A reporter with Citi FM, Ghana Boakye-Yiadom , has won the African Story Challenge by telling the story of how SMS text message technology is transforming the lives of rural farmers in his country.
The award carries a fully-sponsored international reporting trip and laptop prizes for the first and second runners-up.
Diana Neille’s story on land inequalities in South Africa for eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) came second, while Alex Chamwada of Citizen TV in Kenya was voted second runner-up for a series of reports on how a region of southern Somalia has overcome the odds of civil strife to feed people within and beyond Somalia’s borders.
The chairperson of the judging panel and group publisher of IC publishers, Omar Ben Yedder, had this to say of Yiadom’s award-winning story: “Boakye-Yiadom’s story was very well told. You can tell he has done the leg work. There’s lots of first hand evidence, he has spoken to people on the ground and went around the country to find out the impact of technologies on farmers.”
The story explored the impact that the simple but effective SMS technology is having on farms and families in Ghana, with a goal to improving the health and prosperity of Africans.
“We were impressed by the high calibre of journalists that we have attracted in this pan-African contest,” says African Story Challenge Editor, Joseph Warungu. “We need more of this kind of journalism that makes a real difference in the lives of ordinary people by taking on issues that are often overshadowed by politics and entertainment news.”
Yiadom emerged winner from among 20 finalists and 315 entries from across the African continent.
The entries were screened by a technical review panel that evaluated which ideas had the best potential to become top-quality stories on Agriculture and Food Security, the first of five themed categories covered by the contest.
The African Story Challenge is a project of the African Media Initiative, AMI, the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators, in partnership with the International Center for Journalists.
AMI gives reporting grants to encourage journalists to experiment with new content ideas and ways to engage audiences through mobile technology, social media and other digital tools.
Warungu, who is AMI’s content development director, developed the project while an ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow attached to AMI.