Chennai, October 12, 2020: Three young journalists including two women are the first Mina Swaminathan Media Fellows, 2020. The journalists in Odia, Malayalam and Tamil media will be mentored on the theme ‘Gendered Impacts of COVID-19’. Ms Nandhini V, a journalist with The Hindu Tamil, Ms Jomol Jose who writes for The Better India, Malayalam and Mr Shreekanta Sahoo, working with Sambad, Odia, have been selected as the three Fellows. The selection by an expert committee, was announced at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) today.
Speaking on the award, Prof M S Swaminathan, Founder MSSRF said, “Right from the start the institution adopted a pro-poor, pro-nature, pro-women approach. This is a step to overcome the gender divide in the agricultural landscape. More than an announcement meeting, this is more important for the principles behind this.”
“We felt the gendered impact of COVID-19 has not been adequately represented in the media, which is the theme for this year’s Fellowship. Through a selection procedure, we identified young journalists, who show promise and interest in writing on gender while recognizing those working in disadvantaged locations,” said Dr Madhura Swaminathan, Chairperson MSSRF, announcing the names of the awardees. Dr K S Murali, Executive Director MSSRF, said this was a good opportunity for the Fellows to connect with experts and work on stories that interest them.
Mr Sahoo, based in Koraput district, Odisha, Ms Jomol in Idukki, Kerala and Ms Nandhini in Chennai will receive a cash award of Rs. 50,000 and a citation besides mentoring over a three-month period by experts, while they continue their work with their existing media houses. The three journalists will focus on gender and development, particularly on the post-COVID-19 situation in rural India, to explore how coronavirus changed women’s lives in terms of incomes, health care, mental health, increased household chores and the burden of childcare.
The award has been instituted by Prof M S Swaminathan in recognition of Mrs Mina Swaminathan’s work including development of undergraduate curriculum on gender, agriculture, rural livelihood and development for agricultural universities and contributions to early childhood development which formed the base for ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services), taking multiple needs of women into account.