UNESCO sponsors Disaster Risk Reduction and Public Health Emergencies Journalist of the Year Award


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN) journalist Munashe Mukahlera won the Disaster Risk Reduction and Public Health Emergencies Journalist of the Year award at the National Journalism and Media Awards (NJAMA) 2021 held in Harare on November.

UNESCO sponsored the award through the International Programme for the Development t of Communication (IPDC). The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) worked in partnership with the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (UNESCO ROSA) to strengthen the capacity of Zimbabwean journalists to respond more swiftly and accurately on climate change issues. Journalists’ coverage of climate change impact is essential to support citizens in informed decision making for sustainable development and averting potential disasters and loss of lives. 

ZUJ conducted five workshops on natural disasters and climate change reporting in Zimbabwe’s five major cities: Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo, raising awareness on national disaster policies and processes. The workshops saw approximately 125 journalists’ capacities strengthened in Reporting on Disaster Risk Reduction and Public Health Emergencies. 

In addition, ZUJ produced the Handbook on Reporting Disaster Risk Reduction and Public Health Emergencies in Zimbabwe. The handbook provides comprehensive guidance to Journalists on the mechanics of reporting natural disasters and public health emergencies. 

Speaking during the NJAMA awards ceremony, Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr Alex Gasasira said, “through providing accurate and reliable information the media should inspire people to be part of the solutions in national development challenges”.

"They [the media] should advocate for quality education, universal health care, gender equality and sustainable development goals in which no one is left behind."  — Dr Alex Gasasira, Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator

Presenting on behalf of the judges, Mr Geofrey Nya said the judges felt the competition would have been more exciting with increased diversity of entries from media houses, especially community newspapers as well as more entries from the broadcasting sector, notably radio.

NJAMA is a prestigious annual event coordinated by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) in partnership with national sponsors and partners. In 2021, the competition had 18 categories, of which 13 winners walked away with certificates and cash prizes.  The list of awarded journalists is available here

UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries. Over the last 40 years, IPDC has mobilized more than US$ 120 million for over 2000 projects in more than 140 developing countries and countries in transition. 

IPDC invites editorially-independent media organizations, professional associations of media workers, or institutions offering regular media development services to submit proposals for small grants related to IPDC  priority areas. Consult the IPDC website for guidelines on how to submit a project proposal.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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