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Reporting on Climate Change in Kenya

Call for Proposals

Published on
15 Feb 2022
8 March 2022, 11:59 PM, EAT info.ejn [at] internews.org

EJN is offering reporting grants to journalists in Kenya to support the production of in-depth stories on the impacts of climate change.   

Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process.

Overview

Without urgent action to change the trajectory of warming, the climate crisis will have irreversible impacts that will be felt hardest in vulnerable regions around the world, including East Africa.

Kenya, like its counterparts across sub-Saharan Africa, is grappling with challenges exacerbated by climate change; from intense drought to rising sea levels to heat waves to increased human-wildlife conflict.

Governments, the private sector and communities need to mobilize to find – and adopt – lasting solutions to “one of the major challenges of our time.”

To do this successfully, relevant and evidence-based information on the climate crisis – and on ongoing efforts to combat its effects – is crucial.

In East Africa, news about the impacts of climate change is scarce, and media houses do not often have the capacity to invest financial, human, and even technological resources to generate the high-quality content that would fill the information vacuum.

To help journalists in the region to unearth these issues, highlight solutions and point out the key obstacles to climate action, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network is offering grants to ~10 journalists in Kenya to report on matters related to climate change.

Selected journalists will receive an average of US$800 in funding to cover travel and field reporting costs. Stories that use particularly innovative or investigative approaches that are more expensive to produce may be eligible for additional funding.

The story grants are provided as part of EJN's East Africa Wildlife project funded by the US Department of Interior and the US Agency for International Development.

Story themes

We welcome story ideas that focus on the short- and long-term consequences of environmental destruction and other drivers of climate change.

We’re looking for incisive, in-depth, solutions-focused stories on climate change that put human experiences at the center of the storytelling. While the stories should be backed by scientific evidence and incorporate data in a simple and compelling way, they should focus on proven adaptations and responses to these challenges.

Ideas should consider questions such as:

  • How is climate change accelerating phenomena like droughts, scarcity of water, and human-to-wildlife conflicts, etc?
  • What is the connection between climate change to health (zoonotic diseases) and other aspects of human/planet and animal life?
  • In what ingenious ways are communities working to conserve their immediate environments and ecosystems to mitigate the effects of climate changes?
  • How do law enforcement agencies deal with human activities that cause climate change?
  • What role do policies play in promoting climate action? What are some examples of successful regulation that could serve as models for similar places?
     

We encourage reporters to view this not just as a climate change story and to think outside their beat, considering ways their reporting could address broader angles.

For example, journalists may explore the economics and financing driving the degradation of the environment, or produce detailed “live action” profiles of the people who are bearing the cost of the effects of climate change.

We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about the climate crisis in Kenya and drive conversation among communities and policymakers at the local, national, and regional level. Proposals that focus on topics or stories that have not been widely covered are preferred. Issues that have already received a lot of media coverage or don't provide unique angles to environmental or climate challenges are less likely to be selected.

Eligibility

Journalists from Kenya are welcome to apply. Please note: Preference will be given to applications from journalists who attended EJN's climate change workshop in Nairobi on January 29 2022. 

Groups of journalists are eligible. However, the application must be made in the name of one lead applicant. Lead applicants are responsible for communicating with EJN and receiving funds on the group’s behalf, if awarded.

For the purposes of this grant opportunity, we will only be accepting applications in English. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff.

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with professional reporting experience. We welcome applications from early-career journalists and experienced reporters with a track record of covering environmental and climate issues. We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.

EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.

Story logistics

We expect to award up to 10 grants with an average budget of US$800 each.

We plan to issue grants in early-April with the expectation that all stories will be published by mid-June at the latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their workplan.

Safety: We encourage reporters to follow best practices for Covid-19 when out in the field so you do not endanger yourself or the people you’re interviewing. If needed, you should include any Covid-related costs, such as tests or personal protective equipment, in your budget.

Language of publication: Stories can be produced in English, Kiswahili or local languages. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in Kiswahili or local languages need to also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.

Story budget: All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided. We ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting, such as travel and accommodation. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story.

Generally speaking, applications with smaller budgets will be more competitive, but we will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative multimedia, collaborative or investigative approaches that may be more resource-intensive and time-consuming.

We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new equipment.

We will consider a stipend for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer. Please estimate the time you’ll need to complete this story and propose compensation you believe reflects a fair market rate. We ask, however, that this comprises no more than 30% of the total budget. 

Acknowledgement of EJN support:  Published stories and/or broadcasts must disclose EJN support by including this tagline: “This story was produced with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.

Republication rights: Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories first in their affiliated media as long as Internews’ EJN and its partners are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.

Judging criteria

Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals.

  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives of the call? Why does this story matter and to whom? Is the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined?
  • Angle: If the story has been covered, does your proposal bring new insights to the topic or offer a fresh angle?
  • Impact: Does the proposal have a compelling narrative or investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and spur action?
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia and data visualization will be considered a plus.
  • Feasibility: Can the story be realistically completed within the target time frame? Is the budget realistic?
  • Plan for timely publication: Reporters, whether freelance or employed at a media outlet, will need to include a letter of support from an editor in their application, committing to publish the stories by June 15, 2022.
     

Application process

  • Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of the page.
  • If you have an existing account, you'll need to log in. Since we recently updated our website, you might have to reset your password by clicking the "Forgot password?" link in the log in page. If you don't have an account, you must register by clicking "Log in" on the top right of the page and click the "Sign up" link at the bottom of the page that opens. Click here for detailed instructions on how to create an account, and here for detailed instructions on how to reset your password.
  • If you start the application and want to come back and complete it later, you can click 'Save Draft.' To return to the draft, you'll need to go back to the opportunity and click 'Apply now' again to finalize the application.
  • Applications should provide a detailed budget in an Excel spreadsheet with justification for the amount requested. Download the budget template now by clicking on this link. 
  • All applicants are required to provide a signed letter of support from their editor, explicitly stating that the media outlet will publish the stories produced as a result of this grant.
  • Applicants will also need to submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work.

Note: You'll be asked to upload these supporting documents once you start the application process, so please have them handy.

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: Humans and livestock scramble for water at a traditional well in Marsabit county during a drought in Kenya / Credit: George Wamwere-Njoroge, ILRI via Flickr.

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