2021 Isu Elihle Awards winners!

Media Release 

25 November  2021

2021 Isu Elihle Awards winners!

JOHANNESBURG, 25 November 2021- Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and UNICEF announced the 2021 lsu Elihle Awards winner on Thursday 25 November 2021. Isu Elihle is an isiZulu phrase that means a “Great Idea” when translated to English, these Awards were launched in 2016 and has been running for five years. Over a hundred applications were received from nineteen African countries which shows a huge growth. These Awards aim to encourage fresh reporting, innovative approaches and insightful investigations that seek to give children a voice and elevate the status of the child all over Africa. In the past two years, the awards were open only for journalists in the Eastern and Southern Africa but from 2018, journalists from all over Africa were included. 

We are excited to announce this year’s winners: 1st prize and overall winner of the 2021 Awards goes to Dorcas Wangira who is an early career journalist based in Kenya, she is passionate about science and human-interest features. She recently started working for BBC. Dorcas is awarded for her two-part series coverage on children titled, “Born in prison”. She receives a cash prize of ZAR25 000 after being ranked the overall winner by a panel of judges who are media practitioners. The judges commented on her reporting by saying, “Excellent series, a lot of time and effort was taken to present the issue comprehensively and from all angles. I love the inclusion of things like the drawings of children whose mothers were in prison and their memories of time there. The Journalist engaged the issues with sensitivity, and you never got an impression of secondary trauma to the children involved. The stories were comprehensive and gave the reader a full picture. The article was very clear at drawing the two video reports together and then packaging the whole series together in a way that was comprehensive and showed the legal and ethical challenges, held the powerful accountable and presented options for the future. Very well done”. Read her story here

The second prize of ZAR15 000 goes to Robyn Wolfson Vorster for her four-part series published in the Daily Maverick, it talks about the untold stories of missing children in South Africa. Robyn focuses on writing and advocating for changes in legislation and policy regarding children and giving vulnerable children a voice. The judges commented on her story saying, “This is a thorough exploration of the issues that used beautiful imagery and personal accounts to highlight the issues surrounding missing children in South Africa. Despite the challenges in accessing these children, the journalist was creative in her approach and ensured that although often ‘voiceless’ these children were presented as the focus. She also accessed other children about their opinions, giving them the ability to fully participate in the conversation about issues that affect them”. Vorster is also the winner of the The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category which is awarded to a journalist who show remarkable bravery towards holding governments and relevant institutions accountable to ensure that the rights of children on the continent are met. She receives an additional R10 000. Read the story here.

The 3rd prize of ZAR10 000 goes to Caroline Ayugi for her two-part series about how the education department’s limited digital tools slow down learners with visual impairment. Her article is titled, UGANDA: Education system, limited digital tools slow down persons with visual impairment. Her experience in working as an online content producer for Oysters & Pearls-Uganda, a charity that Cultivates Education and Technology and among the visually impaired for the past three years has helped her to identify and write more underreported stories about the challenges Persons with Disabilities in Uganda face. The judges commented on her reporting saying, “This is an interesting and engaging article. While a lot has been written about Covid’s impact on the education system, the experiences and lived realities of children with disabilities, especially in rural and technologically disadvantaged districts, is largely under-represented. It was refreshing to hear from these children as individuals with agency instead of seeing them lumped into a homogenous grouping. Read the story here.

The 2021 application date will be announced early next year, we call upon journalists from all over Africa to enter the awards. Congratulations to all the winners!

For further information, please contact:

Girlie Sibanda, Project Coordinator

girlies@mma.org.za; 011 788 1278

Meet the lsu Elihle 2021 top six finalists!

On Wednesday 30 June 2021 the lsu Elihle Awards finalists where announced during an awards ceremony held online by Media Monitoring Africa and UNICEF. South Africa’s Robyn Wolfson Vorster, Uganda’s Caroline Ayugi, Kenya’s Thomas Mwiraria Murithi and Dorcas Wangira, Zimbabwe’s Farai Shawn Matiashe and Nigeria’s Stephanie Ohumu where announce as top contenders.

