Globally, Indigenous peoples make up less than 5 percent of the total human population – about 370 million people – yet they manage or call home more than a quarter of the world’s land area. Those regions also support 80 percent of the planet’s global biodiversity.
But their perspectives are often missing from global conversations about biodiversity, climate change and other critical environmental issues. Although traditional Indigenous land-use practices often focus on sustainability and conservation, their land rights, sovereignty, and safety are constantly under threat by governments and corporations seeking to exploit natural resources. And while their environmental footprint is small, they often bear the fallout of environmental degradation, with little access to services, financial resources or platforms that help amplify traditional knowledge, boost visibility and allow for information sharing.
Through funding offered by the Nia Tero Foundation and the Svenska Postkodstiftelsen (The Swedish Postcode Lottery), EJN is providing 20 grants to Indigenous journalists looking to investigate and produce stories about environmental degradation in Indigenous communities as well as explore strategies for adaptation, resilience and advocacy.
We welcome any story ideas that will explore how environmental and climate change issues are linked to the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities. We are particularly interested in stories that explore environmental solutions and resiliency, focus on resource use, agriculture and traditional management practices, investigate land rights and environmental sovereignty, address the role of Indigenous Peoples as guardians of the environment or highlight the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Indigenous land and communities.
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 environmental challenges are less likely to be selected.
Applicants must self-identify as Indigenous and will be asked to provide details on their Indigenous affiliations in the application. Applicants can be from any country in the world.
Journalists who are not Indigenous are not eligible for this opportunity; however, we will accept applications from groups of Indigenous and non-Indigenous journalists. In these cases, the Indigenous journalist must be the 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 only be accepting applications in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff.
Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with investigative reporting experience and a history of covering environmental issues. We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.
Story Approach & Format
We expect to award 20 grants in total, at two funding levels: 10 grants will be awarded with an average budget of $1,450, and another 10 grants will be awarded with an average budget of $1,250. Generally speaking, applications with smaller budgets will be more competitive, but 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 February with the expectation that all stories will be published by the end of August at the very latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their workplan.
All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. 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 prefer budgets that do not include a large amount of equipment.
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.
Stories can be produced in any language. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in their local language need to also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.
Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories first in their affiliated media as long as EJN and the grant funders, Nia Tero Foundation and the Svenska Postkodstiftelsen (The Swedish Postcode Lottery), are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely. Freelance reporters should demonstrate a plan for publication or broadcast, and all applicants are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from their editor.
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 visualisation will be considered a plus.