NTV’s features reporter scoops prestigious award
NTV features reporter Rose Wangui is the winner of the Knight International Journalism Awards 2019.
International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) in Washington, DC made the announcement on Tuesday night.
Wangui unearths stories about tough or taboo subjects that no one else dares to touch. ICFJ added stories have led to major improvements in the conditions she brings to light.
Ms Wangui won the award jointly with Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) regional editor Stevan Dojcinovic.
The award honours journalists who, despite difficult circumstances, produce pioneering news reports or innovations that make an impact on the lives of their countries or regions. Recipients include reporters, editors, technologists, media managers or citizen journalists
The two will be awarded during the ICFJ’s 35th Anniversary Awards Dinner on November 7 in Washington, DC.
I survived Covid 19 While Battling TB and Living With a Disability
Serile Awinja popularly known as “Senje” is a 79-year-old woman from Riruta Satellite, Dagoretti South Constituency in Nairobi Kenya. Senje has been living with a disability since 1989 when she was attacked by her nephew in her home in Huruma. Despite being paralyzed from the waist down she has beat the odds and overcome life’s challenges to sustain herself as she has no husband or children.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Senje used to make a living using her skills in dress-making and tailoring in her shop located in Riruta Satellite along Kabiria Road.
With support from the local community, she could supply uniforms to both public and private schools in Dagoretti and also embroider labels on the uniforms and other designs.
“I always give thanks to God even though I lost my ability to move around and do tons of the businesses I was used to. But God gave me the skills on my hands for a purpose.”
Like other persons living with disabilities after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Senje was forced to stay home due to her old age to limit contact with other people and this dealt a huge blow to her livelihood. She did not relent, she kept working from home and was able to make a living even though it was very small.
“After this pandemic began, I was not able to do business like before because of the lockdowns and quarantine. Most schools closed and orders were not coming in like before. “
“Life was very difficult, I depended on friends, well-wishers and my brother for food and sometimes even struggled to pay rent. “
“In 2021 I developed a serious cough and after seeking treatment was diagnosed with TB. After sorting treatment from the local dispensary at Kivuli and the Mbagathi Referral Hospital, I was cured but I did not give up I continued working.”
The Covid 19 pandemic forced everyone to switch from their normal way of life and adapt to sustain themselves.
The third born in a family of 6, Senje has been able to use her skills in dress-making and crocheting from the traditional way of sewing and embroidery. She has been able to be innovative despite her old age and the competition brought about by the digital revolution due to the connections and network she has built. Through funds that were disbursed by the government during the pandemic to the vulnerable in the community, she was able to purchase an electric machine. This assisted her in the production of sweaters, beanies, and masks in large numbers on order.
In early 2022 her tailoring business went down and Senje was not making enough money to sustain herself. She then moved to selling sweets through hawking using a wheelchair. This at least could earn her some money.
“Through Psycho-social support from my doctors and social groups with my neighbors I was able to start vending sweets. This was the only way to survive. I depended on one young man and a few neighbors who used to push me on my wheelchair. It was never easy especially when there was no one to help me, narrates Senje.
Peter Wekesa, a 17-year-old boy narrates how he supported Senje through her daily struggle.
“Every time I am free, I would push Senje on her wheelchair as she sold sweets. When I was busy I would leave her at the stage and call her in the evening after football practice to bring her back home,” Peter noted.
Just like Senje, most persons living with disability rely on formal support from assistants or service providers or informal support from relatives/friends. Services like one-on-one counseling were not and still are not easy to find as most PWDs are impoverished.
Despite this she was lucky enough to get support from her social worker Pauline Mwende, from Kivuli Dispensary.
“I used to go visit Senje almost weekly to help her with house chores, cooking even bringing foodstuff for her. Fortunately, Senje is very hardworking despite her old age. She is not one to always go begging on the streets. Even when she feels low, she would tell me; Mwende my daughter today I’m feeling down. We could have a cup of tea and tell stories.” noted Mwende.
Theresiah Wangui a mental health expert at the Mutuini Level 4 Hospital explains that people living with disability especially women were severely affected mentally by the pandemic with the loss of their jobs or source of income.
‘’During and after the pandemic, we dealt with a lot of cases whereby one is dealing with depression and trauma because maybe he/she lost a job. What we did more was to help them recover.’’
According to an ethnographic research report done in Kenya and Bangladesh by the International Disability Alliance in Kenya alone, more than 92% of respondents said their daily lives had been affected, pinpointing factors such as limited transport, restricted movement, lack of available necessities, lack of contact with others in schools, church, and other social functions, reduced income and the loss of their job or income.
A disability-inclusive crisis response will better serve everyone in the future, by providing more inclusive, accessible, sustainable, and agile systems that are able to respond to complex situations and reach those that are most in need.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Stephanie Wayua and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
I am Journalist with a keen interest on stories around women and children
Lake Nakuru Fishers Still Adamant Despite Ban on Fishing
Residents say fishing in flooded area has thrown them a new economic lifeline
When Lake Nakuru burst its banks in March 2021, the distraught residents of Mwariki, Barut constituency had to move to safer grounds. Over 200 families were displaced, and their farming land was rendered useless.
Today, things are different as the residents turn to fish in the expanded lake to eke out their living.
“When the floods came, we had to look for alternative places to live. Some of us had to demolish our houses and close down our businesses. It was a hard time for us,” says Freshia Muthoni, a resident at Mwariki who was displaced from her home by the floods.
Freshia says now fishing has thrown them a new economic lifeline since most farmers whose land was submerged by the floods have invested in boats and fishing nets.
The fishermen go fishing in the wee hours of the morning to secure their catch. Fishing in Mwariki has since become a booming business despite the government’s efforts to curb any fishing activities in Lake Nakuru. Scientists are blaming the flooding, which has expanded the lake to people’s homes and farmlands to climate change. Years of environmental degradation, pollution, and deforestation are affecting the biodiversity of Lake Nakuru.
However, the residents see the flooding as a blessing in disguise. Florence Waruguru, another resident of Mwariki, says that fishing in Lake Nakuru has been a relief to those who lost their land to floods.
“Our land is submerged underwater. We can no longer grow anything on it. Fortunately, the water came with plenty of fish, which we now sell to meet our needs. The fish helps us to feed and even educate our children,” she says.
However, fishing in Lake Nakuru has not been without its challenges. The residents complain of the policemen’s harassment as they confiscate their nets and fish.
“We do not understand why they take away our fish and nets. Some of them demand bribes and when we cannot pay them, they take away our fish. For us, we plan to continue fishing until the government relocates us to other places,” says Freshia.
Early this year, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (Kmfri) banned fishing in the lake, citing that the fish in Lake Nakuru is contaminated with toxic components.
According to the Kmfri report, the fish in Lake Nakuru can cause adverse effects on humans if consumed over a long period. This is because of the sewage and runoff water from the county drains into the lake.
The fishers, however, will hear none of this, saying that they have consumed Lake Nakuru’s fish for a long time without any harm. Some fishmongers at the lakeside have come from different counties to earn a living in the now extended lake.
Even as the fishing continues, there is doubt on its impact on the exotic species of fish in Lake Nakuru.
‘Holy Water’, Covid-19 Cure Controversy
There is a division in Legio Maria of African Church Mission after some of them alleged knowledge in Coronavirus treatment. Here is a story of how extremist belief in religion has propelled Covid-19 disinformation.
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