Robyn Wolfson Vorster

Robyn Wolfson Vorster is a South African freelance journalist with a special focus on children.  With a background in social sciences, and experience in consulting and project management, Robyn left the corporate sector nine years ago to focus on writing about and advocating for changes to legislation and policy regarding children, and giving vulnerable children a voice.  Since then she has published more than 60 articles about children, mostly for the Daily Maverick.  She is married to Neil and mom of four, including her beautiful daughter Asha, whose adoption inspired her focus on child rights.  You can find her at https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/author/robynwolfsonvorster/ or https://www.facebook.com/forthevoicelesssa/

Caroline Ayugi

Caroline Ayugi is a freelance journalist based in Gulu, Northern Uganda. Her first major story contributions, which were on the recovery of Northern Uganda from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war, got published by Institute for War and Peace Reporting based in London. 

She has also worked for The New Vision and The Observer Uganda newspapers, news editor at two radio stations in northern Uganda and a bureau chief at Uganda Radio Network, a news agency.

Caroline, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Makerere University and Public Administration from Gulu University currently contributes stories for The Cooperator News, Uganda Radio Network and Daily Monitor.

Her experience in working as an online content producer for Oysters & Pearls-Uganda, a charity that Cultivates Education and Technology and among the visually impaired for the past three years has helped her to identify and write more underreported stories about the challenges Persons with Disabilities in Uganda face.

Stephanie .l. Ohumu

S.I Ohumu is a journalist focused on social impact stories at the intersection of youth, gender equity, mental wellness, and climate action. She has worked as an investigative journalist and producer for the Emmy nominated documentary, ‘Sex for Grades’ by the BBC Africa Eye, which exposed sexual harassment in West African universities. The film led to the passing of the anti-sexual harassment bill at the Nigerian senate, and the dismissal of predatory professors.

She is currently Content Producer at Radio Now 95.3 FM where she produces cross-platform stories using text, sound, and short-form video, to hold power accountable.

Her writing has appeared in Ours Magazine, This is Africa, Tech Cabal, been exhibited at Venice Biennale, and web series on climate action syndicated by YNaija. She is a regional representative of the National Youth Climate Innovation Hub.

Farai Shawn Matiashe 

Farai Shawn Matiashe is an award-winning journalist based in Mutare, Zimbabwe who writes for various international media outlets including Aljazeera, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Vice World News, The Africa Report and Quartz Africa. Farai, who has reported from more than five countries including those in Europe, is passionate about rural reporting where he covers marginalised groups including women and children. Farai’s articles are solution-driven and go beyond just highlighting challenges communities face. 

Dorcas Wangira 

Dorcas Wangira is an early career journalist passionate about science and human-interest features. She is a Features reporter working with Citizen Television, Kenya’s leading TV network. She has previously worked as a special projects reporter and news correspondent for KTN NEWS, Kenya’s only 24-hour news network.

She believes in the power of the human spirit and in amplifying the voices of those often left behind and at the fringes of society. She produces Your Story, a weekly segment . Her work explores social issues and she is often tasked with explaining complex science issues in a simple way, putting a human face to every story.

For her work, she has received the 2020 MERCK Stay at Home Award for East African Countries, 2019 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling, 2019 AJEA Award for I.C.T. T.V.  Reporting, 2019 MERCK Award for Multimedia Infertility Reporting for East African Countries, and the Zimeo 2017 Award for Climate Change and Conservation reporting. She has also been shortlisted for the 2018 Upstream Oil and Gas Journalist of the Year Award, the UK Foreign Press 2017 Young Journalist Award and the 2015 Mohamed Amin Africa Media Award People’s Choice Award. 


An avid reader, Dorcas is passionate about African literature and how the oral and written tradition is central even to news writing. Her vision is clearly spelled out as “disturbing the comfortable; comforting the disturbed.”

