There are many people doing great voluntary work to improve the lives of the disadvantaged within their communities but more often than not, their work is not recognised.

To bring such good work to light, NewsDay has launched the NewsDay People’s Choice Awards, a project that seeks to recognise outstanding community builders in Zimbabwe.

This community project is the first of its kind to be launched by a newspaper in this country. The project seeks to elicit the voice of readers in nominating people from their own communities who are involved in projects that benefit the marginalised.

“The NewsDay People’s Choice Awards is our flagship community project,” said Alpha Media Holdings Chairman, Trevor Ncube. “It’s an important part of the various ways in which we put into practice our guiding principles. Our readers must know and understand that when we talk about nation-building we really mean it; when we talk about celebrating the best in our communities, it is not just talk.”

Nominations for the awards programme opened this week and the nomination period will be open for six weeks, until September 17. The nomination process asks readers to choose someone they know who is carrying out activities that help others without getting paid for it.

“It is important to us that readers lead this process,” said Editor-in-Chief, Vincent Kahiya, who is heading the editorial team that will monitor the project. “NewsDay readers are a passionate and vocal. We want them to express themselves about both the positives and the negatives in our country. The project will inspire a lot of young people with its feel-good factor, and will highlight the many causes for celebration that are often drowned out in the day-to-day struggles of making a living.”

He added: “We called it the People’s Choice Awards because we want Zimbabweans to choose their own heroes, to have a voice concerning whom they choose to honour and appreciate.”

NewsDay was launched in June 2010, with a daily print run of 13 000 copies. A year later, the title is Zimbabwe’s largest daily paper with a print run of 52 000 copies every day. It also has the largest single copy sales.

This extraordinary growth demonstrates the popularity of the title, which is possible in part because of the paper’s community focus, which is blended skilfully with local and international news to present a robust product that delivers “everyday news, for everyday people”.

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