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Media Grants for East African Media Outlets to Investigate Environmental Crimes

Call for Proposals
Published on
08 Sep 2023
a burning pyre of ivory tusks
9 October 2023, 11:59 PM, Africa/Addis_Ababa EAT info.ejn [at]

EJN will award grants to media outlets in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan looking to “follow the money” and investigate environmental crimes.

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



The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that the illegal wildlife trade is worth about $23 billion per year globally, making it the fourth largest illegal trade after trafficking in drugs, humans and weapons. Wildlife crime and trade—rampant in East Africa as both a source and transit point—not only threatens the survival of flora and fauna but also has a bearing on climate change, security, economic stability and human health.

The nature of these crimes involves a complex transcontinental chain, from source countries—many in Africa—to destination countries such as China, Vietnam and Thailand, linking poachers to transporters to exporters to processors to wholesalers to retailers to end users, according to the Financial Action Task Force Report on Illegal Wildlife Trade, 2020.

Indeed, Interpol says that the routes used to smuggle wildlife and wildlife body parts and/or derivatives across countries and continents are the same used to traffic other products, and as such, are led by transnational organized criminal networks also involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

States have been called to use innovative measures and tools to nab environmental crime masterminds. For instance, in September 2019, the UN General Assembly called its members “to amend national legislation, as necessary and appropriate, so that offences connected to Illegal Wildlife Trade are treated as predicate offences for money laundering”.

It is for this reason that EJN, as part of its Following the Money to Combat Environmental Crime initiative, led by the East Africa Wildlife Journalism project, is seeking to award up to $15,000 each to interested media houses in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan) to expose, using financial tools, money laundering, fraud, bribery, corruption and illicit payments related to nature crimes from trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horn, hazardous waste disposal, illegal logging and overfishing of protected species, among others.

Project deliverables

The selected East African media houses will be expected to conceptualize, propose and lead the project in collaboration with a media outlet in Asia. The former will explore the supply side of the environmental crimes, while the latter will dig into the demand side, or the market for the illegal products.

Both media houses will be expected to produce six, well-researched transboundary investigative stories by April 2024. They will select their best investigative journalists for this work, who will in turn benefit from EJN’s close mentorship and guidance.

Grant amount and logistics

The grant amount of up to $15,000 will depend on the scope of the proposed activities. Generally speaking, applications with smaller budgets will be more competitive, but we will consider larger grant amounts for projects using innovative approaches that may be more resource-intensive and time-consuming. 

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 small portion of the grant to purchase equipment but should clearly state how the equipment will contribute to the expected outcomes.

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. 

We expect to notify successful applicants in October 2023. Projects should be completed by the end of April 2024. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their workplan. 

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.

Judging criteria

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 the proposed activities. The jury will then reconvene again after the interviews to make a final selection of the grantees.

The jury will evaluate all eligible applications and makes funding decisions based on the availability of funds, the program objectives, and the following assessment criteria:

  • overall quality and investigative potential of the proposed project
  • financial viability and cost-effectiveness of the proposed project
  • the ability of the applicant to carry it out
  • geographical spread of the grantees

Preferred applicants will:

  • demonstrate a concrete connection with an outlet in Asia and a clear plan for collaboration
  • make use of innovative tools to support their investigations
  • outline a detailed strategy to disseminate their work to a wide audience

Frequently asked questions

Q: Can the grant be used to purchase equipment?

A: Applicants can use a portion of the grants to purchase equipment but should clearly state how the equipment will contribute to the expected outcomes and outputs. The cost of equipment should also make up a relatively small proportion of the overall budget.

Q: Will geographical representation will be considered during the selection of grantees?

A: Yes. We hope to award grants to applicants from target countries across the East African region.

Q: Are grantees expected to include monitoring and evaluation in their proposed activity?

A: Grantees will be asked to outline their monitoring and evaluation plan in their application, and should budget accordingly for monitoring and evaluation activities. The final monitoring and evaluation plan will be agreed upon by EJN and each grantee. They are also expected to give their full cooperation to EJN for the monitoring and evaluation of the results of the project.

Q: Can applicants offer or raise co-financing for the proposed activity?

A: Yes, please indicate the amount and source of co-financing, if any, in the budget. Co-financing is not required but would be a plus.

Q: Can existing or former EJN grantees apply?

A: Existing or former grantees are eligible to apply. However, we will prioritize new grantees, and will take the performance of existing or previous grantees into consideration during the selection. Please note, this opportunity is for media houses, not media organizations.

Q: When will applicants know whether they’ve been selected?

A: We expect to update applicants on the status of their proposals within a month after the closing of the call.

Q: What period can proposed projects cover?

A: The projects are expected to run from November 2023 to April 2024.

How to apply

  1. Fill in the online application form by clicking the “Apply Now” button located on the top right of the page.
  2. If you have an existing account, you’ll need to log in. If not, you will need to create an account by clicking “Join the Network” on the top right of the page.
  3. If you start the application and want to come back and complete it later you can click “Save Draft.” To return to your draft, you’ll need to go back to the opportunity and click “Apply Now” again to finalize the application.
  4. All applicants are required to submit a budget with the application form. Please refer to this template to build your project budget.

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted. Please consider submitting at least one day in advance of the deadline to avoid any issues.  If you encounter difficulties with submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected]

Banner image: In 2016, Kenya hosted the world’s largest ivory burning event at the Nairobi National Park. This was intended to send a message to poachers, sellers and ivory consumers that Kenya will not stand for the illegal ivory trade / Credit: Kamweti Mutu via Flickr.

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