The alumni of the Eisenhower Fellowship in Ghana have commended the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Braimah, for being awarded the prestigious 2023 James and Carol Hovey Eisenhower Fellowships Impact Award.
The fellows said the award is a testament to Sulemana’s exceptional leadership, dedication, and commitment to impact society significantly.
“Sulemana Braimah’s passion, determination, and unwavering commitment to social impact are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the values upheld by Eisenhower Fellowships internationally. We congratulate him wholeheartedly on receiving the EF Impact Award 2023, a well-deserved recognition of his exceptional leadership,” Dr Teddy Totimeh, Chairman, Eisenhower Fellows, Ghana said in a statement.
The Impact Award was announced at the Eisenhower Fellows (EF) Annual Awards Dinner in Philadelphia on May 17 and will be presented to Sulemana in October during EF’s 70th Anniversary World Forum in San Francisco USA. As part of the recognition, Sulemana will receive a $10,000 USD prize to support his project – The Fourth Estate Investigative Journalism project – which exemplifies EF’s mission to create a world more peaceful, prosperous, and just.
In 2019, Sulemana was named among 21 other visionary leaders from around the world as an Eisenhower Global Fellow. As his Fellowship project, he decided to establish an independent, non-profit, public-interest journalism project at the MFWA. The establishment of such a newsroom, he argued, was one of the critical steps towards countering the dearth of credible, critical, independent public-interest journalism in Ghana and across West Africa.
From March 27 to May 9, 2019, Sulemana travelled to several cities across nine states in the US as an Eisenhower Global Fellow, to meet with top media experts, media academics, and journalists in some of the topmost US media Think Tanks, universities, and newsrooms to discuss the project and to seek inputs.
Notably, he travelled and met with editors and journalists from the Philadelphia Enquirer, in Philadelphia; the Chicago Tribune, in Chicago; Seattle Times, in Seattle; ProPublica in New York; Bloomberg News in New York; and Tampa Bay Times in Tampa, Florida.
He visited and interacted with senior officials at the Nieman Centre at Harvard University; the Lanfest Institute in Philadelphia; the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida; and the Knight Science Journalism Centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His itinerary also included visiting and interacting with journalism Professors at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Sandford University, and the University of Boston.
By the end of his Fellowship journey, he had firmed up the Fellowship project idea and was convinced that the project was feasible and sustainable. Back in Ghana, he started engagements with colleagues and other experts and vigorously mobilised resources for the project. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed plans to commence the project in 2020.
In 2021, he recruited a team of seven full-time journalists and appointed investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, as the project’s first Editor-in-Chief. Two years on, The Fourth Estate has established itself as a leading platform for credible, public-interest investigative journalism in Ghana and has earned the praise of many for its impact-oriented publications. Stories by The Fourth Estate have compelled judges, Members of Parliament (MPs), and other senior government appointees to comply with the legal and constitutional requirement to declare their assets. Other stories have led to ongoing prosecutions of a number of persons on corruption-related charges, while other reports have resulted in changes in policies and practices by both private and public institutions.
About Eisenhower Fellowships
Eisenhower Fellowships brings together diverse, innovative leaders from all fields from around the globe who tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time to better the world around them. Since its founding in 1953, more than 2,500 leaders from 119 countries have benefited from the unique, customized experience of an Eisenhower Fellowship. Ghana currently has 12 Eisenhower Fellows leading in various disciplines including Leadership Development, Climate Innovation, Agricultural Entrepreneurship, and Medicine. October 2023 marks the 70th Anniversary of EF’s founding with a World Forum that will bring together hundreds of Eisenhower Fellows and other thought leaders from across the globe in San Francisco, USA.