When the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) closed the call for entries for this year’s West Africa Media Conference and Awards, 952 entries had been received.
The entries for the Awards were filed by journalists from about 450 media houses across all the 16 West African countries, comprising Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone countries in the region.
The 950 entries were received for ten different categories including Human Rights, Investigative, Anti-Corruption, Health reporting and the two new categories, Women Empowerment and Migration reporting, which were introduced for the Awards this year.
“This year’s call for entries has been phenomenal. It is the first time since the commencement of WAMECA that we have received applications from journalists across all the 16 countries in the West Africa region including Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau where Portuguese is the official language,” Kwaku Krobea Asante, Programme Officer of the MFWA, said.
“The diversity in the entries received this year underscores the growing interest in WAMECA and media excellence among journalists in the region,” he added.
WAMECA 2022 is the sixth edition since it commenced in 2017. This year’s event is scheduled for October 20 – 22 and will be held at Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana. It will host a two-day Conference, followed by the Awards event on October 22.
The theme for WAMECA 2022 is Media and Women Empowerment in Africa. The theme forms part of MFWA’s efforts of putting women empowerment at the centre of its work this year.
Participants at this year’s event will be deliberating on how the media on the continent can improve the visibility of women and girls, amplify their voices, drive women’s participation in governance and showcase women’s leadership in all fields. WAMECA 2022 will also explore the role of the media and journalism in addressing the challenges women face in African societies.
The list of finalists for the Awards will be announced in early October after the entries have been evaluated by a jury made up of distinguished, experienced, and renowned journalists and media experts.
The West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) is an initiative of the MFWA to promote media excellence in the sub-region. Since its inception six years ago, the event has each year hosted more than 300 participants from across Africa and beyond.
Over the last six years, the MFWA has received about 4,500 entries cumulatively from journalists in West Africa region. These entries have been received from over 700 media houses. Out of the 4,500 entries, 48 journalists working with electronic, online and newspaper outlets have been honoured for their outstanding reports in different categories.
Last year, Ghanaian Journalist, Kwetey Nartey, and Sama Uthman of Nigeria jointly won the coveted Journalist of the Year Award. Previously, the Award has been won by Manasseh Azure Awuni (2018 & 2020), investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of the Fourth Estate in Ghana, Burkina Faso’s Sama Tounwendsida Hugues Richard (2019) who works with the private newspaper L’Observeteur Paalga in Burkina Faso, and Multimedia Ghana’s Seth Kwame Boateng (2017).
Several other journalists from across the region have also won the specific category awards in the areas of health, SDGs, Anti-corruption, Investigative, Human Rights, Business and SMEs and Telecoms Reporting.
The MFWA has in the last 22 years been advocating for freedom of expression and media development through various interventions that seek to strengthen the media as effective forums for democratic discourse and promote a safer environment for journalistic practice. WAMECA facilitates conversations/deliberations amongst key stakeholders on the challenges that continue to confront the region and honours journalists who brave the storm to tell stories that have significant impact on their societies.