Nation Publications Limited (NPL) news analyst Mercy Malikwa has emerged second runner-up (online category–Southern Africa) in the Stay at Home Media Recognition Awards for African countries.
The winners were announced yesterday in a statement issued by Merck Foundation which introduced the awards in partnership with first ladies of Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Niger, Guinea-Conakry, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Zimbabwe, Zambia, The Gambia, Liberia Congo-Brazzaville, Angola and Mozambique.
The theme of the awards, Raising Awareness On How To Stay Safe and Keep Physically and Mentally Healthy During Coronavirus Lockdown, was aimed at helping communities to separate facts from myths and misconceptions.
Malikwa and others have been awarded for “distinguished reportage, exceptional work and frequency” in covering the Covid-19 pandemic in Malawi, according to a statement from Merck Foundation that announced the winners.
Merck Foundation chief executive officer Rasha Kelej said in the statement that the media plays a crucial role in educating and sensitising communities about health and sensitive issues such as Covid-19 and the awards are aimed at recognising that.
She said: “The valuable contribution from the winners in sensitising their respective communities about Covid-19 has encouraged us to additionally reward them all to become Merck Foundation Alumni and provide them with one-year access to online educational training programme called Masterclass.”
Kelej said the Masterclass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet.
Speaking in an interview, Malikwa said the award has reenergised her to do more in raising awareness and advocating for social, economic and health issues in the country.
“However, this is not a one man’s show. This award speaks volumes about the team spirit at NPL. It is not for one particular story, but several stories that I wrote on Covid-19 after rigorous support and mentorship and were published by the Nation Online,” she said.
Other Malawians that have also received this year’s awards are Malawi Broadcasting Corporation journalist Aston Gondwe, who got the second position in the multimedia category, Zodiak Broadcasting Station journalist Aunyango Nkhoma who came second in the radio category and e-Swatini’s Daily News journalist Faith Mzungu-Vilakati, who came second in the print category. Mzungu-Vilakati once worked for NPL before relocating to e-Swatini.