The Sarojini Naidu Prize (SNP) for Best Reporting on Women and Panchayati Raj, held every year on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, is special to The Hunger Project (THP). The prize is primarily aimed at encouraging print media journalists to engage with the leadership of elected women in the grassroots and take cognizance of the pioneering changes they bring to local governance.
In the last 10 years journalists have chronicled the progress of women’s participation in local democracy in India. They have written over 10,000 articles to showcase that women have moved beyond reservation, and are now participating and exercising their leadership.
This year SNP turned ten. In recognition of a decade of partnership with the print media the award ceremony was held at the THP Global headquarters in New York to coincide with the THP Global Fall Event on 23rd October 2010.
2122 articles were submitted by journalists for SNP 2010 in all three categories of English, Hindi and Other Indian Languages. The best article from all the entries submitted in each category is selected by a panel of eminent jury. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.2,00,000 and a citation.
Former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano awarded the prize winners at the THP Global Fall Event. The winners of the tenth SNP were:
~ Rumni Ghosh for her article “Be Careful, Here Lives Amaso Bai” in the Hindi Language category
~ Preethi Nagaraj for her article “From Homeless Tribals to GP Chief” in the English Language category
~ Bornali Boruah for her article “Panchayati Raj Brings Change amidst Two Leaves and a Bud” in the Other Regional Languages category
Speaking on the occasion of the Sarojini Naidu Prize ceremony at the UN Convention Plaza, Sriparna G Chaudhuri, Director, THP India, said that 2010 was not only the tenth year of building women’s leadership in local democracy in India, but also of SNP.
“THP’s campaign in India is to empower the elected women representatives (EWRs) in Panchayats, to build and strengthen their leadership so that they become effective leaders in their communities, know their rights, and access the entitlements so that they are able to end hunger and injustice in their villages and communities.
SNP is given for best reporting on women in Panchayati Raj to encourage the journalists to promote the success stories of the EWRs and the incredible work they are doing in remote corners of the country.
“Women in Panchayats are no longer unsure of themselves. Today they are enthusiastic, informed, knowledgeable and educated political leaders, keen to bring development to the panchayats. Today they are laying down the foundation of clean inclusive democratic and violence free institutions of local governance of India,” said Sriparna.
In this journey, the journalists have certainly partnered with the elected women by breaking myths, providing information and supporting them during the elections. Most importantly, they have helped to change the cynical mindset of the civil society in India and turn it positively towards women’s leadership in our country.
Sriparna also recalled that in its first year of existence, SNP received 166 articles and in ten years the number has grown to over 2000. The prize has grown in stature and prestige; it has also grown in the way the journalists have written about the issues EWRs face every day in their communities and constituencies. The articles now talk about women’s rights, women’s leadership and women’s political participation.
“In this tenth year of the partnership with EWRs and print media of India, 3 women journalists have won the prize. We hope there will be many other crusaders who will take time out from their busy schedule to chronicle, write and unearth the stories of these elected women, who are the actual women of substance,” she said.