By Arthur Oyako
The New Vision’s Newspapers in Education (NiE) project has won silver award prize in disseminating health related information for young readers. This is a World Young Reader Prize award announced by World Association of newspapers and news publishers (WAN-IFRA).
The award -winning project which was a partnership between The New Vision and WaterAid Uganda aimed at improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Ugandan schools. It was implemented last year with 90 primary schools directly participating. This is the first time Ugandan media house is receiving this kind of award from WAN-IFRA.
While breaking the news, Dr. Aralynn McMane, WAN-IFRA executive director for youth engagement and news literacy, said the New Vision’s NiE had played a vital role in actively engaging children and taking health related information to the pupils through the newspapers.
“I am delighted to inform you that your work in engaging youth has prompted our jury to award New Vision silver in the World Young Reader Prize award in the Helping with Health category,” McMane wrote.
In this year’s competition, India scooped majority of the awards and also emerged overall winner. The prize will be awarded during WAN-IFRA Youth Engagement Summit set for 2-4 December 2013 in Warsaw, Poland. Twenty –one news publishers in 14 countries will walk away with different awards in different categories.
The New Vision’s Newspapers in Education Manager, Jamesa Wagwau who coordinated the WASH NIE project describes the award as ‘a milestone achievement.’
‘This award positions the New Vision’s work on a global scale. It highlights our editorial role in advancing the society in a way that goes beyond publishing news and challenges us to find more innovative ways to attract young readers to our products,’ Wagwau said.
Benard Atiku (Right) the area MP for Ayiivu County flanked by Amanya (second right) the NIE coordinator, and Rose Birungi (3rd Right) sharing a story in the paper during the launch of the News Paper In Education and Ayivu Education Promotion Fund last September.
The Water Aid Uganda acting country representative, Spera Atuhairwe, described the NiE WASH project as a ‘good innovation’ that helped to amplify the children’s voice on sanitation and hygiene to policy makers and other stakeholders.
“It showed that there can be good partnership between the media and charity organisations. It was a good model, which I want to see replicated,” Atuhairwe said.
“It was empowering in away that pupils and teachers used newspapers to promote the reading culture among children and bring out sanitation issues in public.”
According to Dixon Ampumuza, Advocacy Manager, Media in Education, The New Vision has over the years been able to reach out to over 400 schools nationwide by supporting them with New Vision Newspapers in Education (NiE). This has outreach as greatly improved literacy standards and impacted children’s lives in different ways.
“The New Vision’s NiE project has also helped train 834 teachers who can teach using newspaper as a teaching aid and directly reached to over 200,000 young readers,” said Ampumuza.
He added that: “Our Newspaper in Education programme regards young people as a vital part of our growth hence we have continuously themed our projects in all our media platforms to engage young people. At vision Group we have successfully captured young readers who identify themselves with our products”.
Ampumuza says winning this award had a lot to do with Vision Groups partners; WaterAid, Save the Children, Bwindi Community Hospital, National Drug Authority and United Bank for Africa who believed and co-funded the project to reach different communities.
“Vision Group’s Media in Education publications are in line with advancing communities through media advocacy, addressing issues that affect communities like water sanitation and hygiene, child rights, environment, drug safety, road safety, financial literacy, peace building and boosting Literacy which World Association of newspaper and World young readers program promote,” explained Ampumuza.
Young readers are an important segment of our newspaper readers and that their opinions are validated by our media platforms this has allowed us to incorporate new and innovative strategies to accommodate different partners and projects through reading and Learning with Newspapers.
WAN-IFRA is the global organization of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.