South, West Africa dominate ‘More Than a Mother Africa’ media awards

South, West Africa dominate ‘More Than a Mother Africa’ media awards


Winners of ‘More Than a Mother’ Africa media awards for 2020 have been announced. The awards, intended to recognise African journalists for excellence in reporting on health, culture and humanitarian issues were announced on in Zimbabwean capital, Harare, on Monday.

The awards were announced by Merck Foundation chief executive Rasha Kele in partnership with the first ladies of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Niger, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Ghana, The Gambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Central African Republic, Burundi and Botswana.

The first ladies are ambassadors of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ health and culture movement.

The winners were mainly from West and Southern Africa journalists, while East Africa was represented by Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. There was only one entry from Kenya while there was none from Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Dr Rasha Kelej, who is also the president of ‘Merck More Than a Mother and African Woman of the Year 2020 celebrated the winners saying, “Big congratulations to all the winners of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020.”

“First, I’d like to thank my dear sisters, the first ladies of Africa for their support as ambassadors to make this award a great success. I am very proud to recognise and appreciate professional journalists who became the voice of the voiceless and the storytellers of infertile women and break the stigma around them and also raised awareness about male infertility,” said Dr Kelej.

She expressed belief in the critical role media and art play in creating a culture shift and raising awareness on health, cultural and sensitive issues such as infertility stigma.

In addition, she said, “I welcome all the winners to be members of our Merck Foundation Alumni to work closely with us to empower women and girls at all levels.”

Merck More Than a Mother is a movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. The campaign supports African governments to formulate policies that enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It also supports interventions that help to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility.

It collaborates with African first ladies, ministries of health, information, education and gender, academia, policymakers, international fertility societies, media and art to provide training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and other developing countries.

Last year, Merck Foundation received great response from African journalists in the form of excellent stories. The ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ awards committee came up with six categories of winners for English-speaking countries.

The six categories are: Southern African, East Africa, West Africa, French-speaking countries, Ghana and Zambia. There were no entries from Portuguese-speaking countries, hence there was no category for them.

The ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ awards committee further introduced a second and a third position and picked multiple winners in some categories. This was necessitated by the high quality of work received from talented and passionate journalists that highlight health, cultural and other sensitive issues that are central to the well-being of women on the continent.

Dr Kelej is a member of the Egyptian Senate and has been recognised as the “Most Influential African between 2019 and 2020 and African Woman of the Year 2020 added.

During the awards ceremony, she announced, “I am happy to announce, encouraged by the valuable contribution from the winners, that Merck Foundation is additionally rewarding the winners by providing them with one year access to an online educational training programme called ‘MasterClass’. MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet.”

She encouraged the winners to be the ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother advocates in their countries to further raise awareness about infertility to eliminate the stigma around it.

Winners in print category were:

  1. Roselyne Sachiti, The Herald Newspaper, Zimbabwe
  2. Memory Kutengule, Malawi News Agency, Malawi and Mugugunye Moses, The Standard, Zimbabwe
  3. Patrick Musir, The AfroNews and Takudzwa Chihambakwe, Zimpapers Group, Zimbabwe special Award for a novel was given to Nyasha Clementine Rwodzi, Zimbabwe

Online category winners:

  1. Sharon Kavhu, The Southern Times, Namibia
  2. Gracious Mugovera, The Patriot, Zimbabwe

Runners up:

  1. Happy Njalam’mano, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), MALAWI
  2. John Manzongo, The Herald, ZIMBABWE

Multimedia category winners:

  1. Abel Dzobo, Heal TV, Zimbabwe


  1. Rosa Teixeira, Independent Journalist, Namibia

Radio category winners:

  1. Linda Banda, Chanco Community Radio, Malawi
  2. Veronika Haulenga-Haufiku, Omulunga Radio, Future Group, Namibia
  3. Tashie Masawi, ZBC Radio Station Classic 263, Zimbabwe


  1. Mathilde Ndinelao Hinanifa, Independent Journalist, Namibia
  2. Ikemisetseng Marou, Radio Lesotho, Lesotho
  3. Rutendo Makuti, ZBC Radio Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe

Third Position

  1. Memory Nkwe Ndhlovu, ZBC Radio Station Classic 263, Zimbabwe

Winners from West Africa were:

Print category

  1. Chioma Obinna, Vanguard Media Limited, Nigeria

Online category winners

  1. Martins Ifijeh, ThisDay Newspapers, NIGERIA


  1. Never G Lomo, New Public Trust, Liberia
  2. Chinedu Asadu, Cable Newspaper Limited, Nigeria

Radio category

  1. Abubakar Sulaiman, Sawaba FM 104.9 Hadejia, Nigeria

Winners from East Africa:

Online category

  1. Sharon Kantengwa, The New Times, Rwanda

Multimedia category

  1. Walter Mwesigye, NTV, Uganda

Radio category

  1. Mercy Tyra Murengu, Upendo FM, KENYA

Winners from African French-speaking countries were as follows:

Print category

  1. Richard Tamone, Le Standard, Guinea  


  • Koami Agbetiafa, Le Républicain, Niger

Online category

  1. Lokale Odia Prisca,, Democratic Republic of Congo


  1. Ndèye Fatou Diery Diagne,, SENEGAL

Multimedia category

  1. Fatou Fadiga, House Media RTG, GUINEA


  1. Jean Népomuscène Irambona, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI

Raddi category:

  1. Remy Rukundo, Radio TV Buntu, Burundi
  2. Makan Soumaoro, Espace Foret, Guinea


  1. Magendero Bénigne, Radio TV Buntu, Burundi
  2. Aminata Bah, Guinea
  3. Innocent Ndihokubwayo, Radio TV Buntu, Burundi

Second runners-up

  1. Paulette Mugisha, Radio TV Buntu, Burundi
  2. Nzeyimana Emelyne, Radio TV Buntu, Burindi

Winners from Ghana:

Print category

  1. Jonathan Donkor, The Ghanian Times


  1. Zadok Kwame Gyesi, Graphic Online

Second runner-up

  1. Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, New Times Corporation

Online category

  1. Dzifa Tetteh Tay, New Times Corporation

Multimedia category

  1. Esi Benewaa Otoo, TV 3 Network


  1. Akua Oforiwa Darko, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation

Radio category

  1. Doreen Ampofo, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio

Winners from Zambia

Print category

  1. Jessie Ngoma -Simengwa, Times of Zambia

Multimedia category

  1. Effie Mphande, Zambia Broadcasting Corporation Radio

Radio category

  1. Josias Muuba, Radio Musi-O-Tunya
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