The award, aimed at raising awareness about Coronavirus in Africa was given to Mr. Mandela by Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with African First Ladies.
“We are very happy to inform you that your work has been selected by our Merck Foundation Awards Committee to win the First Award in the Online Category from East African Countries for your exceptional coverage that helped create awareness about adapting best protection measures during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic through taking measures such as wearing masks to show love & care to the community, encouraging the community to choose vaccination and support healthcare workers who are at the forefront during this pandemic,” Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation and President of ‘More Than a Mother’ Campaign wrote in a letter.
She added: “We sincerely appreciate your influential media work; hence, we would like to welcome you as a valuable member of ’Merck Foundation Alumni’. We also encourage you to be the ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Advocate’ to further raise awareness about other sensitive issues like infertility, eliminating the stigma around it and supporting girls’ education”.
Mr. Mandela, the only winner from Uganda, will receive an undisclosed fee for his well-deserved exceptional reporting from Merck Foundation on top of a one year access to an online educational training program called “MasterClass”, an offering from Merck Foundation that aims to motivate passionate journalists to continue writing and advocating for social, economic and health issues across African countries.
The “MasterClass” is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet. The MasterClass includes extensive pre-recorded video content for many experts, a class workbook, interactive assignments, and community activities.
On Thursday afternoon, an elated Mandela said he was humbled by the recognition.
“What must I say? I’m really so excited. I really want to thank Merck Foundation on behalf of myself and on behalf of PML Daily as a company for this great award. This award gives me more energy, love, and responsibility to work hard towards the positive change of my community. I commit myself to serve my community, my country, and the region in my possible capacities,” Mandela said.
He added: “PML Daily is not just a workplace. It is a company that believes in young people, believes in works of mistakes and correction. Having media veterans like Alex Atuhaire, why would they need young people like me? They have molded me and I call it home.”
PML Daily staff congratulated Mr. Mandela on his well-deserved recognition.
Mr. Alex B. Atuhaire, PML Daily Editorial Director and veteran investigative editor said Mandela was a “well-chosen awardee”
“We are proud of the work that Mandela and most of our especially young journalists do to advance journalism that helps communities with functional information needs,” Mr. Atuhaire said.
He added: “This is a well-deserved accolade for the hard work that Mandela, who is a key part of our content team does, day-in-day-out”.
Mandela 29, a graduate of Kampala University has served as both a writer and a sub-editor for PML Daily since May 2018.
In the company, he is responsible, among others, to liaise with content curators and reporters across the business to help develop online and offline content for use across different media.
As one of the gatekeepers, he is accountable for writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading content material to be published and schedule for apt timing
In 2019, Mandela was awarded the company’s employee of the year.