Thomas Mwiraria Murithi

Thomas Mwiraria is an award-winning multimedia- Journalist, Writer at heart, and Author with a passion for producing solution-based stories about social justice and environment. He is currently Wildlife Reporting grantee of Infoline, Visual Story-Teller at Hashtag our stories, International Centre for Journalist, and Facebook Journalism Project. 

His health story about poverty-related-plague that had affected over 200,000 children in Uganda won Thomson Foundation’s Journalism Now Scholar Prize in 2019.  In 2018 he was awarded Eco-Warrior Award by Eco-Tourism Kenya for Promoting the People, Culture, and Heritage. 

He was previously a digital journalist at NTV-Kenya and Nation Africa where he produced over 50 public interest stories. For his passion work in Journalism over the last five years , Mwiraria has been awarded several Fellowships notably Facebook and Aga khan University Mobile Video Journalism Fellowship 2020, Climate tracker sustainable Diets fellowship 2020, Infonile wildlife reporting fellowship 2020, and 2021 scholarship award to study Master of arts in digital journalism and communications at The Agakhan University Graduate School of Media Studies. 

Mwiraria lives in Nairobi with his house lizards, but he is open for Cross-border journalism because he believes the future of journalism is collaboration. 

The Isu Elihle Awards 2021 finalists will be announce on the 30th of June!

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and UNICEF will announce the Isu Elihle Awards 2021 finalists on the 30th of June 2021 at 4:30 pm (SAST). We would like to invite journalists and reporters to join us as we make this huge announcement.

Date: 30 June 2021

Time: 16:30 pm (SAST)

Rsvp link: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYsd-CgpzgvHdUR3JPFc03Mt9VfaR3oMhfN 

This year we have received over a hundred story ideas from nineteen African countries. Six journalists will be given an amazing opportunity to publish their child-centered stories. These finalists will be announced during an online awards ceremony.

The awards seek to contribute to a change in attitudes and behaviors of opinion and decision-makers and citizens across the country and continent from the premise that the media frames debates in society and carries enormous influence and, therefore, ability to drive positive change. This year marks five years since these Awards were launched.

 MMA’s awards seek to give children a voice and highlight the status of children in our continent Journalists behind these ideas will each receive guaranteed financial support of ZAR 10 000. MMA will also offer support to the finalists to develop their concepts. The final stories will be ranked and the final cash prizes will be awarded as follows: ZAR 25 000 (Overall Winner); ZAR 15 000 (2nd place); ZAR 10 000 (Third Place).

Project coordinator Girlie Sibanda said, “We are excited to see that the lsu Elihle Awards are gaining traction from the African continent. We have received over a hundred entries of powerful African story ideas .lt is heartwarming to see that journalists are still passionate about telling children’s stories despite the global pandemic that we are all facing”

For more details visit the Isu Elihle Award’s website www.isuelihle.org


For enquiries please contact:
Girlie Sibanda
girlies@mma.org.za
or
isuelihle@mma.org.za

Entries for the lsu Elihle Awards close in three days!

The applications for the lsu Elihle Awards close at midnight on the 30 th of April 2021. Journalists are encouraged to submit their story ideas before or on the deadline indicated above.

These ideas will go through an adjudication process, undertaken by a distinguished panel of judges. Following the adjudication process, the top six finalists will be announced in June online and across our social media platforms. Each finalist will receive financial support of R10 000.The final stories will be ranked once they have been published or broadcast, and the final cash prizes will be awarded: ZAR 25 000 (Overall Winner); ZAR 15 000 (2nd place); ZAR 10 000 (Third Place). The media can play an important role in protecting and promoting children’s rights and, in many instances, in exposing their abuses and triumphs. This is informed by the belief that children are not a homogenous group and deserve protection of their rights in all stages of their lives from early childhood development right up until they are legally considered to be adults.


The Isu Elihle Awards therefore aim to encourage alternative thinking around reporting on children, and to contribute to an environment that enables journalists to expose and highlight issues affecting children in the country and the continent.

