Outstanding journalists were last night feted during the 8th annual Kenya Media Network on Population and Development (KEMEP) awards ceremony in Nairobi. The awards which recognise and reward journalistic excellence in the coverage of population & development issues were co-sponsored by UNFPA, National Council for Population & Development (NCPD), DSW and JHPIEGO through its TUPANGE project.
KEMEP is a network of professional journalists and media managers whose interest and speciality lies in covering and producing news and features on issues related to population, reproductive health, youth, gender and development. It aims at strengthening the coverage of issues concerning population and development and to increase access to timely news, features and research data on aspects of population and development from around the country and the world at large.
More than 100 entries were received from 14 media houses in various categories: Gender, Population & Development, Reproductive Health & Rights and, Female Genital Mutilation. In each category, entries for television, radio and print were recognised. A special category for journalistic excellence was also included, in which Mercy Juma (Nation Media Group) and Albert Mwangeka (Baraka FM) were recognised. According to the chief judge, Howard Akimala of DSW, it was difficult to categorise the two in the normal categories due to their exemplary work and consistency, hence the need to rank them in a special category.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Eng. Peter Mangiti urged journalists to actively participate in sensitizing people on population issues in the country. Echoing his remarks, UNFPA’s Country Representative Sidharth Charterjee lamented the fact that Kenya remains the 10th most dangerous place in the world to give birth. He pointed out that maternal mortality remains very high in the North and it’s the high time that the media played an active role in highlighting such issues.
Also in attendance during the event was the NCPD Director General Dr. Kibaru Mbae, Hjordis Ogendo from the EU Delegation to Kenya, representatives from Bayer HealthCare, Development Initiatives, Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium among others.
Each of the award winners went home with a state-of-the-art laptop tab, trophy and a certificate.