Southern Africa Media has awarded Malawian journalist Alick Ponje in Social Accountability Reporting during the recent Telkom-Highway Africa Awards Gala Dinner.
The Highway Africa conference, which was held at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa,is said to be the world’s largest gathering of African journalists.
The award recognizes journalists from Malawi,Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia whose reporting contributes to improvement of services in health care and agriculture.
Ponje got the award for his article on Times entitled ‘Private Hospitals Breach Government Pact’ which reveals how privately run clinics and mobile clinics are breaching their contracts with Malawi’s Ministry of Health.
Highway Africa’s Director Chris Kabwato told Grocotts that, “his (Ponje) reporting provides insight into critical issue of social accountability in the use of public resources, which has affected both health budgets as well as the provision of affordable services”.
Senior Programme Officer at Public Service Accountability Monitor(PSAM) added that the media has essential role in keeping the government to task on providing quality public services.
The 28-year old Ponje now works as Special Projects Reporter at National Publication Group.
The former Times Group employee expressed gratitude saying that the award is motivating.
“Receiving this award is going to motivate me. It shows that people are recognizing the efforts we put into our work. I’m in the early years of my career and this will give me confidence to work on these issues (of social accountability) going forward”, said Ponje.
The journalist also applauded the Highway Africa and PSA Alliance for introducing the award.