Kathryn Cleary 2020 winner said that children are the future, but more importantly, they are the now, and that needs to be reflected in journalism.

For more details, terms and conditions as well as the Application Form visit the Isu Elihle Award’s website www.isuelihle.org


For enquiries please contact:
Girlie Sibanda
girlies@mma.org.za
or
isuelihle@mma.org.za

Entries for the lsu Elihle Awards close in ten days!

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and UNICEF encourages African journalists to enter for its child-centred journalism awards as entries close in ten days. Story ideas are to be submitted by midnight on the 30th of April 2021.

The Isu Elihle Awards were launched in 2016 by MMA with the support of Save the Children International, the Swedish International Development Agency and Media Network on Child Rights Development (MNCRD) based in Zambia. The awards seek to contribute to a change in attitudes and behaviours of opinion and decision-makers and citizens across the country and continent from the premise that the media frames debates in society and carries enormous influence and, therefore, ability to drive positive change.

Story ideas can be targeted at any mainstream news medium such as TV, Radio or Online. The top six ideas will be selected and announced during an awards ceremony in June 2021. The journalists behind these will each receive an award trophy and a guaranteed financial support of ZAR 10 000. MMA will also offer support to the finalists to develop their concepts. individual journalists must take sole responsibility to approach a mainstream media should their story idea be selected as part of the top six.

Project Coordinator at MMA, Girlie Sibanda says, “These awards are meant to give journalists an opportunity to prioritise children’s issues in their reporting by granting them support throughout their journey when writing about them. lf we all work hard to promote great reporting on children and give them a voice we secure them a brighter future”.

For more details, terms and conditions as well as the Application Form visit the Isu Elihle Award’s website www.isuelihle.org

For enquiries please contact:

Girlie Sibanda

girlies@mma.org.za

Or

isuelihle@mma.org.za

Entries open for the 2021 lsu Elihle Awards !


Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is excited to officially open the applications for the 2021 lsu Elihle Awards. Journalists within the African continent are invited to apply for these Awards which open today (01 April 2021) and close on the 30th of April 2021. MMA is also proud to announce its partnership with UNICEF for this years awards. This partnership will surely help us enhance and enrich the awards to better heights.


“Isu Elihle” is an isiZulu phrase and could be translated into English as a beautiful, great or simply a neat solution. The Isu Elihle Awards were launched in 2016 by MMA with the support of Save the Children
International, the Swedish International Development Agency and Media Network on Child Rights Development (MNCRD) based in Zambia. The awards seek to contribute to a change in attitudes and behaviors of opinion and decision-makers and citizens across the country and continent from the premise that the media frames debates in society and carries enormous influence and, therefore, ability to drive positive change. This year marks five years since these Awards were launched.


These Awards aim to encourage journalist to highlight issues that are faced by children in the continent. Journalist from more than twenty countries have applied in the previous years and diverse issues about children have been raised. This shows that these awards have gained a lot of traction within the continent. We encourage journalist to submit their unique story ideas within the started time frame.


MMA’s awards seek to give children a voice and highlight the status of children in our continent. Journalists are encouraged to submit their story ideas and these can be targeted at any mainstream news medium such as TV, Radio or Online. The top six story ideas will then be selected during an online Awards ceremony in June.

Journalists behind these ideas will each receive guaranteed financial support of ZAR 10 000. MMA will also offer support to the finalists to develop their concepts. The final stories will be ranked and the final cash prizes will be awarded as follows: ZAR 25 000 (Overall Winner); ZAR 15 000 (2nd place); ZAR 10 000 (Third Place).


For more details, terms and conditions as well as the Application Form visit the Isu Elihle Award’s website www.isuelihle.org!

For enquiries please contact:
Girlie Sibanda
girlies@mma.org.za

Where are they now? Beth Amato 2017 Winner!

