by Chi Ibe
On 12 February, Abuja Aso FM reporter, Ugochi Anyaka received the United Nations Environment Programme’s Young Environmental Journalist Award (YEJA) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, Joseph Murphy, US Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN-HABITAT and Patricia Okoed-Bukumunhe, the previous winner of the award were all on stage to present the award to 29-year-old Anyaka.
Speaking at the press conference, Anyaka said: “It seeks to show the conflicting viewpoints about the Clean Development Mechanism, but ultimately, it tells the story of what some Nigerians are doing to protect their vulnerable environment and save their very existence. Winning the UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award is the greatest moment of joy in my career. It is such an honour to be recognised in this manner,” she said.
Titled ‘Saving the Trees for Paper Briquettes’, her report beat a list of over 120 entries from more than 28 African countries.
The radio program hosted by Anyaka airs on Aso Radio where she works as a producer, continuity announcer and reporter is called “Green Angle” and profiles a project in a low-income suburb of Abuja that manufactures briquettes from waste paper, in order to provide an alternative fuel to traditional firewood.
Ms Anyaka’s report was described by the YEJA jury as a “well-researched report that clearly explained the essence of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need for creating environmental development in Africa”.
As part of her prize, she will take part in a professional exchange visit to the United States.
Launched in 2010, the UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award aims to showcase excellence in the field of environmental reporting and nurture new talent that will help to shape opinion on the environment in Africa and beyond, in years to come. The award is made possible through funding support from the US Department of State.