2.12 The Case of S-26 Milk (2009)
- Success Stories
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A series of articles written by journalist Pendo Ndovie on the milk product, S-26, were published locally (This Day, 23 June 2009) and internationally, leading to the removal of the counterfeit product from the Tanzanian market.
After feeding it to her own baby, Pendo Ndovie suspected that S-26 had been tampered with and was not 100% milk. With many other counterfeit and fake products on the market, she was compelled to do her own research and applied for a TMF individual grant to enable this to happen. 'Without the additional funds and support, it would not have been possible to dig deeper into this issue – interviewing pharmacists, shop keepers, mothers, the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA). “It all takes time and a lot of running around”, she says. “Every story I wrote was published and generated a reaction and response”.
Her mentor was Ms Neema Kambona. “She advised me on whom to contact and how to research the issue further, and provided support and encouragement to run with the story” says Pendo. Following the plethora of newspaper stories, the TFDA took up the issue and following their own investigation, found the product counterfeit and ordered the withdrawal of S-26 from the shelves.
For Pendo, “the experience gave me strength as a journalist – that I can do more and have courage”. The advice she gives prospective grantees is '”research your story well, be clear what you want to investigate and above all, use your mentors fully. They are there to help and guide you.”