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Reporting on Air Pollution in Nairobi, Kenya

Call for Proposals
Published on
05 Jun 2023
a group of commuters on motorcycles
30 June 2023, 08:59 PM, Africa/Addis_Ababa EAT info.ejn [at]

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) invites journalists from Nairobi, Kenya, to apply for a story grant to report on air pollution in the city.

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



Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to human health, economy, and the overall ecological balance. In Nairobi, studies have shown that the air quality is consistently poor, with average annual PM2.5 levels more than four times the World Health Organization's (WHO) guideline levels. Furthermore, the ever-increasing population and the intensification of industries, deforestation, construction and vehicular traffic have caused the air quality to worsen in recent years. 

Nairobi, Kenya, is one of three pilot cities (the other two are Indore, India and Jakarta, Indonesia) of Clean Air Catalyst, a flagship program launched in 2020 by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The global partnership focuses on building capacity for locally tailored solutions that curb air pollution, tackle climate change and improve human health. 

Although air pollution and its associated health risks have caught the attention of policymakers and researchers, there is a lack of common understanding of the sources, impacts of and solutions to air pollution among stakeholders.

The media plays an important role in informing the public, influencing behavior and driving solutions related to air pollution. Media stories can stimulate community dialogues and contribute toward an enabling environment for address air pollution.

As a member of the global partnership of organizations that implement Clean Air Catalyst, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network conducted a media workshop for journalists on air pollution from May 8 to 10, 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. Following on from the workshop, EJN is offering story grants and mentorship to support journalists to report on air pollution on Nairobi.

Story themes  

We welcome story ideas that focus on air pollution in Nairobi and surrounding areas.  

Journalists are encouraged to examine the key sources of air pollution in Nairobi and its impacts on the local environment, economy and health, among other topics. We are particularly interested in story ideas that look into the impact of air pollution on different gender groups and vulnerable communities, as well as stories that amplify the voices and perspectives of these groups.

Selected journalists will receive mentorship support from senior and experienced journalists from EJN.


Only journalists from Nairobi who participated in the Clean Air Catalyst media training workshop held in Nairobi in May 2023 are eligible to apply.  

Journalists can apply as a group, but 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 be accepting applications in English. However, selected grantees can produce stories in English or Kiswahili.   

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio). We will accept applications from both freelance and staff journalists 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 around 7 grants with an average amount of 1,000 USD each. Generally speaking, applications with smaller budgets will be more competitive, but we will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative, collaborative or investigative approaches that may be more resource-intensive and time-consuming. 

We plan to issue grants in July with the expectation that all stories will be published by the end of September at the latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their workplan. 

Safety: We encourage reporters to follow best practices for Covid-19 while reporting. 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 or Kiswahili. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in English need to provide an English translation of the story in summary or its entirety. 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 below. We ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting, such as travel and accommodation.    

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. 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, the Clean Air Catalyst project and the grant funder, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 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.  
  • 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 the end of November.   

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 will 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. Please consider submitting it at least one day in advance of the deadline to avoid any issues. 

Banner image: According to experts, the transportation sector is the biggest source of pollution in Nairobi / Credit: Stella Paul.

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