Career, Features

Promoting Female Journalists through the BBC’s Komla Dumor Awards, 2022

It is not a surprise that women have risen to take up spaces in all works of life and they are getting recognition for it. One of the most prestigious awards in the field of journalism, the Komla Dumor Award returns annually and is presented to one outstanding individual living and working in Africa, who combines strong journalism skills, on-air flair and an exceptional talent in telling African stories with the ambition and potential to become a star of the future. This is an important award in Africa as a continent and globally as it offers a great opportunity for journalists to learn, grow and contribute to the continual legacy of Komla Dumor by telling authentic African stories.

Amina Kaunda

The award was established to honour Komla Dumor, an exceptional Ghanaian broadcaster and presenter for BBC world news, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014. Dumor was the presenter of Focus on Africa, the BBC’s first-ever dedicated daily TV news programme in English for African audiences, broadcast on BBC World news. He was also one of the lead presenters for BBC World News’ European morning segment.

Launched in 2015, the Komla Dumor has attracted thousands of applicants each year. For its first year, Nancy Kacungira from Uganda became the first female award recipient beating other contenders to win the coveted price. This was followed by Didi Akinyelure and Amina Yuguda from Nigeria in subsequent years. And the most recent winner being Victoria Rubadari from Kenya, who won in 2020. 7 years later, women are in the lead, scooping at least four awards since its launch, paving the way for women in journalism.

Earlier this year, the Komla Dumor Award 2022 was opened for applications with several women in journalism across the continent applying for the award. Shortlisted applicants received confirmation via email of their qualification to the next step of the competition. Among exceptional women who have been giving a voice to the African stories in their countries and exude confidence as future stars.

Francisca Enchill the investigative journalist is one of them. She works on the Corruption Watch Project which runs the Corruption Show on Joy FM and Adam FM. With over 10 years under her belt, Enchill has uncovered great stories in her journey as an investigative journalist. Since the inception of the Komla Dumor awards some 7 years ago, no Ghanaian has won the award. An elated Francisca was happy about the recognition of her work by the BBC and looked forward to the final decision of the BBC Komla Dumor Awards Committee.

Antonia Howard

Another shortlisted candidate is Zambian broadcaster and journalist Amina Kaunda, who became the first female Zambian journalist to be shortlisted for the prestigious award. Amina Kaunda graduated with a bachelor of Arts- in communications and media studies from university of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, south Africa. Now well known for her big voice prowess on popular news channels like spring TV and Diamond TV, Kaunda’s media journey dates to 2017 when she as an On Air radio host at millennium radio station in Lusaka. She took to her Facebook page to share her excitement after receiving the news that she made it to the next stage of the competition for the Komla Dumor award, encouraging her followers with a caption: “Never Listen to That Voice of Doubt in your head.”

Another addition to many firsts is AYV’s breakfast show Wake Up Sierra Leone’s Antonia Howard, who became the first Sierra Leonean to be shortlisted for the prestigious award. She is a presenter and reporter for African Young Voices Media, a private media conglomerate in Sierra Leone. The award-winning journalist who began her journey in the media industry in 2014 at Radio Life Ventures, a small community radio station in Freetown holds a BA degree in Mass Communication, Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone and a Master of Arts in International Journalism from Cardiff university and graduated in 2020 with a distinction. She also works as a Freelancer for the BBC World News and reports for Business Africa, a weekly TV programme. Howard expressed her nervousness and excitement for the nomination as she spoke in an interview, saying that the award was a great opportunity to learn and grow. Antonia Howard is well known for her calm personality and intelligent prowess on the AYV’s breakfast show.

The winner of the BBC World News Komla Dumor award will receive a once-in-a-lifetime training and development opportunity with the BBC in London, starting in early September 2022 and running for three months. Working with the teams from across BBC News, the winner will produce an African story for the BBC and have their story and voice shared across the continent and the world. They will be supported by a high level BBC mentor and attend courses run by the BBC’s world-class training department, the BBC Academy.

The BBC will sponsor the winner’s trip to the UK and will also arrange and pay for accommodation in London during their placement. In addition to this, the winner will receive 2,000 euros per month for the three-month placement to cover their living expenses and a one-off payment of 5000 euros as a contribution towards loss of salary in their home country. The BBC Komla Dumor Awards are aimed at uncovering and promoting fresh talents from the African continent.

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