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CELEBRATING OUR OWN - #AJEA2022
The Deep Dive 27th Edition
Happy (not so new) month!
In this edition of The deep dive we're celebrating the wins and nominations that Africa Uncensored received during the 2022 Annual Journalism Excellence Awards held in Nairobi on the 6th of May, 2022. For the sixth year running, we have both winners and finalists. Sam Munia and Peris Gachahi did the team proud with a win in the ender Category for their story "Knives for Wives". Sam and Peris share their experience reporting that story further down, as do our other nominees, so keep reading! Peris was also a nominee for the journalist of the year award, marking the fourth time in Africa Uncensored's six-year history that we've had a team member nominated for the overall award!
We celebrate all the winner's in this year's edition, and promise to be back next year with even more excellent stories!
One more thing...
We're working on a slew of new investigative stories on the Kenyan election and beyond. If you want to support our work, become a Patreon of Africa Uncensored today! Just follow the prompts in this link!
My Journey So Far : Peris Gachahi
When I joined Africa Uncensored as an intern in 2016, I had no idea what I was walking into. Really, I did not. I was only in my 2nd year in campus at Moi University, green as they come. But the work there quickly grew on me and all those years have led up to this moment.
The 6th of May 2022 will always be a highlight for me. I was a finalist in 4 categories at the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards 2022 and bagged one of them! Let me break it down for you:
1. Development Reporting Finalist, Digital Category for Crooks & Wombs
When Elijah Kanyi and I decided to pursue this story, we were both excited. But the deeper we dug into the subject of abortion in Kenya, that excitement quickly turned into worry, confusion and doubt. Will we find a balance? Will the right voices be represented? Will our biases jump out? All these questions gave me a lot of trouble scripting this story. But by the time John Gathuna was done editing and the story aired, we were satisfied with the outcome and the conversations that followed. One thing was clear, our young girls and women will continue to pay the price if a long-term solution is not found. Producing this with Kanyi was an honor, we make a great duo Master! To our editor Gathuna, you really did this one justice. Thanks for cool graphics Kevin.
2. Gender Reporting Finalist, Digital Category for COVID-19 & SGBV article
This is a data story showing how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the support systems for sexual and gender based violence survivors. In this case, safe houses or lack there of. It was disheartening to see how private safe houses were and still are overwhelmed by the number of survivors that came in at the height of the pandemic, stretching out their already limited resources and space. But also glaring was the government's failure to offer long-term solutions to the matter. We still have a long way to go on this one unfortunately. My gratitude to the Africa Women Journalism Project for their support on this one. Those visualizations were everything!
Check out the article on this link.
3. Gender Reporting Winner, TV Category for Knives for Wives
I have covered several stories on sexual and gender based violence, but all them were focused on women. I have always wanted to focus on the flip side, as we mostly see men as perpetrators and not victims. So when the opportunity to focus on the men presented itself, Sam Munia and I jumped on it. As expected, finding male survivors who could openly talk about their abusers was a task, but we eventually did. It is easy to have a bias when you are a gender reporter who has seen what violence has done to young women and girls. But seeing male survivors from that perspective opened my eyes to their reality. Winning in this category for a second time re-affirmed that gender-based violence is multi-faceted and we as journalists need to approach it from all angles. To my co-producer/cameraman/assignment editor, thank you Sam, you made this easy! My gratitude to Steve Biko for the superb edit, Kevin Mbugua for the awesome graphics and Clint Obere for the additional camerawork.
4. Journalist of the Year Award Finalist
This nomination is without a doubt the most memorable part from Friday night. Seeing my name up there was surreal. I could not believe it. But it showed me the possibilities of what could be. It reminded me of how far I have come in my career but most importantly why I do what I do.
It's been an honor working with the talented team at Africa Uncensored. Special thanks to John Allan.
Filming Knives for Wives By Sam Munia
It feels great to keep winning!
Filming Knives for Wives documentary from Nyeri to Kisumu was quite an eye-opener, the cases of men being battered by their wives are on the rise. However, they've chosen silence. They are corroding from within. I salute the bold men, the victims of domestic violence who allowed us to tell this story.
It's time our society reconsidered its handling of men who are victims of domestic violence and its approaches to equity on gender empowerment.
