Two young women, Kai Hui Wong from Malaysia and Monika Mondal from India are the winners of Thomson Foundation ‘Young Journalist Award’ and ‘Environmental Prize’ respectively.
Kai Hui Wong’s “persistence in her investigations” led her to reveal abuses of power: in two of her stories she explored the damaging impact on the environment of mining projects and uncovered links to Malaysian royalty. The third looked at transgender healthcare rights in Malaysia and how the community is being “pushed towards the black market” by the country’s health system.
The second winner, Monika Mondal revealed the hidden water crisis behind India’s sugar dominance and how illegal waste practices lead to a fast-degrading environment and deteriorating water sources are undoing years of economic progress, threatening the health and wellbeing of thousands of people: her ambitious and revealing investigation, has now become a legal case in India’s environmental courts. Independent groundwater testing in Khatauli is currently underway by court officials.
Her story was chosen for a special, one-off environmental prize as part of this year’s Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. Out of some 300 stories covering climate change and biodiversity, spanning 55 countries and four continents, the story was selected by the judges for “delivering on everything you want from a groundbreaking, fresh and memorable piece of environmental journalism.”
In partnership with the UK Foreign Press Association, the award is Thomson Foundation’s annual journalism competition dedicated to finding and inspiring ambitious journalists from across the globe.
Now in its tenth year, the award enables journalists aged 30 and under, from countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than $20,000, to send in their best stories. Judges of the award look for stories that are revelatory, prompt public debate and have led to, or have the potential to lead to, positive change in society.
An environmental category was introduced to this year’s award in response to COP26 and the urgent fight to tackle global warming. All entrants were asked to submit a portfolio of three stories, including at least one story with an environmental reporting focus.