On Wednesday 30 June 2021 the lsu Elihle Awards finalists where announced during an awards ceremony held online by Media Monitoring Africa and UNICEF. South Africa’s Robyn Wolfson Vorster, Uganda’s Caroline Ayugi, Kenya’s Thomas Mwiraria Murithi and Dorcas Wangira, Zimbabwe’s Farai Shawn Matiashe and Nigeria’s Stephanie Ohumu where announce as top contenders.

Robyn Wolfson Vorster

Robyn Wolfson Vorster is a South African freelance journalist with a special focus on children.  With a background in social sciences, and experience in consulting and project management, Robyn left the corporate sector nine years ago to focus on writing about and advocating for changes to legislation and policy regarding children, and giving vulnerable children a voice.  Since then she has published more than 60 articles about children, mostly for the Daily Maverick.  She is married to Neil and mom of four, including her beautiful daughter Asha, whose adoption inspired her focus on child rights.  You can find her at https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/author/robynwolfsonvorster/ or https://www.facebook.com/forthevoicelesssa/

Caroline Ayugi

Caroline Ayugi is a freelance journalist based in Gulu, Northern Uganda. Her first major story contributions, which were on the recovery of Northern Uganda from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war, got published by Institute for War and Peace Reporting based in London. 

She has also worked for The New Vision and The Observer Uganda newspapers, news editor at two radio stations in northern Uganda and a bureau chief at Uganda Radio Network, a news agency.

Caroline, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Makerere University and Public Administration from Gulu University currently contributes stories for The Cooperator News, Uganda Radio Network and Daily Monitor.

Her experience in working as an online content producer for Oysters & Pearls-Uganda, a charity that Cultivates Education and Technology and among the visually impaired for the past three years has helped her to identify and write more underreported stories about the challenges Persons with Disabilities in Uganda face.

Stephanie .l. Ohumu

S.I Ohumu is a journalist focused on social impact stories at the intersection of youth, gender equity, mental wellness, and climate action. She has worked as an investigative journalist and producer for the Emmy nominated documentary, ‘Sex for Grades’ by the BBC Africa Eye, which exposed sexual harassment in West African universities. The film led to the passing of the anti-sexual harassment bill at the Nigerian senate, and the dismissal of predatory professors.

She is currently Content Producer at Radio Now 95.3 FM where she produces cross-platform stories using text, sound, and short-form video, to hold power accountable.

Her writing has appeared in Ours Magazine, This is Africa, Tech Cabal, been exhibited at Venice Biennale, and web series on climate action syndicated by YNaija. She is a regional representative of the National Youth Climate Innovation Hub.

Farai Shawn Matiashe 

Farai Shawn Matiashe is an award-winning journalist based in Mutare, Zimbabwe who writes for various international media outlets including Aljazeera, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Vice World News, The Africa Report and Quartz Africa. Farai, who has reported from more than five countries including those in Europe, is passionate about rural reporting where he covers marginalised groups including women and children. Farai’s articles are solution-driven and go beyond just highlighting challenges communities face. 

Dorcas Wangira 

Dorcas Wangira is an early career journalist passionate about science and human-interest features. She is a Features reporter working with Citizen Television, Kenya’s leading TV network. She has previously worked as a special projects reporter and news correspondent for KTN NEWS, Kenya’s only 24-hour news network.

She believes in the power of the human spirit and in amplifying the voices of those often left behind and at the fringes of society. She produces Your Story, a weekly segment . Her work explores social issues and she is often tasked with explaining complex science issues in a simple way, putting a human face to every story.

For her work, she has received the 2020 MERCK Stay at Home Award for East African Countries, 2019 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling, 2019 AJEA Award for I.C.T. T.V.  Reporting, 2019 MERCK Award for Multimedia Infertility Reporting for East African Countries, and the Zimeo 2017 Award for Climate Change and Conservation reporting. She has also been shortlisted for the 2018 Upstream Oil and Gas Journalist of the Year Award, the UK Foreign Press 2017 Young Journalist Award and the 2015 Mohamed Amin Africa Media Award People’s Choice Award. 

An avid reader, Dorcas is passionate about African literature and how the oral and written tradition is central even to news writing. Her vision is clearly spelled out as “disturbing the comfortable; comforting the disturbed.”

Thomas Mwiraria Murithi

Thomas Mwiraria is an award-winning multimedia- Journalist, Writer at heart, and Author with a passion for producing solution-based stories about social justice and environment. He is currently Wildlife Reporting grantee of Infoline, Visual Story-Teller at Hashtag our stories, International Centre for Journalist, and Facebook Journalism Project. 

His health story about poverty-related-plague that had affected over 200,000 children in Uganda won Thomson Foundation’s Journalism Now Scholar Prize in 2019.  In 2018 he was awarded Eco-Warrior Award by Eco-Tourism Kenya for Promoting the People, Culture, and Heritage. 

He was previously a digital journalist at NTV-Kenya and Nation Africa where he produced over 50 public interest stories. For his passion work in Journalism over the last five years , Mwiraria has been awarded several Fellowships notably Facebook and Aga khan University Mobile Video Journalism Fellowship 2020, Climate tracker sustainable Diets fellowship 2020, Infonile wildlife reporting fellowship 2020, and 2021 scholarship award to study Master of arts in digital journalism and communications at The Agakhan University Graduate School of Media Studies. 

Mwiraria lives in Nairobi with his house lizards, but he is open for Cross-border journalism because he believes the future of journalism is collaboration.