Story Grants Awarded to 10 Journalists in Bay of Bengal Region

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EJN, Bangladesh, Eastern India

Women's group discussion in Bangladesh / Credit: Zobaidur Rahman Soeb

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network awarded story grants to 10 journalists in Bangladesh and eastern India last month as part of its Bay of Bengal Climate Resiliency Initiative, following up on the organizational media grants provided earlier in the year.

The nine journalists from India write for well-known local and international media, and they’ll cover a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from what a severe water shortage in eastern India means for women responsible for this vital resource to how the tourism industry and related businesses are coping with increasing water salinity and threats of natural disasters along the coast. They’ll look at the impact on fishing communities facing depleted seas and will explore solutions, such as how farmers on low-lying islands are partnering with scientists to develop adaptive farming techniques.

In Bangladesh, Abu Bakar Siddique, an environmental journalist based in Dhaka, will visit indigenous villages and document their vulnerability to changing crop and livelihood patterns.

The Bay of Bengal project focuses on boosting climate justice and resiliency by giving journalists the tools and support to produce stories that address the environmental challenges facing vulnerable coastal communities in the region. It includes both story grants and grants to help organizations expand their capacity-building activities, improve their coverage of climate change impacts, or strengthen local networks.

NGO interview in Nellore, India / Credit: Sundara Rao

Under the project, the three media grants awarded this year included one to VOICE, a rights-based research and advocacy organization working in coastal Bangladesh on issues such as food sovereignty and the right to information. In August and September, VOICE started a community storytelling initiative under the project and worked on developing an online collaborative learning platform for communities to improve their ability to share stories about coastal resilience. They’ll host a training camp on how to use that platform later in October.

They’re also developing content for a resource book on local ocean and climate literacy. The content will be based on input from a network of academics, professional institutions and civil society organizations focused on the topic.

The other two organizational grants have been given to the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), based in Chennai, and to Young India, an organization based in Odisha, both along the Bay of Bengal coast in India. Both have started consultations with local journalists and community-based organizations on the best ways to improve the two-way flow of information and understanding on climate change impacts. They plan to hold workshops and provide grants that will enable journalists to work on reports that deal with climate justice and resilience.

At the start of November, EJN will also host a workshop in Tamil Nadu for journalists in the Bay of Bengal region. We’ve selected 10 journalists to attend that workshop, which will provide an opportunity for them to interact with experts and participate in a field trip that will improve their understanding of the issues and enhance their ability to report on them.