Here is what the 2017 winner, Beth Amato had to say:

“The Isu Elihle Award was certainly the starting point for a career specialising in early childhood development, and notably the effects of violence and early trauma. After winning the Isu Elihle Award I attended Columbia Journalism School’s Early Childhood Development Reporting week, hosted by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Subsequently the Dart Center awarded me a fellowship to write about the role of fathers and father figures in the lives of very young children.

I was able to touch on themes of toxic masculinity and gender norms. 

Beth Amato, 2017 Winner!

I have left the journalism world, but work for the Centre of Excellence in Human Development, based at Wits University as the communications manager. The centre focuses on research spanning from early childhood and the biopsychosocial factors influencing health and wellbeing – both personal and societal. 


Since winning the Isu Elihle Award I have become passionate about nurturing children as the key for a better South Africa. As community service, I started a mobile book cart, named Little Frida’s Book Cart, to share beautiful and context-specific stories for all children.”

Follow us to hear more other past winner series!

Isu Elihle Awards 2020 winner!

On Monday, 14 December 2020, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) announced the 2020 lsu Elihle Awards winner. “Isu Elihle is an isiZulu phrase that means a “Great Idea” when translated to English, these Awards were launched in 2016 and has been running for four years. The Awards aim to encourage fresh reporting, innovative approaches and insightful investigations that seek to give children a voice and elevate the status of the child all over Africa. In the past two years, the awards were open only for journalists in the Eastern and Southern Africa but from 2018, journalists from all over Africa were included. 

We are excited to announce this year’s winners: 1st prize and overall winner of the 2020 Awards goes to Kathryn Cleary who is a freelance health journalist for Spotlight based in Cape Town, South Africa. Cleary is awarded for her six-part series coverage on the impact of the Covid19 pandemic and lockdown on the nutritional status of children in South Africa. She receives a cash prize of ZAR25, 000 after being ranked the overall winner by a panel of judges who are media practitioners. The judges commented on her reporting by saying,” Kathryn lets the facts speak for themselves and does not attempt to pull any emotional strings, she knows she doesn’t need to. Read the story here.

The second prize of ZAR15 000 goes to Tatenda Chitagu for his story titled, “Covid19: Children’s horror tales from isolation canters”. He looked at the poor conditions in which returnee children had to face in Zimbabwe’s Covid19 isolation and quarantine centres, these posed a great risk to their health. Chitangu is multi-media journalist from Masvingo, Zimbabwe. He corresponds for News Day as well as the Washington Post. The judges commented on his story saying,” A well written story that did access a range of children’s voices as well as experts and government. I wanted to see images as well as perhaps go more into depth about how these centres are violating children’s rights in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. Chitagu receives a cash prize of R15 000.Read the story here.

The 3rd prize of ZAR10 000 goes to Matiisetso Mosala for her story about the education gaps between learners in Lesotho .She reveals how underprivileged children are forced to drop out of school because they cannot afford school fees. Her article is titled, “Lesotho’s education system now shutting out kids from poor families” was published at the Centre for investigative journalism website. Matiisetso is an investigative journalist from the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Currently she is an Investigative Journalism fellow at MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism based in Maseru, Lesotho. The judges commented on her reporting saying, “The journalist does her best to minimise harm, and shows commendable awareness of all the ethical concerns”. Read the story here.

However there was no Mandy Roussouw category winner this year, even though the stories were great, the powerful were not held accountable in their stories. The Isu Elihle Awards 2021 application date will be announced soon, we call upon journalists from all over Africa to enter the awards. Congratulations to all the winners!

2020 ISU ELIHLE AWARDS TOP 6 FINALISTS!

Media Monitoring Africa announce the lsu Elihle 2020 finalists!
On Monday the 31st of August Media Monitoring Africa announced this year’s lsu Elihle finalists. They are from four countries with in the African continent. They are Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Chitagu and Mercy Mubaiwa. South Africa’s Luzuko Sonkapu and Kathryn Clearly. Lesotho’s Matiisetso Mosala and Nigeria’s Kunle Adebajo.

