The awards were a first of its kind for the NBI. After several months of meticulous preparation, the Nile Media Awards 2015 took place on 4th June at a gala dinner in Dodoma, Tanzania. The ceremony attracted high profile political heads from the Basin region, development partners and journalists in whose honor the event was held.
Prior to the awards ceremony, judges went through a rigorous exercise, sorting through more than 100 entries before selecting just four finalists in two categories – radio and print. Entries submitted for the competition related to the themes: ‘Nile Cooperation’ and ‘Nile Basin’ on subjects such as Water, Environment, Energy, Climate Change, Agriculture, Health, Tourism, Regional Economic Integration and Hydro-Diplomacy.
In the radio category, Secilia Ndabigeze, from Tanzania, received the award for Best Radio Program. In her feature, she embarked on a journey in East Africa to discover how the different countries were tackling the problem of water hyacinth on Lake Victoria. Judges commended the feature for its structure and coverage of a wide range of views, which consolidated the message.
Gerald Tenywa, from Uganda, collected the award for best story in the print category for an article in The New Vision titled “River erosion: Uganda losing land to Congo.” The article explored how lack of a plan for sustainable development has caused the people of Ntoroko district in western Uganda to be at war with River Semliki. The judging panel applauded the topic, which addressed multi-dimensional aspects including human, economic and environmental views.
The 1st runner-up prize in the radio category went to Claver Hakizimana from Burundi whose recording examined the need to meet energy requirements in Burundi without compromising the interests of other member countries of the Nile Basin Initiative downstream. He looked at the Nile Basin Decision Support System’s (DSS) contribution to the improvement of energy production in Burundi and the importance of the tool in creating more trust between Nile Basin states.
Mona Abdelhalim Eid Sewilam, from Egypt, was 1st runner up in the print category. Her article, on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Project, “A win-win situation,” published in Al-Ahram Weekly (initially aired on her TV program Peace in Focus) examined Egyptians’ fear that Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam would reduce the amount of water that reaches Egypt.