€940,000 of grants awarded to media organisations to report on global development challenges

Get to know the 8 organisations that are the recipients of the latest round of European Development Journalism grants

Bianca Lemmens
Jul 9, 2020 · 7 min read
Photo: Yvonne Brandwijk, Future Cities

Supporting sustainable and impactful journalistic coverage is essential to increase public awareness for, and interest in, the many challenges and solutions contained within global development and the Sustainable Development Goals. The European Development Journalism Grants programme supports journalistic media organisations with its year-long reporting projects about global development topics.

We are therefore excited to be able to announce the 8 awarded projects in this new round of the funding programme.

De Volkskrant (The Netherlands) will investigate the consequences of world trade and globalisation in the least developed countries by producing relatable stories, starting and ending with a specific product such as the battery in a smartphone or a t-shirt, and easy-to-understand standalone data visualisations.

“In 2018 de Volkskrant investigated the challenges of food security in Africa with our (EJC funded) project De Voedselzaak. Our harsh conclusion was that the continent would be able to feed itself if the West and multinational corporations would give it a fair chance. We’re thrilled that this grant enables us to pick up where we left off and delve deeper into the complex and abstract systems that cause hunger and inequality. With on the ground reporting and consumer-centered journalism we want to show our readers what the consequences of their actions are.” — Stan Putman, editor

Disclose (France) will investigate French development aid in African countries, and the lack of transparency in the use of public funds, through on the ground reporting and a series of investigative stories.

“At a time when information for citizens is essential to assert their rights and hold power to account, this fund will allow us to investigate in depth the use of public funds but also to reveal the private interests that sometimes hide behind development aid. A strong democratic society requires independent journalism able to conduct public interest investigations. For this support, thanks to the EJC.” — Geoffrey Livolsi, editor-in-chief

Euronews (Europe) will report on the issue of toxic masculinity in some African countries because the expectations surrounding manhood can be an obstacle to achieving a more egalitarian society. In addition to a podcast and opinion pieces from the continent, the reporting will be done entirely in collaboration with local journalists in an effort to listen to as many African voices as possible.

“We’re a diverse team, working in 12 languages and representing many more cultures. Gender equality is non-negotiable to us in our work so we are grateful to the EJC for the opportunity to investigate the issue of toxic masculinity. In the wake of the #MeToo era, we think it is vital to engage men in the conversation by showing that gender-based pressure harms them too.” — Euronews team

New Internationalist (United Kingdom) will address the looming hunger crisis for the world’s poorest people, seeking out the key ingredients for a more equitable and sustainable food system. The Seat at the Table series will trace the food supply chain down from international, national, informal markets down to consumers by highlighting dangers and risks and pointing to long-term, sustainable solutions to this dysfunctional food system.

“It’s hugely exciting to have the chance to dig deeper into what is sadly looking set to be humankind’s primary challenge in the years ahead — how to make sure that everyone gets to eat. Covid-19 was a real wake-up call, revealing how millions are just one shock away from hunger, especially in low-income countries. Our reporting will focus on these intense vulnerabilities — and solutions to these — in the Global South and also look at how in wealthy nations too, millions of families struggle to access nutritious food. Thanks to EJC, New Internationalist can stay with this story throughout the coming year — a journalist’s dream! — to unearth stories from across sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.”Hazel Healy, co-editor

RiffReporter eG (Germany) will investigate how the protection of wetlands, rivers and other natural ecosystems is connected to the supply of clean water and sanitation. Showing the interconnection between biodiversity and development to highlight scalable solutions for one of the most important yet highly underrated topics: the supply of clean water.

“One of the biggest challenges in the coming years is to provide drinkable water to a growing world population. But this challenge is not only about wells, pipes and water purification. The real sources of drinkable water are ecosystems like wetlands, rivers and areas with large groundwater reservoirs. Our team of 10 reporters will investigate in Europe, Africa and Asia how these ecosystems can be protected.”Christian Schwägerl, co-founder and CEO

“We are delighted to receive support for RiffReporter’s independent science and environment journalism on such an important topic. With our newly started syndication ‘Marketplace’ for distributing RiffReporter content, we will work with a growing network of publishing partners to provide independent, high-quality reporting to the public during this important phase.”Tanja Krämer, co-founder and CEO

SciDev.Net (United Kingdom) will launch a weekly podcast looking at science and health in sub-Saharan Africa, giving African journalists a platform to talk about how science affects their communities and giving African researchers an opportunity to highlight their work to European and African audiences.

“We are really excited to be selected by the European Journalism Centre for this grant and we hope it will give us a springboard to launch a self-sustaining podcast focusing on the really exciting work being done by African scientists and innovators.” — Ben Deighton, managing editor

Tageszeitung (Germany) will follow the trail of German development money in projects focusing on access to clean water and sanitation. The investigation, with a solutions-oriented approach, aims to reveal problems and potential solutions to water-related problems in the least developed countries.

“We are honored to be selected for this grant. In the current Corona-crisis we have seen that access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure is limited in most of the least developed countries but that it is essential for public health, the development of poor communities and gender equality. The funds will allow us to dig deep into the major challenges of access to clean water and availability of sewerage infrastructure in four different regions of the world. We are grateful to have more resources to allow us, as reporters, to do mainly on-the-ground reporting and to come up with a multimedia approach to publishing our findings.” — Simone Schlindwein, Tageszeitung-correspondent in the Great Lakes Region in Africa

Vanity Fair (France), with the project ‘Raise your Voices’, will focus on twelve resilient young women in different parts of the world who have by their actions changed their communities on issues such as poverty, hunger, education, health, gender equality and sanitation. The print edition will each month publish a four-page-feature. Podcasts and videos will be shared through its website and social media channels.

“We are really glad to be able to start this journey thanks to the grant! Vanity Fair is recognised for its detailed investigations, but the French edition is also in the process of evolving into a direction where we will focus more on current issues. The project ‘Raise your Voices’, which will be telling the story of twelve young fearless girls committed to a cause, will play a big role in this process.”Elvire Emptaz, editor

(None of the 8 awarded projects will be published behind paywalls and will be freely accessible to a national or a global online audience.)

A special thanks to all media organisations that applied for funding during these intense times, giving us insight into the stories that are waiting to be told. A second call for proposals will be announced in September 2020.

About the European Development Journalism Grants

The European Development Journalism Grants are supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the past five years, this funding programme already supported 11 media organisations from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK to report on global challenges. The European Journalism Centre, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has committed over €5.5m to supporting the development journalism ecosystem. Together, we’ve funded 208 projects and supported 355 grantees to publish in over 200 outlets worldwide.

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