By Amos Fofung
Two reporters of the internationally acclaimed media house, Pan African Visions which operates www.panafricanvisions.com news website and the monthly PAV magazine have been meritoriously rewarded for their reporting on the coronavirus epidemic across Africa.
The reporters, Ismael Sallieu Koroma from Sierra Leone and Boris Esono Nwenfor from Cameroon individually received media awards for their craftmanship and consistent reporting in raising awareness on the coronavirus pandemic.
The award organized by the Merck Foundation and African First Ladies assessed the works of African journalist and their strive in keeping their local audiences informed about the coronavirus and preventive measures.
As per the organizer, the award dubbed “Stay at Home” media recognition seeks to promote journalism which goes above and beyond to separate facts from myths and misconceptions about the novel coronavirus which was ravaged the world’s economy, Africa included.
Organized by Merck Foundation partnership with African First Ladies of Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Guinea Conakry, Burundi, Central African Republic (C.A.R.), Chad, Zimbabwe, Zambia, The Gambia, Liberia and Congo Brazzaville, Angola and Mozambique, journalist in the continent were segmented into broadcast, digital and print media categories.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasizes, “I am very proud of our winners. We received a tremendous response from African journalists in form of their entries. I truly believe that Media plays a crucial role in educating and sensitizing our communities about health and sensitive issues such as COVID-19, therefore, through the awards, we are recognizing the distinguished reportage and the exceptional work of journalists who frequently covered this topic in their countries”.
Pan African Visions reporter Ismael Sallieu Koroma came first in the print media category for West Africa and was also awarded a cash prize of $500 while Boris Esono Nwenfor came in at the second position in online media category for Francophone Africa. Alongside his recognition, he received a $300 cash prize.
Taking to social media, Boris Esono Nwenfor thanked the editorial team of US-based Pan African Visions for the constant support and guidance pledging his continual dedication to the media organ which has time again maintained its position of media powerhouse in the continent.
Boris who is also an Alumni for the Merck Foundation will benefit from a one-year master’s training program all geared at sharpening his skillset and further preparing him for greater ventures.
“Special thanks to The Merck Foundation and Founder Dr Rasha Kelej.
Gratitude goes to Pan African Visions team, my Managing Editor and Mentor Ajong Mbapndah, Amos Fofung, Ojong Steven, Ajongakou Santos, Doh Bertrand, Ticha Melanie and others,” he wrote.
Ismael Sallieu Koroma who also freelances’ with Concord Times Many went deep in his appreciation saying “many thanks to my forever boss Ajong Mbapndah Editor in Chief Pan African Visions online for sharing me the opportunity to apply for the award. You’re truly a father, big brother and boss. Even though I haven’t met you in person, you’ve continued to show me love, encouragement and mentorship in just few years we have met through LinkedIn. You have always believed in me and always tells me to put up hard work in my work. I’m forever grateful,” he wrote.
Speaking with this reporter, the Managing Editor of Pan African Visions, Ajong Mbapndah L said he was very happy for the recognition awarded to his staff. He noted that over the years PAV has groomed a good number of prolific reporters across the continent with the recent awards further proving the level of professionalism and excellence the media house is known for. He lauded the terrific work that the Merck Foundation and Dr Rasha Kelej have done over the years on health care and gender empowerment across Africa.
Coming at a time when most media houses are facing serious challenges because of COVID 19, Ajong Mbapndah lauded the foresight of Rasha Kelej and the Merck Foundation in recognizing the significant but often ignored role that the media has played in fighting the pandemic and championing a myriad of development courses across the continent. The PAV Managing Editor urged other stakeholders and key actors to emulate the example of the Merck Foundation in building partnerships with the press to foster development in the continent.
Other winners of the Merck award include Faith Mzungu-Vilakati – Daily News, from Eswatini, Andrew Mambondiyani – The African Argument from Zimbabwe, Adolf Kaure – Namibia Media Holdings from Namibia, Henry Sinyangwe – Zambia Daily Mail from Zambia among others.