01 Sep Haller Prize 2014 Winner, Nelson Chenga, Reflects On The Last Year
Hi, my name is Nelson Chenga and a year ago I was the slightly disillusioned Supplements and Senior Features Writer for The Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe’s leading business weekly newspaper.
I had been working in journalism for 25 years and development issues were always very close to my heart, so when some colleagues mentioned the Haller Prize for Development Journalism I had mixed emotions as I honestly thought ‘Haller…who are these guys?’ As I had never heard of them, I was slightly suspicious, but having read the information about the Prize over and over again and researched the Haller Foundation, I decided to give it a go and highlight, in a small way, why Africa remains poorly developed. So much money is pumped into the continent, but there is nothing to show for it and I thought, just maybe, I might influence change in the way donors give out aid. To my surprise, my article ‘Funding gone down the drain’ won first Prize and re-ignited my enthusiasm for writing.
Winning the Haller Prize boosted my confidence as I realized, that there are people out there who are serious about changing the way we look at development aid. Development reporting is one of those areas many journalists consider to be boring, yet this should be the avenue that we should be using to influence sustainable African development.
I have subsequently gone on to win the UN Zimbabwe Award for development and also been promoted to News Editor, a position I could only have dreamt of holding a year ago – I would love to write more on development issues but sadly there is little interest in these stories and I often wonder what will it take for governments to act.
Competitions like the Haller Prize for Development Journalism are hugely important and I urge all journalists to keep development issues alive and write about what is happening around them.