Globally, unsustainable consumption and production patterns are fueling the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. A "polycrisis" that the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned is humanity’s number one existential threat.
A series of devastating world events, including Russia’s war in Ukraine and the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine, along with rising inflation and energy prices, have all compounded existing and urgent environmental and biodiversity challenges. But during times of crisis, longer-term climate and environmental issues take lower priority in political agendas. Resources are redirected and media attention has shifted.
At this crucial point in time, as journalists seek to inform people about the impacts of environmental degradation and the climate crisis, research by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has observed that selective news avoidance, where people actively try to avoid news often, is widespread and that interest in news is falling, particularly among younger age groups.
This round of grants, awarded as part Internews’ Earth Journalism Network’s Asia-Pacific project, aims to boost the quantity and quality of environmental coverage in the region and engage at-risk communities by informing them about environmental issues and amplifying their voices in the media. This project has received generous financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
In this round of media grants, we are seeking innovative ideas from journalist networks, media organizations, civil society organizations and academic institutions in Asia and the Pacific that would strengthen audience engagement and outreach of environmental reporting. We are interested in receiving applications for work that addresses the rise in climate and environmental news fatigue, and innovative ideas that promote better public engagement with environment and climate media.
We welcome projects that cover any environmental challenge that is salient to the region. Examples of themes include intensive food production, climate change, air and marine pollution, heavy metal contamination, antimicrobial resistance, pesticide poisoning and pollution, biodiversity loss, wildlife trafficking, natural resources management, and large-scale infrastructure development.
Examples of activities that can be supported include, but are not limited to:
- A media and communications campaign that highlights stories of climate resilience or other relevant themes.
- A media reporting project that explains and investigates the interdependence of the health and well-being of humans, animals, and their environments.
- Transboundary media reporting and content sharing among media/information outlets based in different localities or countries.
- Cross-sectoral collaborations and knowledge exchange between journalists, information providers and other key actors, such as researchers and governmental bodies.
- Partnership and network building for environmental reporting, such as the formation of an environmental journalists’ network or an investigative environmental reporting partnership.
- Innovative tools to support media investigations.
- Training opportunities and media workshops for journalists, citizen journalists or social media content producers.
- Institutional capacity building activities that build skills and knowledge on topics, such as but not limited to, financial reporting, monitoring and evaluation, gender inclusion, and in-person or virtual activities that support environmental reporting.
Proposed activities should:
- Strengthen the capacity of journalists, media organizations, social media content producers to produce high-quality, evidence-based and engaging stories on the environmental impacts of human actions and viable solutions to mitigate and respond to these impacts.
- Increase high-quality content and media coverage on key environmental, public health and climate themes to focus public attention and trigger policy responses to these interconnected crises.
- Increase public attention to the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation on women, the poor, youth, indigenous peoples, and other vulnerable groups and increase their access to high-quality, publicly available environmental information.
- Contribute to positive changes in government policies, businesses environmental standards or consumer habits for a more sustainable way of life.
Grant amount and logistics
This grant fund has US$45,000 available for awards this year, which would ideally be shared among three to four projects. The grant amount can range between US$5,000 to US$15,000 depending on the scope of the proposed activities.
All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. We ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for project implementation. Applicants may use a portion of the grant to purchase equipment but should clearly state how the equipment will contribute to the expected outcomes and it should make up a relatively small portion of the overall budget.
Applicants are permitted and encouraged to raise co-financing for the proposed activities, but it is not required. If you have received any co-financing, please indicate the amount and the source in your application.
As part of EJN’s support to the grantees, the selected organizations will undertake a participatory Organizational Capacity Assessment. Based on the finding of the assessment, they may receive additional assistance to strengthen their organizational capacity, such as training in financial management, support for development of policy and practices to improve gender equality and social inclusion, tools to improve digital security, etc.
Selected organizations will be invited to participate in a Training of Trainers activity in person or virtually, where they will have the opportunity to gain relevant knowledge and skills, and network with each other and EJN staff.
For projects that involve the publication of stories or other material, please note that Internews, EJN, its partners and the grant funder will be given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute those materials freely.
Media organizations, journalist networks, universities and academic institutions focusing on environmental reporting in the Asia and Pacific region are welcome to apply. Civil society organizations, community-based groups and research institutes will also be considered – but only those with strong media and communication components that are dedicated to supporting fair and accurate environmental reporting. Please note that we will not consider applications rooted in advocacy or political campaigning.
For the purpose of this call, we are only accepting applications from low-and-middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region. We are unfortunately, unable to accept applications from Nepal, Pakistan, and Central Asian or Middle Eastern countries.
We will only be accepting applications in English. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time.
EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.
Grants will be awarded competitively through a judging process. The panel of judges will consist of Internews staff and experts in environmental reporting. Following a first-round review, potential grantees will be shortlisted. The jury may interview shortlisted applicants to seek further information on their proposed activities. The jury will then reconvene again after the interviews to make a final selection of the grantees.
The jury evaluates all eligible applications in a comparative context and makes funding decisions based on the availability of funds, the program objectives, and the following assessment criteria:
- overall quality of the proposal and effectiveness of the project design;
- relevance of the proposed project in contributing to the objectives and priorities of this grant program;
- potential of proposed project to bring about positive change;
- innovation of the proposed activities;
- financial viability and cost-effectiveness of the proposed project;
- the ability of the applicant to carry it out;
- geographical spread of the grantees.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in EJN’s new research study evaluating the state of climate and environmental journalism globally. The survey is available in 11 languages for journalists and editors covering climate and environment and will close on December 8. You can take the survey here and read more about the goals of the project here.
If you encounter difficulties with submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected]. Do not contact any other Internews email regarding this opportunity, as we will not receive it.
Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
Banner image: In Bhutan, communities are working to reduce the risk of floods from glacial lakes by integrating disaster risk reduction strategies with climate change adaptation / Credit: United Nations Development Programme via Flickr.