Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, has splashed cash, awards and other privileges to some Nigerians and Ghanaian journalists whose works were adjudged the best in the “Stay at Home” media recognition awards which was in partnership with the First Ladies of Nigeria and Ghana, Dr. Aisha Buhari and Rebecca Akufo-Addo, respectively.
The award, according to the Foundation, was instituted to encourage journalists to use their different media platforms to educate and enlighten the public on COVID-19 particularly in creating awareness on how best to stay safe, sustain physical and mental health during the lockdown.
It was also meant for the journalists to evidently separate facts from myths and misconceptions using different story lines in print, electronic and online media platforms.
Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej, in a statement that contain the names of the award winners, said that impressive number of entries were received and each of the entry was superb, thus making it a little bit difficult for the award committee to choose the winners.
“But nevertheless, the decision on the winners were made after a rigorous and transparent selection process based on already established criteria for the selection. However, I am very proud of the winners who have, undoubtedly, helped to educate the communities about COVID-19 through their exceptional work.
“I have always believed that media can play a very important role in sensitizing the people about sensitive issues such as COVID-19 global pandemic. Big congratulations to all the winners.”
She, however, confirmed that the quality of work received was impressive, hence the decision of the media awards committee to introduced a second and a third position, and selected more than one winner, in some occasions, for each of the four categories from all the regions.
She said that the valuable contribution from the winners in sensitizing their respective communities about COVID-19 encouraged the Foundation to additionally reward them all to become Merck Foundation Alumni and provide them with one-year access to online educational training program called “Master Class”.
The Master Class, she explained, is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet. “This is to motivate passionate journalists to continue writing and advocating for social, economic and health issues across their countries”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Meanwhile the health editor, Daily Trust Newspaper, Ojoma Akor, was among the journalists that won the award in Nigeria. Others Ishioma Emi Mary, Ebere Agozie, Odimegwu Onwumere, Aneta Felix and Ekene Odigwe.
In Ghana, it was Albert Futukpor, Lydia Kukua Asamoah, Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, Grace Hammoah Asare, Nana Yaw Gyimah Mensah, and Wendy Laryea, that won the award.