy Barankitse. Barankitse, nominated by ActionAid, runs Maison Shalom (or ‘House of Peace’), a home for children orphaned by conflict and HIV/Aids in the small town of Ruyigi in Burundi. Barankitse has helped over 30,000 children and families, including many orphaned or wounded in the massacres of the Burundian civil war or the genocide in Rwanda.
“The Guardian is delighted that with this new award, we can share these outstanding local success stories with our global audience,” said Elisabeth Ribbans, managing editor of the Guardian.
For further information on the achievements awards, and Barankitse’s Maison Shalom, please visit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/achievementsaward.