Yaga Burundi bloggers win media innovation award

RNW Media’s Yaga Burundi digital platform has won second prize in the 2019 Francophone Awards for Innovation in the Media. Announced on Wednesday, March 20 in Paris, the awards recognise innovative approaches to new ways of accessing and consuming information.

The Yaga platform brings together Burundi’s best bloggers and influential change-makers from across the political and social spectrum. Since its launch in 2015, Yaga has grown to be an alternative civic space in a challenging media environment, dealing with a wide range of often sensitive issues.

Yaga is also active on the ground in both Bujumbura and the provinces with its monthly Yaga Nawe debates which have become a well-established and respected forum for discussion. Each has a specific theme relating to young people’s needs and aspirations and local organisations and decision makers are also invited to attend. The debates have been an effective way of providing a civic space where young people can directly call for accountability.

Quality information for youth

Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIL) presented the award to Yaga Coordinator Alain Amrah. She said, “This prize for innovative media makes it possible for us to honour the talents that are able to reach large numbers of young people. Access to quality information is a value we need to protect.”

New activities for Yaga in the previous year include the launch of a mailing group in WhatsApp which attracted more than 4,000 subscribers in less than a month. The platform also launched an ambitious series of motion design videos on its Facebook channel which tackle the prejudices that are rife in Burundian society and the negative consequences they have.

The awards are open to all media outlets (radio, television, print media and new media) in the 57 member states and governments of the OIF. Last year, RNW Media’s project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Habari RDC, won first prize at the 2018 awards.