SFA Foundation Recognizes Excellence in African Science Journalism at ASJA Awards

The Science for Africa Foundation (SFA Foundation) celebrated the outstanding achievements of African science journalists at the 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2023) by announcing the winners of the inaugural Africa Science Journalism Awards (ASJA). This collaborative initiative, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to honour exceptional reporting on science and development across the continent.

The ASJA, a brainchild of the SFA Foundation, represents a commitment to uplifting credible health, science, and development reporting. The awards not only commend exceptional journalism but also provide opportunities for workshops and site visits to research institutions, enriching journalists' understanding of ongoing research efforts throughout Africa.

Deborah-Fay Ndlovu, Corporate and Science Communication Manager at the SFA Foundation, highlighted the importance of well-informed societies as catalysts for progress. She stated, "Empowering journalists to delve into the intricacies of science not only fosters accurate reporting but also cultivates a culture of inquiry and innovation, essential for the sustainable development of our continent."

The ASJA recognized journalists covering thematic areas such as health, climate and environment, and agriculture. Winners emerged from a meticulous selection process involving an internal triage team and an external selection panel comprised of senior science journalists from various African countries.

In the Best News Story/Feature Category, Laura Grant from the Outlier clinched the top honour for her insightful piece titled "A Perfect Storm." Mary Mwenda and Mahmud Mohammed-Nurdeen received honourable mentions for their stories on "Banned Pesticides: Hazardous Pesticides in EU Markets Retail in Kenya" and "How Ghanaian Farmers Are Adapting to Climate Change by Embracing Lost Crops," respectively.

For the Innovative Story of the Year Category, Jean Pierre Afadhali of Infoline secured the title for his compelling article titled "Rwanda Banks on Single-Use Plastic Ban to Tackle Plastic Pollution." This innovative narrative sheds light on Rwanda's proactive measures to combat plastic pollution.

Ridwan Karim and Josephine Chinele received honourable mentions for their articles "Challenges Faced by Trash Sorters in Ghana Face Health and Safety Risks" and "Facing New Polio Cases, Malawi Resorts to Drones to Deliver Vaccines," respectively.

Expressing excitement, Jean Pierre Afadhali stated, "I am encouraged to continue covering science stories and will continue to use my media skills and the love for science to tell compelling stories."

Laura Grant emphasized the significance of awards like ASJA in recognizing excellence within African science journalism, keeping journalists motivated to address pressing issues through compelling storytelling.

The selection panel, comprising senior science journalists from various African countries, commended the transparent review process. Notably, winners from smaller publications demonstrated the growing excellence in African science journalism, underscoring the depth and impact of diverse narratives emerging from the continent.


Article by Nyokabi Wanjiku