Nation journalist Leon Lidigu has scooped the Global Nutrition and Food Security Reporting award.
Lidigu was feted for a story that highlighted the struggles of a vulnerable community faced with malnutrition in school children.
Read: The cost of malnutrition
The story has been selected as the first-place winner of the 2021 Global Nutrition and Food Security Reporting Contest.
The story focused on the cost of malnutrition on children in Nairobi's Kibera slum. The minors often depend on school to get their only meal of the day.
The multimedia feature also outlined the lifelong challenges that result when young children are malnourished or undernourished.
“Lidigu’s story is an excellent piece of explanatory and solutions-oriented journalism,” said Roger Thurow, an expert on global nutrition who served on the panel of judges.
“The narrative and graphics combine to form a compelling exploration of the cost of malnutrition for individuals, families, communities, and a country, and summons an urgency to prioritise improving nutrition for all.”
Second on the list of winners is Indian journalist Srishti Jaswal for her exposé on a national food distribution system that left out millions of needy families. In third place was Ojoma Akor of Nigeria for her story on a rural community’s efforts to stave off hunger in orphans.
The awards are given by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in partnership with the Eleanor Crook Foundation, a US-based philanthropy dedicated to the fight against malnutrition.
It recognises powerful and forward-looking storytelling on the impact of malnutrition on childhood development and proven interventions such as breastfeeding and life-saving food supplements.
Lidigu said he was humbled by the win and grateful to the Nation's Executive Editor Pamella Sittoni and Managing Editor Weekends, Health and Science Bernard Mwinzi for their guidance as he went about the story.
“I am grateful to my mentors and colleagues for their immense assistance and support and my mum who has been very supportive,” he said.
Eleanor Crook Foundation CEO Will Moore said the dynamic reporting from each of the participants serves as an important reminder of the incredible power of storytelling.
"They represent the thousands of courageous journalists the world over who are working every day to bring increased attention to underreported issues, including the worsening global malnutrition crisis. These stories are key to ensuring vulnerable communities have access to lifesaving care," Moore said.
The contest was launched amid the largest spike in global hunger in 20 years. Moore added that the pandemic, combined with the effects of climate change, longer and lasting conflicts, and years of economic stagnation, meant that more than a third of the world’s population lack access to adequate food.
The story contest carries a $2,500 cash prize for the first place winner, $1,500 for second place and $500 for third place.