Small Grants Winners Use EJN Awards to Strengthen Networks, Reporting

September 26, 2013

Environmental journalists, supported by a small grants program totaling $50,000 from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN), have been building and strengthening networks to improve the quality of environmental reporting in their communities.

This year’s group of grantees – from Central Asia, the Philippines, Argentina, the Central African Republic and Tunisia – trained more than 450 journalists and produced close to 250 stories.

EJN launched the grants program in 2012 to foster communities of environmental journalists where the need is urgent but resources are limited.  EJN is also now accepting applications for new grants in 2014.

This year’s grantees have undertaken the following projects:

  • In Central Asia, India’s The Third Pole – a collaboration with chinadialogue led by New Delhi-based journalist Joydeep Gupta – is establishing new networks of environmental journalists in Bhutan and Afghanistan, translating existing EJN toolkits into Russian, and registering as a non-profit in India to open doors for future funding opportunities. EJN and The Third Pole staff are working on a project for data sharing, collection, and visualization in the areas of climate change, water, forests, and disaster risk reduction in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, which provide water to nearly 20 percent of the world’s population.
  • In the Philippines, to better communicate the needs of the populations most affected by disasters such as typhoons, floods and coastal erosion, the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ), led by Imelda Abano, is building an SMS-based news service called EnviroNews. The platform utilizes the free and open-source tool FrontlineSMS to broadcast 160-character reports from the field to a national audience. Help support EnviroNews on Global Giving.
  • Claves21, an environmental news site in Argentina led by Damián Profeta and Fermin Koop, unites environmental journalists and students across the country. The goal of the site is to modernize environmental reporting using a host of innovative “Web 2.0” tools that include multimedia storytelling, crowd-sourced data collection, and data visualization and mapping. This month, Claves21 launched its biggest Web 2.0 initiative to date, DataFracking.com.ar, a digital platform highlighting the issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing in Argentina and around the world. 
  • In the Central African Republic, Thierry Khonde and the Réseau des Journalistes pour le Droit de l’Homme (Network of Journalists for Human Rights or RJDH) are training 20 local journalists to articulate the roles climate, agriculture, and food security play in the country’s ongoing political and social struggles.
  • Taking a multi-pronged approach to the establishment of a new Tunisia Environmental Reporting Network (TERN), Mona Samari and colleagues have spent the year reaching out to environmental journalists across the Mediterranean; introduced a new environmental section to citizen journalism and media aggregator NAWAAT; and organized a delegation of reporters to attend April’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora conference in Bangkok, Thailand. In conjunction with Lebanon’s WE Magazine, TERN is finalizing the launch of WE Share, the first online platform for Tunisian and Lebanese environmental journalists. This new platform aims to facilitate the exchange of articles and skills between environment reporters in these two counties. Finally, in October, TERN and NAWAAT will be hosting the first Arab COP (Conference of the Parties) climate meeting.