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ACFID is the peak body for Australian NGOs involved in international development and humanitarian action.


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2022-23 ACFID Code of Conduct Review

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Home 5 News 5 ACFID News 5 2022 ACFID Media Award: Dr Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson

2022 ACFID Media Award: Dr Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson

Nov 2, 2022 | ACFID News

Dr Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson has won this year’s Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Media Award for her 3-part audio series with The Guardian Australia, ‘An Impossible Choice’.

An Impossible Choice’ starkly illustrates an enormous injustice, and a great dilemma: that the people who have done the least to cause climate change are feeling its effects the most. In the Pacific, many people are facing the impossible choice of staying to battle increasingly tough conditions, or leaving their land — and therefore key elements of their culture and identity — behind.  

This series tells their stories, and links it with the wider political context, including interviews with Pacific political figures Enele Sopoaga and Ralph Regenvanu. 

Presenting the award, President of ACFID, Susan Pascoe AM, said: 

Lagipoiva’s reporting in this series interweaves strength, vulnerability, bravery and honesty in a way that gives voice and dignity to herself and her culture with immense respect and sensitivity. 

Her emotive language and personal stories paint a vivid picture of the effects of climate change being faced by Samoa and the Pacific right now. This series helped personalise the incredibly pressing issue of climate change to the Australian public in an accessible, informative way.” 

This year’s judges were: Daniel Flitton, editor of the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter website; and Lily Partland, Head of Media, Oxfam Australia. 

Lagipoiva was unanimously the clear winner, her work vividly bringing home the effects of climate change on Australia’s neighbours with meaning and emotion,” they said. 

Said Lagipoiva: 

This award is very important to me because it recognises the importance of translating the complexity and severity of the climate crisis into the Pacific Islander experience. For years I had attempted to tell that story of the frontline experience of climate through my work as a journalist, being recognised for this piece of work done as part of The Guardian Australia’s Pacific Project team is a great honour. 

“To be acknowledged by ACFID means that the work is transcending borders in a meaningful way. Bridging the gap between international policy and development with local issues through the voices of those affected by climate change, is of extraordinary value to me as a climate journalist.   

My greatest achievement so far is taking the true stories of the climate crisis in our Pacific islands to a greater global audience. I consider every piece I write that highlights the voices of those experiencing climate on the frontlines as a great privilege and an honor, for it is in the voices of communities, of those who stand to lose it all, that we can truly demonstrate the extent of this crisis 

“I dedicate this award to my children Toaimatagialetagaloalagi and Sinataeaoilelagi, who, along with their generation will face the implications of the climate crisis not of their doing. I also dedicate it to my late mother High Chief Va’asili’ifiti Moelagi, for whose wisdom and indigenous conservation knowledge, and foresight instilled a sense of responsibility in me, to tell the stories of our people.” 

Dr Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson is the co-founder of the Samoa Alliance of Media Practitioners for Development, a consortium of experts focused on building the capacity of Samoan journalists and creating partnerships in media development. She currently represents the Journalists Association of Samoa on the Gender Council of the International Federation of Journalists. Lagipoiva is a Chieftess from the village of Safua, Savai’i.

About the award:

The annual ACFID Media Award aims to promote and recognise journalists delivering informed and studied media items about international development and/or humanitarian issues. 

The Award is presented to a journalist or journalistic team that has produced a single piece or series that: 

  • Profiles with sensitivity and respect the issues and lives of people experiencing poverty and injustice; 

  • Shows an understanding of the complexity of humanitarian and/or development issues; and 

  • Is judged to have the potential to help expand the knowledge of the Australian public in relation to humanitarian and/or international development issues. 

Previous winners of this award include Natalie Whiting (2021), ABC, Matt Wade and Louise Kennerley (2019), Sydney Morning Herald, and Amanda Hodge (2018), The Australian.