The Swiss-based UCIP presents its International Journalism Awards every three years to outstanding secular and religious media professionals, publications and institutions worldwide.
The awards were for the first time since 1927 being held on the African continent in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.
The triennial awards honour outstanding media professionals, publications and institutions worldwide and recognise their exemplary contributions.
Sachiti and eight other journalists from India, Peru, the US, Spain and Mexico won the International Award for Solidarity with Refugees, which aims at preventing events that force people to become refugees.
Presenting the awards, UCIP secretary-general Joseph Joseph Calstas-Chittilappilly said the jury took the decision considering on one hand Sachiti’s brilliant and exemplary presentation in her features on Somali and Ethiopian refugees who for different reasons knock on Zimbabwe’s Nyamapanda border post, and on the other hand, the message she wanted to communicate through her work.
Mr Chittilappilly said the media could play a significant role in preventing civil disputes, conflicts and wars, which are among the first and major events that force people to leave their homes and even countries.
He said the award also aims at making nations and people aware of the plight of refugees and displaced people, so that greater and better attention is given to reducing what causes people to become refugees and helping to solve an already existing refugee crisis.
“It also honours and recognises media professionals who have campaigned for the dignity and the rights of refugees as human beings, so that media men and women worldwide commit themselves more and more to put an end to the refugee phenomenon.
“The award is also a way of finding new methods, attitudes and dispositions for dealing with refugees and displaced people, so that refugees are not treated merely as objects needing only food and water to survive a few more days,” he said.
The award was under the theme: “Refugees, A Challenge to Solidarity through Media”.
Sub-themes included covering events that produce refugees, the prevention of conflicts in order to avoid forced migration, globalisation and its consequences with regard to forced displacement, economic policies that force people to leave their homes and homeland, solutions for solving the plight of refugees, and giving respect and equal consideration to refugees.
The International Award for Solidarity with Refugees is awarded to a maximum of five best entries and their authors from different parts of the world.
Mr Chittilappilly revealed that award winners will at one point be invited to be consultants on refugee problems and to visit refugee camps and undertake activities in view of solving the refugee crisis in their own countries, regions and worldwide.
He said that thousands of journalists, media professionals, publications, and communications institutions worldwide see the International Journalism and Media Awards as high-level formation opportunities thus the increased number of award entries this year.
“We received over 1 950 entries from around the world but only wanted 50 winners,” he said.
He pointed out that the awards motivate journalists to become competent and professional in their everyday exercise of their profession.
“The awards have boosted the morale of journalists, publishers, professors of communication and other media professionals worldwide,” he added.
Other categories included the Gold Medal, Titus Bradsma Award, the International Photojournalism Award, International Award for Women’s Issues, International Award for Edu-communication, International Award for Excellence in Journalism and the international Award for Religious Dialogue.
Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore officially opened the congress while former Ghananian President Jerry Rawlings is expected to give a keynote address.