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NMG journalist lands Top 35 Under 35 award


Every morning when he wakes up, he has a technology story to tell the world, and every night before he retires to bed, Faustine Ngila has got the stories published.

The Nation Media Group journalist reveals that at any given time, he has at least 10 stories awaiting publication.

“I take as my duty to inform Africa about emerging technologies in a way that inspires innovation,” he said.

It is a job that he does with so much zeal and dedication that last Wednesday, he was nominated Youth of the Year in the Information Technology category, in the Top 35 under 35 awards organised by Youth Agenda in collaboration with the Ministry of ICT and Youth Affairs.

The tech journalist, who doubles as Taifa Leo’s online editor, says the awards, which will be presented to nominees by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the International Youth Day on August 12, are a great step to acknowledging the wide technology talent existent in ‘Silicon Savannah’.

The Youth Agenda requested youths to nominate fellow youths who have made a tangible contribution to Kenya’s digital economy through an online service – Google forms. They were asked to vote. Those who got the highest votes were then nominated by the Top35Under35 panel of 24 judges.

“The nominations were conducted from May to June 2020. Of the 3,000 nominees we got, a total of 135 made to the final shortlist all of whom will be officially recognized and awarded on 12th August 2020,” said the Youth Agenda Communications Manager, Muthengi Mbuvi.

He noted that all the winners will be carried through a one-year leadership training programme in their respective disciplines.

The initiative will be sponsored by Youth Agenda in partnership with other institutions and organizations.

Areas that won Mr Ngila the nomination were wide reportage on blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing, 5G, 3D printing, fintech, agritech, telemedicine and e-learning.

“Nobody was doing it when I started, I realised there was a gap in news reportage that no one was ready to bridge. I took the challenge and began enlightening the masses about the future of work, which will centre on emerging technologies,” he said.

Mr Ngila believes that this will help citizens and the government to gain agility in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution which is already happening.

“We are living in an era where traditional business models are fast being relegated to the trash bin, and the future demands the upskilling, reskilling and retooling on the part of employees and employers alike in a period of mass loss of jobs across the world,” he asserts.

Commoly known in the Nation newsroom as Mr Blockchain, Mr Ngila has been Kenya’s pioneer reporter on matters blockchain, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, big data, 5G, 3D printing, telemedicine, fintech and e-learning.

“After some time as an online sub-editor, I realised that Industry 4.0 was already happening in the world, and nobody in Africa was reporting about it, yet the application of all these emerging technologies could have the highest impact in Africa where gaps in access to education, healthcare, financial inclusion and digital identity still exist,” he told this writer.

But how does he juggle between writing for the Daily Nation, Business Daily, East African and Daily Monitor while still being in charge at the online desk at Taifa Leo?

“We are living in a fast-paced world where having a multiplicity of talents and skills of the future is gold. I thank God that I can write and sub in Swahili and tell in-depth stories in English. I have a tight schedule where I ensure concrete content is published on the Taifa Leo website and write features and opinions for the other papers,” says the 29-year-old who joined NMG in 2014 before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Media, Communication and Information Technology (IT) from Maseno University.