Meet the journalists reporting on energy access in sub-Saharan Africa

Announcing the four fellows selected for the 2017 Access to Energy Journalism Fellowship

In 2016, we launched Power Struggle, a collaborative journalism project that asks how energy poverty impacts communities around the world. In the first year of the project, Discourse Media worked with nine international reporting fellows to investigate potential solutions to energy access issues — from Cameroon to island nations such as Kiribati to northern Canada and beyond.

This year, we’re focusing the project’s fellowship on sub-Saharan Africa. It’s the most energy-poor region in the world, but it’s also a place where major innovation is happening. We were looking for reporters keen to produce stories deeply rooted in people’s lived experiences that move the conversation about energy access and climate change forward. After receiving over 40 pitches from 17 countries across the region, we’ve selected four reporters for our 2017 fellowship.

At the same time, we’re interested in exploring Canada’s connection to this issue. So as fellows dig into stories in their regions Discourse will be working with South African-Canadian investigative journalist, Richard Poplak, to investigate Canada’s connection to energy development in sub-Saharan Africa.

You can follow this reporting in the coming months on our Facebook, Twitter, or by signing up for our monthly newsletter. Investigations will also be published by the reporters through their local media outlets.

Sally Nyakanyanga, Fellow, Zimbabwe

Sally NyakanyangaSally Nyakanyanga is an independent journalist based in Zimbabwe focusing on gender equality, human rights and bilateral trade between China and Africa. She has written for IRIN news, Africa Renewal, News Deeply (Women & Girls), Inter Press Service (IPS), Science and Development Network (, ChinAfrica magazine, and the Mail & Guardian “Voice of Africa” online publication. She was a 2016 fellow for the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) Africa Great Lakes Region Reporting Initiative and also teaches journalism. 

Kossi Elom Balao, Fellow, Togo

Kossi Elom BalaoKossi Elom Balao is a West Africa-based bilingual journalist specializing in political and environmental issues. He began his career as a reporter at the University of Lomé’s student newspaper in Togo. He worked his way up in journalism, serving as an editor at five different newspapers. He is currently an editor of three news portals: Ghanaweb, Cameroonweb and Wayeno (a news portal based in Togo). In 2015, he was awarded first place in the Local Heroes Journalism Competition organized by Deutsche Welle.

Adelana Olajide, Fellow, Nigeria

Adedamola OlajideAdelana Olajide is a Nigerian journalist focusing on issues of corruption, ecological problems and the nexus between energy and development. He has worked for and contributed to The Nation Newspaper, Compass Newspaper, and He has also worked with the Institute of War and Peace Reporting and the International Centre for Investigative Journalism to investigate stories around corruption, health, climate change and ecological problems.

Gabrielle Nina Mitch, Fellow, Democratic Republic of Congo

Gabrielle Nina Mitch (2)Gabrielle Nina Mitch is a freelance journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She started her journalism career in 2006 as a full-time reporter, language translator and TV and radio news presenter at Mwangaza Radio and TV. She was previously a fellow for the International Journalism Program, spending two months in Germany, and was an intern at Deutsche Welle in Bonn. She reports on politics, justice, health, agriculture, energy and environment, economics, mining and human rights issues.

Richard Poplak, Senior Reporter, South Africa

Richard PoplakRichard Poplak is an award-winning South African-Canadian author, journalist and graphic novelist, and a senior correspondent at South Africa’s Daily Maverick news site. A Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, Poplak has worked in over 30 countries in the developing world for publications such as the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Walrus, and serves as a member of the groundbreaking international journalist collective Deca. He currently holds the prestigious Bookmark “Best Journalist in South Africa” award, as well as CNN’s “Best African Journalism” title.[end]


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