Voices of Our Future Graduate Wins Prestigious Journalism Award

Congratulations to Gertrude Pswarayi for winning this year's 2011 Kurt Schork Award in the local reporter category. After strengthening her voice through World Pulse's inaugural <a href="https://www.worldpulse.com/en/pulsewire/programs/world-pulse-voices-of-o..." target=_blank">Voices of Our Future class in 2009, Gertrude has become an inspiration to the World Pulse community—and now to the world. Gertrude received the $5,000 award for her Global Press Institute story, "Political Rape Survivors Come Forward in Advance of 2011 Election," an article published last December about women who were raped and exploited as a tool of political persecution in Zimbabwe.

"We applaud her bravery and daring in telling the disturbing stories of raped and exploited women in Zimbabwe, a country with zero tolerance for the journalism of revelation," wrote the judges. "Just when you feel that you can neither read, nor watch/listen to anything more about Mugabe's Zimbabwe, you must come to terms with what Gertrude has told us."

Gertrude, who was hired by World Pulse partner Global Press Institute after completing World Pulse's Voices of Our Future citizen journalism training program, is now a senior reporter for GPI, and says she has long been committed to telling the difficult stories from her home country.

"Between 2003 and 2005, more than five privately owned newspapers were shut down and three community radios were banned as the government went berserk in attempts to strangle the independent voice," she said. "This scenario has frightened a number of women into abandoning the media industry. I am of the few women who remain committed to the perilous industry in the country."

In her role as co-founder and director of the Creative Centre for Communication and Development and a senior reporter for the Global Press Institute, Pswarayi says she is proud to leverage the position of women in Zimbabwe, using new information and communication technologies to raise women's voices on critical issues.

Gertrude has taken active leadership in the World Pulse community since she joined our online network in 2009. When an anti-gay bill came before Ugandan parliament in 2010, threatening to persecute and silence local activists, Gertrude spoke up on their behalf. She not only wrote passionately in support of LGBT rights throughout Africa, but galvanized women from all over the world to raise their voices against injustice.

Gertrude's visionary leadership sparked a global conversation and led to World Pulse's first action blogging campaign. Taking Gertrude's lead, we have continued to gather women's testimonies from around the world on urgent issues, making waves at influential forums like the United Nations and the US Department of State. Gertrude showed us that together we are stronger; and that when women join together to raise the volume on the issues that affect their lives, world leaders can no longer ignore their voices.

Connect with Gertrude on PulseWire.

Read her award-winning story at Global Press Institute.

Learn more about the Kurt Schork Memorial Awards.

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Comments

im deeply touched by Getrude's resilience and enterprise. This is the way to go and living the dream of getting your voice and helping others tell their stories too.

Congrats!

Ify

Congratulations Gertrude. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for your courage to speak out against the unspeakable.

Sending you a big hug, Janice

Your determination to highlight stories of the nature that you do, especially in a political climate that does the best to silence and stifle voices of dissent, speaks columns about you. I do congratulate you Gertrude. Do not let anything stand in your way. Still, I must offer a word of caution: please be careful and watch your every step because I also worked as a journalist in my Country, Liberia and I know what could happen to women who do not "know their place" as the male-dominated thinking goes in some African societies. Unfortunately, some of these transgressions against women is not unique to Zimbabwe on the African continent. With our voices raised as one against injustices everywhere we shall overcome. Thank you so much!

BMBracewell

Congratulations to Gertrude. Her commitment and work to ensure gender justice has been rewarded. An inspiration to every one of us.

Thank you. Osai

Twitter: @livingtruely

I had missed the world pulse post but already shared directly the link from the Global Press Institute. We are proud of her as a member of world-pulse and extremely proud of her as our Zimbabwean sister and even more proud because the work we did at the Research and Advocacy Unit with Kuda Chitsike is directly mentioned in her winning article.Congratulations Gertrude!

I join everyone here to congratulate you. I too read - and shared- it directly on GPI site. Its a powerful story and it deserves the award, and more. If you ever meet those women again, please do tell them that their pain has been felt continents away! Congrats again!

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe

Getrude, Congartulations for those inspiring and rending insight into what actually happened in Zimbabwe,I was just watching news on Gadaffi,death and I said to myself that Africa Leaders have got alot to learn from this.And if they dont learn this time,death will teach them in a very wrong way. Women have always been culprits of circumsatnces when it comes to violence. Thank you once again for your boldness and courage.Pulse wire has really gone an extra mile. God Bless

Lucia Buyanza Nurse-Midwife Clinical Instructor

Hello Getrude, congratulations and may you keep on working hard, indeed it pays!

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

I believe this century is ours. We see changes from Washinton to Warsaw, CapeTown to Cairo. Women are stepping out of the harems to the public squares boldly. There is is a shift going on. Not only are we winning laurels because we are reporting the ills done to us, but numerous feats are recorded daily by women in various spheres.

Madame Ellen Johnson just won the Nobel Peace Prize and also got re-elected President in Liberia to continue her nothing short of a "miracle-job" of recontruction and reconciliation. But we are not going to rest on oars. We must work until each of our teeming friends all over the world obtains equal access to education, good health care, food, shelter and fair and respectable treatments in families and communities.

Gertrude,

It is so amazing to watch you grow, flourish and succeed. This is just one more confirmation you are on the right path. What an honor it is to be on your path with you once again.

Much love, sister. Jennifer

Jennifer Ruwart Chief Collaborator JR Collaborations

What a great achievement you have made Gertrude - you will no doubt be a wonderful inspiration to so many others. I wish you my heartfelt support for your future - the world needs you and all you have to offer - already you are proving to be a change-maker.

Kind wishes, Cate

Such touching and important stories only get heard, because of people like you who dare to use their voice to ensure positive social change. You are a courageous woman and the award is a well deserved recognition. More feathers to your cap!

Best Regards,

Olanike

Big hugs to you sister Gertrude, you inspire us to seek truth and justice, and empower our communities to do the same. We celebrate in your voice and send congratulations to you for this much deserved accolade.

Lots of love, Jade

Dearest Pulse Wire, Thank you for all the messages. I read all the messages with a warm smile. I am proud to be associated with this vibrant social network - one that galvanizes unheard voices to produce such audacious noise that forces the world to listen.

I am truly humbled by all your kind words,

Love

Gertrude