FJA 2020 Shortlist
Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting
Fredrick Mugira, Annika Mcginnis, Geoffrey Kamadi, Nada Arafat, Saker El Nour, Ayele Addis Ambelu, Paul Jimbo, David Monodanga, Tricia Govindasamy, Chrispine Odhiambo, Sakina Salem, Emma Kisa, Jacopo Ottaviani (Uganda)
Huge Swaths of Land Acquired by Foreign Investors in Africa's Nile River Basin Export Profits, Displace Communities
InfoNile, New Vision newspaper, Science Africa, Andariya, Mada Masr, Amhara Mass Media Association, Juba Monitor, Earth Journalism Network, Water Journalists Africa
The original publication is available via the following link: https://pulitzercenter.shorthandstories.com/sucked-dry-newvision/index.html
This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting
Principal investigators and editors: Fredrick Mugira and Annika McGinnis
Alice Nyamihanda was only a toddler beginning to walk and talk when she was forced away from her home. At just three years old, the child was evicted from the land where she, her family and her people had lived for centuries.
To the Ugandan public and the international community, this was an act of environmental conservation of some of East Africa’s most biodiverse natural forests that host half the population of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.
But to the Batwa pygmies, a forest-dwelling group of hunter-gatherers who are accepted as the first inhabitants of these montane forests, the act turned the peaceful tribe into so-called environmental refugees.
Alice’s family of five and hundreds of other Batwa pygmies, a forest-dwelling group of hunter-gatherers, were evicted from their ancestral forestland in Mgahinga, Bwindi and Echuya in southwestern Uganda by the government of Uganda with no compensation when it turned the forests into conservation areas in 1991.
Since then, life has not been easy for her. Her father died in 1996. Her mother, a single parent, struggled to raise her and four other siblings. In order to survive, Alice’s mother had to offer hard labor for a number of years in exchange for a small piece of land where the family is staying now in Gatera village, Busanja Sub County in Kisoro, just on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Unlike many others in her situation, Alice has been lucky: At 31, Alice is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social works and administration after completing a diploma in 2010. “If God wishes, I will graduate next year,” Alice says, hoping to use the skills gained to advocate for land rights of her landless tribemates.