Cinematographer/ Assignment editor
Producing Pandora papers By John-Allan Namu
Saturday, October 2nd, 2021:
The final evening prior to publishing our addition to the world's largest journalistic collaboration under the Pandora Papers was a nervous one. Steve Biko and I sat alone in the office, going over every frame of the story to look for inconsistencies or a poor edit. After all, it isn't every day that you report about a sitting president and his family.
At one point, Biko turned to me and said "we need to hurry this up, I don't want to be in the office this late" and I knew exactly what he meant. This was not the kind of story you produce and simply stroll home afterwards. Extra care needed to be taken both in the production of the story and in the care with which it was saved, shared and eventually published. Biko and I have sat on many a late edit together, but given the magnitude of the leak that our work, in collaboration with our friends at Finance Uncovered was a part of, there was a special, if not slightly unnerving air about the edit suite that night.
The story, which looked into the offshore holdings of the Kenyatta family, if seen in the larger context of global financial secrecy, is one that should be unsettling to watch as a Kenyan.
It was an honour to have been nominated for an AJEA award for our work on the story, and even though we didn't win this year, we felt that the nomination helped remind Kenyans of the important work that investigative journalists do in uncovering uncomfortable truths about their country.
The Pandora Papers was produced by Purity Mukami and John-Allan Namu, edited by Steve Biko, filmed by Elijah Kanyi with graphics produced by Clement Kumalija.
Producing the Adimu ya Peari Radio Feature
Adimu ya Peari is a Swahili radio feature about how changes in weather patterns have affected the production and yield of the pear fruit. The story idea was birthed from a casual conversation between buyers and sellers at the Nakuru Farmers Market. It focuses on the scarcity of this fruit which has been declining in production and income for the last four years. The fruit had tremendously reduced in size, suffered disease and pest attacks that sucked them dry.
The story took me to Milangine, Nyandarua county, one of the pear-producing areas in the country. It was very cold! I met farmers who were discouraged. The Nyandarua farmers have been threatening to cut down their pear trees which were once reliable sources of income, experts attribute this to the rising temperatures and short and erratic rains that provide a conducive environment for pests to thrive. However, all is not lost! Improved seedlings will be able to withstand the current weather patterns.
Joy Kirigia on Covering Mental health in Kenya
If there is one thing about journalism that I value so much is the opportunity and access it gives me as a storyteller. In this line of work, sometimes, you will risk your life for a story, you will sit across people with such amazing stories and others with such heartbreaking ones. I have experienced all of them. But then a time comes and you work on a story that not only inspires you but also reminds you why the work you do is important. Love, Living and Mental Health was one of those stories.
We, Elijah Kanyi (Cameraman), Steve Biko (Video Editor) and I were nominated for the 2022 AJEA awards for this story. This was an honor and an incredibly motivating moment. A lot are the times we say that journalism is a thankless job. However, it is moments like this that make a huge difference.
In this documentary we looked at some incredible stories on the impact of mental health to the victims and their families. We interview the family of Karegi, a lady who developed a mental health condition after childbirth. Her family did not know about the condition and assumed that she had been bewitched. From being a normal healthy young lady, Karegi was now referred to as “mwendawazimu”. Then one day, Karegi disappears from home, never to be seen again. But then, 7 years later, Karegi is found alive, living in the worst of situations. She is saved by Irene Nkirote, a good Samaritan and is reconnected with her family. This was just one of three very inspiring stories we got to cover.
Having worked on mental health stories before, for the first time, while working on this story, I felt hopeful that one day, society will fully embrace mental health conditions, understand what they are and live comfortably with those living with these conditions. The perception is shifting to a more positive one.
Reporter - Africa Uncensored
Join Our Newsroom - Thursday 12th May Twitter Space.
Finally, this Thursday we invite you to #JoinOurNewsroom in our Twitter Space. In our Twitter spaces, we discuss topical issues in and around the country. What would you like us to focus on this week? Let us know on the comments.
Editorial Director: John-Allan Namu
Assignment Editor: Sam Munia
Social Media Manager: K Muraguri G
Contributors: John Allan Namu, Sam Munia, Joy Kirigia, Cynthia Gichiri, Peris Gichahi
Before you go…
Thank you for your support in reading and sharing our content! We work very hard on it and continue to go to great lengths to deliver independent hard-access journalism and insightful content. If you want to support our work, become a Patreon of Africa Uncensored today! Just follow the prompts in this link!