Meet the Finalists:


Luzuko Sonkapu

18-Year-old RX Radio Young Reporter Luzuko Sonkapu was born and raised in Cape Town, New Crossroads. Luzuko lives with a chronic illness, Spinal Muscular Atrophy and is wheelchair bound. He joined RX Radio in 2018 and has already achieved great milestones on his journey. He hosts his own
show called Ace the Rapper’s Space speaking to his love for rap and Hip-Hop music, while also sharing his platform with other young artists.
Luzuko also recently represented RX Radio in the WHO: Reboot Health and Wellbeing Innovative Challenge, which resulted in the team being one of two winners in this Challenge. Together with a team of RX Young Reporters and a content producer, Luzuko brought home the win based on the
station’s Children’s Voices on COVID-19 programme, and RX Radio’s response to the pandemic. Luzuko in his spare time enjoys being with his family and friends. He has a love for Philosophy and enjoys reading research books focusing on his favourite topic, the meaning of life.

Tatenda Chitagu

Tatenda Prosper Chitagu is a multi-media Journalist and fact checker from Zimbabwe with more than ten years’ experience. He corresponds for The Newsday as well as The Washington Post while based in the southern city of Masvingo. He is a holder of a Msc degree in Media and Society Studies,
Chitagu has been a fellow at The Reuter’s Institute for The Study of Journalism (RISJ) at the University of Oxford (2017-2018).He is the current winner of the UNICEF Child journalist of the year in Zimbabwe.


Mercy Mubaiwa

Mercy has been working in the field of communication and film for about 3 years. She identifies herself as a Digital storyteller, Education activist, Women and children’s rights Activist, environmental activist .Mercy holds a Bsc in Media and Society Studies, Certificates in Global Journalism; Safety, Peace and Conflict, Community Engagement, & Documentary Filmmaking and is currently reading for an M.Phil inn Media Studies. She is a member of the Bosch Alumni Network and enjoy Travelling, Photography and Film.

She has developed and cultivated love for communication for development. Mercy has worked as a, Communication for Development Officer, Public Relations officer, Reporter, script writer, social media manager and on various film productions alternating roles. Mercy loves travelling,
networking, reading writing and meeting new people and has grown to be very passionate about Child rights issues and research. Her research interests are Education, Health, Child rights, student movements, gender, women affairs, culture preservation and memory, sustainable development
and climate change. She loves working with people to improve their livelihoods and believes in telling Stories4Change

Kathryn Clearly

Kathryn is a freelance health journalist based in Cape Town, South Africa. She strives to pursue stories that push the boundaries of traditional journalism and reporting, and bring those often silenced and under-represented voices to the fore. She is extremely passionate about the issues of child hunger and malnutrition, and it is her hope that through the Isu Elihle Awards she can explore these issues from multiple angles, as well as through the eyes and voices of children who experience them on a daily basis. She says that children are the future, but more importantly, they are the now, and that needs to be reflected in journalism.” 

Kunle Adebajo

Kunle Adebajo is a trained lawyer, freelance writer, and senior investigative reporter at HumAngle. He is currently a fellow of Dubawa and was a 2019 Africa Check fellow. He is the editor of non-fiction and cultural criticism at Agbowo and editor-in-chief of Punocracy. Kunle is passionate about human rights, educational reform, and political accountability. He has won a number of journalism awards including the 2018 Alfred Opubo Prize for Opinion, 2018 Budeshi Datathon Writers’ Challenge, and 2019 West Africa Medica Excellence Award for Best Telecommunications Report.

Matiisetso Mosala

She is a young enthusiastic Investigative journalist from the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Currently she is an Investigative Journalism fellow at MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism based in Maseru, Lesotho. She has five years’ experience in journalism, reporting on topics that include health, business, education and finance and investigations for different media houses. She is passionate about giving voice to the voiceless, bringing about positive impact to lives and holding those in power accountable.