WASH Media Awards presented

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Nine journalists were named today as winners of the WASH Media Awards competition for their excellence in reporting on water, sanitation and hygiene-related issues.

The journalists, and their winning entries are:

  • Teresa Rehman, freelance, India, “Sanitation in the time of floods”, English category;
  • David Onofre González Travieso, Diario el Nacional, Venezuela, “Una sequía de obras”, Spanish category;
  • Arsénio Basilio Manhice, Jornal Noticias, Mozambique, ‘Stress hídrico’ abala mulheres e crianças”, Portuguese category;
  • François Koami Amégnignon, Radio Zéphyr, Togo, “Etat des lieux de l'eau l'hygiène et l’assainissement au Togo”, French category;
  • Natalia Silitskaia & Oleg Banaru, freelance, Moldova, “Damocles Sword above the Moldavian Komarovo”, Russian category;
  • Juana Salamanca, freelance, Colombia, “Los ángeles guardianes de los humedales”, Gender category;
  • Nina Stenros & Anu Valve, Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, Finland, “Shit happens 1 / 4”, High-income country category.

Today, the winners received their awards during a ceremony at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. During the World Water Week, the journalists participated in sessions together with leading water, sanitation, environment and development experts. The bi-annual WASH Media Awards competition is sponsored by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

More than 180 entries from 40 countries were evaluated by a jury chaired by Ms. Rose George, noted journalist and author of the well-received book The Big Necessity; Adventures in the World of Human Waste, UK. The jury lauded the entries for their journalistic excellence, freshness of style, sense of humour, investigative ability, and originality.The print, radio and TV journalists on the jury included Mr. Alister Doyle, Reuters News, UK; Mr. Jean Claude Napani, Radio Sawtu Linjiila, Cameroon; Mr. Fabrice Delaye, Bilan Magazine, Switzerland; Ms. María Sáinz García, El Mundo, Spain; Ms. Maria Teresa Ronderos, La Semana, Columbia; Mr. Gunnel Bergstrom, journalist, Sweden; Mr. Sergueï Mokrynin, Stan TV, Kyrgyzstan; and Ms. Càtia Toffoletto, Radio Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Media in general and journalists in particular are key partners for sanitation, hygiene and water sector professionals in their awareness raising, advocacy and behaviour change work. Journalists play a central role in the highlighting of water and gender related issues and positioning of women as environmental leaders. They greatly contribute to bringing in the spotlight the too often neglected issues of the necessity of toilets and hand washing for a dignified, safe and healthy life for billions of people.

The WASH Media Awards competition encourages journalists to take on the challenge of getting the sanitation story in the times of floods, or travelling in dangerous and filthy environments, to highlight a major water pollution scandal. Journalists give the microphone to the people whose health, livelihoods, jobs, education and children are immensely impacted by the lack of proper sanitation, drinking water and hygiene. The eyes of these women, men and children must be seen on TV and their voices heard for the communities to care and the decision-makers at all levels to act. Journalists need the support of their editors to allow for this to happen. The WASH Media Awards, organized by two leading sector organizations, take a clear stand that it is not only necessary, but vital.