Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Yamikani Mwando

By IWPR
  • A man in Harare reads a SouthAfrican weekly. (Photo: IWPR)
    A man in Harare reads a SouthAfrican weekly. (Photo: IWPR)
  • MDC supporters sing and dance at a rally in Harare. (Photo: IWPR)
    MDC supporters sing and dance at a rally in Harare. (Photo: IWPR)

I have been writing for IWPR for almost two years now under the pen name Yamikani Mwando, in what has been one of my most fulfilling professional engagements as a journalist.

IWPR has offered me an opportunity to document the Zimbabwean crisis, enabling me to pursue stories that the mainstream media has either ignored or at least not fully explored.

Analytical reporting on the Zimbabwean story has been lacking, with many news sources resorting to mere speculation on what the political leaders are up to.

“Writing for IWPR has been one of my most fulfilling professional engagements as a journalist.”

The in-depth analysis commissioned by IWPR, on the other hand, has meant it has been possible for readers to gain a deeper understanding of the crisis here.

The website has given ordinary Zimbabweans media space to articulate how their lives have been changed for the worse by the decade-old political and economic crisis, which has left the country with what the World Bank has termed the fastest shrinking economy outside a war zone.

Working for IWPR has broadened my professional horizons, as reports published on its site are widely respected and appear in some of the world's greatest media outlets.
 

Contributing pieces to the site has allowed me to make a contribution to shaping and documenting Zimbabwe's post-independence history.

For me, the defining moment of writing for IWPR came when one of my pieces on water woes in Zimbabwe's second largest city Bulawayo came second in the Water Sanitation Hygiene, WASH, awards. The awards, which were sponsored by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WSSCC, and the Stockholm International Water Institute, SIWI, were announced on August 14.

The story titled Cholera Fears as Bulawayo Water Crisis Continues was published on September 17, 2007. It was one of 140 entries from 40 countries. The WASH Media awards cited the winning entries for “the excellence in reporting on water, sanitation and hygiene issues”.

“Contributing pieces to [IWPR’s] site has allowed me to make a contribution to shaping and documenting Zimbabwe's post-independence history.”

Receiving this award is further testimony to the invaluable opportunity and platform which IWPR provides to report on all the issues most critical to Zimbabweans.

Working for the organisation has given weight to my resume, and has also helped hone my reporting skills at a time when Zimbabwean journalists are accused of foregoing the core principles of journalism by peddling falsehoods by the increasingly recalcitrant and autocratic president Robert Mugabe.

As the Zimbabwean tragedy continues to unfold, IWPR continues to provide invaluable news and information which otherwise would not be available to either reporters or readers.