Eye Radio has received two awards for reporting on corruption and human rights issues in the country.
The two awards were given on the World Press Freedom Day – May 3, 2017 – by the civil society group, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization.
Under the theme, “Making Corruption cases Known Counts”, Eye Radio received the First Anti-Corruption and Transparency Champion awards.
Eye Radio Presenter Lasuba Memo has been given the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in reporting human rights issues, transparency, and accountability.
The Communication Officer for CEPO, James Bidal said the journalist has shown the commitment to reporting human rights issues.
“The first award that goes to individual journalists who have at least shown some qualities that we are looking for, in reporting on issues to do with corruptions, human rights, and justices, goes to Lasuba Memo of Eye Radio,” Bidal announced.
Mr. Bidal said Eye Radio has been intensively reporting mismanagement of funds for girl education in South Sudan.
Other awards were given to Bakhita Radio and one of its female journalists.
“We have selected two institutions who are basically reporting girl education in South Sudan. they have tirelessly reporting and exposing issue to do with corruption and transparency, so in that, Eye Radio happen to be the winner of the first anti-corruption award,” he said.
Eye Radio won the First Winners of CEPO Anti-Corruption and Transparency-Champion Award Winner (ACT-CAW), after intensive reporting on the cases of malpractice and mismanagement associated with Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) across the country.
The GESS project is a 6-year cash transfer program that was started in 2013, to support enrollment, attendance, and achievement of education for girls. This initiative is from the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of South Sudan, with the funding the UK Agency for International Development.
GESS gives each school girl from Primary four (4) to secondary, about 2,300SSP annually as motivation to retain them in school. The girls are advised to buy personal effects like sanitary pads using the money.
In 2016, few days after the girls received their money; Eye Radio started getting complaints from the parents about the manner in which the funds were handled in some specific schools.
Eye Radio was also tipped that, some schools took the opportunity to recover unpaid school fees by transferring the money for school fees without consulting the parents. This caused frustration among the school girls who had hoped to meet their sanitary demands with the money. Parents were also outraged at the way their daughters were cheated.
The team leader of GESS project, Akuja De Garang expressed disappointment at the reports of mismanagement of the funds which Eye Radio brought to light. Akuja then requested for details of Eye Radio findings which the GESS later used to launch an investigation into the matter.
One week later, Akuja reached out to Eye Radio on phone to share with Eye Radio how the findings helped the project to establish facts on the ground.
Eye Radio report also inspired GESS to investigate the use of these funds in other parts of the country. Some head teachers implicated in the mismanagement of the GESS funds were apprehended and arrested.
Recently, the Country Director of European Union Impact Project, John Shotton appreciated Eye Radio for exposed corruption cases associated with the mismanagement of funds for girl education.
“Eye Radio played a very important role in bringing that to the attention of the public at the local level and to our attention, and I can also go publicly and say that we managed to also recover a huge amount of that money that had been misappropriated,” John said.
The European Union Impact Project is another education program currently managing funds from the European Union that is meant for primary school teachers across the country. The fund is expected to increase teachers’ attendance, improve standards of teaching and encourage the teaching profession.
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