By Wallace Mawire
HARARE-The Gender and Media Connect (GMC) in Zimbabwe has today presented digital storytelling awards for 2021 to members of communities in Zimbabwe in a bid to bridge the access to information divide.
Stories for the awards were submitted from Seke, Harare South, Murehwa, Chipinge and Domboshava
According to GMC National Director, Mrs Abigail Gamanya, the award winning stories were written and produced by women and youths who were trained by the organization in basic storytelling anc community reporting using different formats which include audio, videos, photos and written stories.
Gamanya said that the awards are for the most outstanding digital storytellers in each district.They recognize the storytellers understanding of the basics of citizen journalism and community reporting.
The most outstanding award went to Edna Motsi on opportunities during Covid-19.
Other issues focused the role played by rural women in agriculture and food security, water woes and poverty related issues.Another posthumous award for best multi-media story was presented to Hazel Mukosa from Domboshava, peri-urban settlement at least about 30km north of the capital Harare.Mukosa is reported to have died in a car accident.
It is also reported that at least 200 participants from the mentioned districts participated in the competition. There were 37 entries submitted and six winners managed to walk away with cash prizes including certificates.
Also all the participants have been awarded with certificates by GMC.
Gamanya said that her organization conceived the idea of the awards to afford women’s voices to be heard in the communities. The communities have also established provincial whatsapp groups to communicate stories.
Also the initiative is meant to help women tell their own stories and to counter the proliferation of fake news in the communities .According to the adjudicators, some of the stories covered included topics on sanitation, disability, GBV, women empowerment, health and community development, just to mention a few.
Some of the community groups which participated in the awards include Wadzanai Community Empowerment Trust, Seke Rural Development Platform, Royal Society Orphan Trust (ROST) from Harare South, Self Help Development Foundation (SHDF) and the Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD).
The initiative seeks to empower rural women and develop communities through media skills. GMC seeks to take journalism to the people through digital storytelling.
The GMC has received support for the initiative from organizations like FOJO Media Institute. International Media Support (IMS) and the Embassy of Sweden in Zimbabwe.