KAMPALA – Nelson Mandela, a Ugandan journalist has emerged as the first winner of the Merck Foundation “Mask up with Care” Media Recognition Awards 2021 – East African Countries (Online category).
Organised by Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, the awards are in a bid to appreciate journalists across Africa for their exceptional reporting on Covid-19 awareness and prevention.
Mr. Mandela, a journalist at PML Daily, was presented with the First Award in the Online Category from East African Countries.
“Your exceptional coverage helped create awareness about adapting best protection measures during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic through taking measures such as wearing masks to show love & care to the community, encouraging the community to choose vaccination and support healthcare workers who are at the forefront during this pandemic,” said Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej – CEO of Merck Foundation in her congratulatory message.
“We sincerely appreciate your influential media work; hence, we would like to welcome you as a valuable member of ’Merck Foundation Alumni’. We also encourage you to be the ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Advocate’ to further raise awareness about other sensitive issues like infertility, eliminating the stigma around it and supporting girls’ education,” she added.
On top of the $500 prize money, he was rewarded with one-year access to an online educational training program called “MasterClass”, an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English.
Other winners include Ms. Delphine Maombi, newtimes.co.rw, Rwanda in the second position and Tulinagwe A. Malopa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in the third position.
Commenting on the award, Mr. Mandela said, “This is one step ahead in my career but to me still it is a call to do impactful journalism. It is so encouraging knowing that your work really creates a positive change in the community and to be recognised for that.”
He challenged journalists to always give their intended audiences first priority by producing work that can improve their lives.
“My call to my fellow young journalists is to always be mindful of their role. Journalism is so much influential; thus we should be mindful of the impact we may cause on the public.”
“To me, journalism is much more of advocacy. My readers before anything else,” he noted.
PML Daily staff congratulated Mr. Mandela on his well-deserved recognition.
Mr. Alex B. Atuhaire, PML Daily Editorial Director and veteran investigative editor said Mandela was a “well-chosen awardee”.
“We are proud of the work that Mandela and most of our especially young journalists do to advance journalism that helps communities with functional information needs,” Mr. Atuhaire said.
He added: “This is a well-deserved accolade for the hard work that Mandela, who is a key part of our content team does, day-in-day-out”.
Mandela 29, a graduate of Kampala University has served as both a writer and a sub-editor for PML Daily since May 2018.
In the company, he is responsible, among others, to liaise with content curators and reporters across the business to help develop online and offline content for use across different media.
As one of the gatekeepers, he is accountable for writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading content material to be published and schedule for apt timing.
In 2019, Mandela was awarded the company’s employee of the year