John Muchangi Njiru, a young journalist from Kenya and one of Women Deliver’s “100 Young Leaders” from 2010 was recently presented with the HIV/AIDS Reporting Award at the 2012 CNN African Journalist Awards.
Muchangi started his career in journalism in 2003, when he began writing for The People Daily newspaper. By 2005, he had transitioned from writing about business, the environment, and development, to writing as the Science Editor. In 2007, he moved on to writing as a features editor for The Star newspaper, where he covered health and environment stories. Today, he still holds this position.
The only print journalism winner from Kenya, Muchangi’s winning piece was titled “Inside the life of Nairobi male sex workers,” published by The Star in December 2011 for World AIDS Day. His was among the more than 1,800 entries that were submitted from 42 African countries. His piece was lauded for its insight into a HIV/AIDS risk group, using their own voices.
Ferial Haffajee, a judge for the Awards and Editor-in-Chief of City Press said, "What stood out for me in this one was, I loved the characters he painted, they were colorful and you could almost imagine them. I thought that the writing was quite brave, and I really liked that he was absolutely non-judgmental, and just told a story without moralizing."
John Muchangi was also accepted to the prestigious Knight Science Journalism Fellows program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and 11 others were accepted to the fellows program, which will begin this Fall and continue for one academic year.
In 2010, as part of his being named among Women Deliver’s 100 Young Leaders, Muchangi was awarded a full scholarship to the 2010 Women Deliver 2nd Global Conference, where he and other young leaders took part in skills-building for advocacy, key message development, communications and outreach, and community-level organizing skills. Muchangi told Women Deliver:
"I attended Women Deliver conference in 2010 as one of the '100 Young Leaders,' and discovered people in most developing countries have little access to reproductive health services. The meeting helped me connect how maternal health, HIV treatment, and diagnosis are all interrelated. Thus, my interest in this area of HIV reporting was established. HIV is a key part of reproductive health and my interest in it stems from the fact that this epidemic can easily be stopped by universal coverage of treatment and testing, among other measures. Sex workers in Kenya are among the most at-risk populations to HIV infection. This is what drove my investigation into “Inside the life of Nairobi male sex workers."
In the lead up to the 2013 Women Deliver 3rd Global Conference, Women Deliver held youth pre-conference meetings during regional consultations in Kampala, Uganda and Mexico City, Mexico. These pre-conference sessions also allowed for young leaders and advocates to build a young network of youth advocates, discuss best practices, and gain skills in advocacy and communications.
Watch the video below to hear more about John Muchangi's winning story: