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Zoonotic Diseases and One Health in the Asia-Pacific Region

Call for Proposals
Published on
10 Aug 2021
A gloved hand holding a test tube with a positive Covid-19 swab.
5 September 2021, 02:59 AM, Pacific/Niue (UTC -11) (Extended Deadline) info.ejn [at]
EJN is offering story grants to journalists to support the production of in-depth stories that will call attention to zoonotic diseases and One Health in Asia and the Pacific region.

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


Zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, present new challenges to human health and the environment. Many of the world’s modern diseases began as zoonoses. One estimate suggests that 75% of emerging pathogens are zoonotic in origin.

As human-wildlife contact increases—whether through habitat encroachment or poaching—new zoonotic pathogens are bound to emerge. Over the last several decades, the risk of spillover of these pathogens into the human population has rapidly increased, driven by land-use change, such as deforestation; the wildlife trade and wild meat consumption; climate change; and the intensification of industrial animal agriculture.

Over the past decade, the public health community has begun to tackle the problem of zoonoses through a lens that combines human and environmental health known as “One Health.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define this as a collaborative and transdisciplinary approach with an objective to recognize “the interconnection between people, animals, plants and their shared environment.” As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, combatting virulent diseases requires a focus on wildlife habitats as much as it does an equitable vaccine rollout.

To raise public awareness of the root causes of zoonotic diseases and ways to prevent the next zoonotic disease outbreak, we would like to focus this current call for story pitches on zoonoses and, specifically, the One Health approach that scientists, public health professionals and others are taking toward identifying and preventing zoonotic disease.

Story themes 

We welcome stories from Asia and the Pacific region that engage audiences to better understand:

  • the threat of potential spillovers and its causes;
  • solutions that address the root causes of these threats;
  • local and international efforts to improve ecological and human health, within the One Health framework.

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 the challenges of zoonotic disease and One Health approaches are less likely to be selected. 


Stories can be produced in any language, but we ask that that the application be submitted in English. Applicants who will produce non-English stories should provide an English translation; the cost for translation could be included in the proposed budget. We accept applications from journalists residing in Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific Islands, but not Australia and New Zealand.

All applicants are strongly encouraged, but not mandated, to complete EJN’s zoonotic disease online course and the accompanying tutorial on developing data stories before submitting their proposal to EJN.

This self-paced e-learning course aims to strengthen journalists’ understanding of the science and relevant data on zoonotic diseases, and their skills in reporting on the subject. It is taught in English and will take approximately six hours to complete. Applicants who have completed the course should attach a screenshot of the certificate of completion to their application.

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with reporting experience and a history of covering environmental issues. We will also accept applications from health journalists interested in focusing on the public health impacts of zoonotic diseases and the One Health approach. We encourage applications from both staff and freelance reporters from all types of media organizations—international, national, local and community-based. We ask that your reporting proposal be targeted to the audience your publication will reach.

We are seeking to support both early-career and senior journalists with many years of reporting experience. We'll accept both individual and group applications, but for the latter we ask that the application is made in the name of one lead applicant who will receive the grant on the group's behalf, if awarded. 

Story approach & format 

We expect to award 20 grants with an average grant amount of $1,500, depending on the proposal and needs outlined in the budget submission. We will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative or investigative approaches that may be more costly and time-consuming. 

We plan to issue grants in early September, with the expectation that all stories will be published no later than November 2021. Applicants should consider this timeline when developing their work plan; no extensions will be granted.

All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. We have not set a specific amount for each grant because we are asking you to consider what you'll need to do this type of reporting. We do ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting, such as travel and accommodation. We expect that stories will be produced with equipment applicants already have access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies or devote a large amount to applicants’ salaries.

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.  

Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories first in their affiliated media provided that the story runs with acknowledgement of Internews’ EJN support. Internews EJN and the grant funder, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), have the right to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute stories freely.

Freelance reporters should outline their plan for publication or broadcast, and all applicants are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from their editor, committing to publish the story before December 2021.

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 urge action? 
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia and data visualization will be considered a plus. 

Application process 

  1. Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of the page. 
  2. If you have an existing account, you'll need to log in. If not, you must register for 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 the draft, you'll need to go back to the opportunity and click 'Apply now' again to finalize the application. 
  4. Applications should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. Download the budget template here. We expect that proposals will largely rely on the use of equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies. We will consider some costs for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer, but this should be a small portion of the total budget. Please include the cost for translation, if necessary. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story. 
  5. You must submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work. You'll be asked to upload these as part of the application process.

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.  

Banner image: Empty test tube with positive Coronavirus label / Credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) on Unsplash.

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