The Uganda Water and Sanitation Network (Uwasnet) has hailed the Nation Media Group for dedicating ample space and airtime to reporting issues related to water and sanitation.
Speaking at this years’ annual water and sanitation awards on Friday, Ms Yuniya Musaazi, the executive director Uwasnet, asked other media houses to dedicate space and airtime to stories of water and sanitation to educate the public and decision makers, about its importance.
“Nation Media Group has eaten big in these awards and we call upon other media houses to pick up the key issues related to water and sanitation so that everyone gets to know the impact of open defecation and how it causes typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea,” she said.
To illustrate the importance of the sector, Ms Jane Sembuche Mselle, the country director of Water Aid, said sectors such as health, education and agriculture cannot survive without water and the most affected people in these sectors are women.
“Imagine what can happen when a woman delivers from a health facility without water, girls in primary school in their periods without water means they lose five days a month which affects their education. In villages, it is women who dig and fetch water from distances,” she said.
Wash, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) Media Awards are organised to reward journalists who report about sanitation and hygiene in online, radio, television and print media.
During the Friday awards in Kampala, the Monitor Publications Fort Portal bureau carried the day following a story authored by the team, investigating water pollution on River Nyamambwa in Kasese District.
The winners were Felix Basiime who supervised his junior staff Enid Ninsiima and Moses Mumbere. Other winners from NMG media platforms were Susan Nanyanzi from NTV/Spark TV, Ben Jumbe of KFM, Lilian Namagembe of Daily Monitor, Moses Muwulya of KFM and Alex Ashaba of Daily Monitor.
The overall award winner scooped a cash prize of Shs4 million. The first and second runners up in all the categories received Shs1.7 million and Shs700,000 respectively.
Mr John Baptist Waswa, the lead judge, said they considered the level of investigative journalism that centred so much on how society handles issues of washing hands, sanitation and hygiene to prevent diseases in communities.
“We considered the content of the story, level of in-depth investigation, how a reader, listener and someone watching can get glued in the story,” he said.
He added that they also considered the level of journalism, whether the person had necessary skills to deal with sound, use of microphone, innovation, ones sources and question packaging, emphasising that this year’s news stories are better than those of two years ago.
By Stephen Otage & Tom Angurini