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And the 2019 Ton Schouten Award goes to...

Published on: 02/06/2019

Mayuri Bhattacharjee, a passionate WASH storyteller from India. 

Mayuri with the Ton Schouten Award 2019

Since 2017, IRC has been organising the Ton Schouten Award for WASH Storytelling, in memory of Ton and with the aim to find and support exceptional young communicators in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. The 2nd of June, Ton's birthday is the day when we announce and tell the story of the new awardee. 

The story of Mayuri...

is one of a WASH professional based in Assam, India. Her work in WASH has always been about bringing the stories of the most vulnerable people who often are left behind from WASH programmes to light. Her voice is brave and strong, she writes with a critical pen and also refers to her own context in telling stories of access to safe and sustainable sanitation services for persons with disabilities, menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and more. 

Mayuri interview Assam floods

Through her current campaign Dignity in Floods, she aims to use the power of the written word and mobile phone videos to bring more attention to WASH in Emergencies. Also in this campaign she is placing special attention to MHM during annual floods in Assam. Her aim is to use her award prize to produce more high quality stories about flood affected villages for in-country and global audiences and build a strong advocacy campaign for MHM in Emergencies in India. 

In the words of our jury...

"Mayuri is versatile in use of writing and video, and linking those to campaigning and action." - Sean Furey, Water & Sanitation Specialist at Skat Consulting Ltd

"She appears to be a driven activist in WASH, her stories are well written and they identify various vulnerabilities (disability, gender and disaster prone communities)." - Vida Duti, Country Director of IRC Ghana

"Mayuri presented a great diversity of communication products, from Huffington post articles to movies. Amazing person." - Iekje Smit is a filmmaker and former Director of the Master International Communication at Hanze University of Applied Sciences

"She has a strong female voice. And is very much a storyteller in Ton's mold." - Patrick Moriarty, IRC CEO

Her reaction to being the 2019 Ton Schouten Awardee was

in text... 

"I am passionate about the concept of justice when it comes to people`s right to WASH services. I would like to use this recognition to develop my skills to cover stories which can provoke systems change to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene for all. I am currently working on a campaign 'Dignity in Floods' where I am using online platforms to raise awareness and bring systemic changes to recognise the importance of MHM in Emergencies in India. I feel humbled for being nominated and I thank the jury for this opportunity. My name is on this award but it really belongs to the communities I work with as a WASH professional."

on video...

We are happy to have a strong female voice as this year`s awardee and are very much looking forward to working with Mayuri throughout the year.

We were also happy to see many other talented storytellers among the applicants. See how one of our jury members, Sean Furey felt about this in his tweet below. 

We look forward to introducing some of them and their work to you in the near future.

For now, we warmly congratulate Mayuri with her award and will keep you posted on our collaboration!