Information Saves Lives Rapid Response Fund

Information Saves Lives Rapid Response Fund

The Fund

The Internews Information Saves Lives Rapid Response Fund aims to help small, local news organizations survive in the face of COVID-19.

The Fund directly supports media outlets, organizations and individuals reporting on COVID-19 for underserved communities around the world.

Update: Please note the Rapid Response Fund is currently closed to new applicants.  Our most recent grantees were contacted July 6; the final batch of grantees will be contacted no later than August 7.

Meet the Grantees

More than 80 media outlets and individuals have received Rapid Response Fund grants to date.

Two grantees, Abdullahi Mire and Isabela Ponce, discuss how the grants are making a difference for their work:

Abdullahi Mire, Dadaab, Kenya

Read more about issues in Dadaab, Kenya

Isabela Ponce, Ecuador

Read more about issues in Ecuador

Featured Grantees:

Advance Youth Radio, South Sudan Advance Youth Radio uses media to champion youth empowerment and improve employment opportunities. They will use their funding to promote social distancing through interactive radio programming and to update the public with critical information about COVID-19 through public service announcements and live talk shows. They also plan to distribute 100 free solar powered radios to youth and vulnerable communities.

AyiboPost, Haiti Ayibopost is a non-profit Haitian online-based media specialized in field-reporting and creating explanatory content, reaching an audience of more than 500,000 across its platforms. The grant will be used in support of COVID-19 coverage, including in-depth reporting, and to help create a safe working environment for all eleven Ayibopost employees.

Matteo Civillini, Italy Matteo Civillini is a freelance investigative reporter and a member of IRPI, Italy’s only non-profit centre for investigative journalism. Funds will support an investigative report tracking Italian government contracts for the procurement of medical supplies and protective equipment, including masks and ventilators. A first story revealed contracts awarded to businessmen under fraud investigation and without a background in medical supplies.

Digital News Exchange (DNX), Philippines DNX is an in-depth, independent, highly visual online multimedia platform based in Western Visayas providing breaking news, in-depth coverage, and contextual reporting to a local and global audience. DNX’s COVID-19 coverage includes a city-wide emergency broadcast system reaching an area with more than 500,000 people. Grant funds will support operational expenses for two months.

DONIBLOG, Mali DONIBLOG is a collective of Malian bloggers who write about democracy and freedom of expression. They distribute information via a website as well as Facebook and Twitter. DONIBLOG plans to use the funds to train bloggers on how to address COVID-19 issues, monitor misinformation on social media, and provide protection kits for the bloggers.

DRONI, Albania DRONI is an online news site with a targeted team of four reporting on COVID-19 for Albanian audiences, including Albanian emigrants in western Europe who turn to Albanian news sources for information. Grant funds will help sustain and expand coronavirus reporting amid advertising revenue loss. 

Faryad Radio & TV Network, Afghanistan An independent media organization in Afghanistan’s Herat province, Faryad Radio & TV focuses on issues of governance, democracy and gender equality. Herat has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases in the country. Faryad TV will use their funds for an awareness-raising campaign on COVID-19 and to advocate for reducing its socioeconomic impact, an issue which the local governments so far has failed to address.

Food Bank News, United States Food Bank News is a non-profit publication that promotes the exchange of news, information and best practices in hunger relief, reaching executives and staff at food banks, as well as advocates, educators and researchers. With this grant, Food Bank News will increase the frequency of its newsletter, providing updates to hunger relief agencies about best practices in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on food-insecure populations.

GK, Ecuador GK is a women-led team of young and innovative investigative journalists producing human rights-focused media. GK established a special page on their website for COVID-19 issues when the pandemic started and plans to use the grant to map gender-based violence in Ecuador during the crisis, a widespread and underreported issue.

Infinit +, Albania Infinit + is a non-profit news site, with a current focus on countering misinformation that disproportionately targets or affects people with disabilities. Grant funds will support an online campaign of informational videos and message that provide COVID-19 information for people with disabilities.

KabarMedan.com, Indonesia KabarMedan produces independent online local news in Medan, the 3rd largest city in Indonesia. KabarMedan.com provides updates on coronavirus in North Sumatra Province, publishes fact checks in response to misinformation, and collaborates with other media in Indonesia to jointly disseminate educational content to combat the spread of the virus. As advertising lags, grant funds will help sustain their operations.

Klix, Bosnia Klix.ba is a popular independent news site with a twenty-year track record. At the onset of the pandemic, Klix created real-time tables, graphs, and interactive maps of coronavirus cases, a service relied on by government officials and national audiences. Grant funds will help sustain the advertising-reliant news service and support higher costs for server traffic and graphic design.

Media Matters for Women, Sierra Leone Media Matters for Women is a women-led organization that delivers information about reproductive rights, health and gender-based-violence to women in girls in rural areas. They plan to use funds to get information about COVID-19 to rural areas safely through town criers, Bluetooth transfers, and WhatsApp groups.

Abdullahi Mire, Kenya Abdullahi Mire is a Somali journalist in Kenya, currently working with Radio Gargaar in Dadaab Refugee Camp. A freelance journalist and student based in Nairobi, Mire was raised in Dadaab and moved back recently to serve the community there, as the news of COVID-19 spread. Grant funds will help Mire expand his 20-minute Somali-language radio program on coronavirus and related health issues to one hour per day.

NGO Center for Analytics and Investigations, Ukraine The NGO Center supports fact checking via workshops and resource production. Recently, they have organized a group of volunteer journalists who are addressing misinformation around COVID-19 and will use the funds to produce and promote videos about the issues, conduct webinars on fact-checking, and translate international information about COVID-19 for local audiences.

Novi Radio, Bosnia Novi Radio is the only private radio station serving 125,000 people in the cities of Bihac and Cazin, Bosnia. A severe drop in advertising revenue has reduced their six-person staff by two. With grant funds they aim to expand COVID-19 coverage to increase attention to vulnerable and marginalized groups and increase reporting on misinformation that creates panic locally.

Pax Press, Rwanda Pax Press is a network of 174 journalists working with 35 media outlets in Rwanda with the mission of enhancing social justice, peaceful cohabitation, citizen participation, conflict-sensitive media, and a space for dialogue. Pax Press will use funds to train journalists on covering COVID-19, combatting misinformation, personal safety, and efforts to strengthen freedom of information and transparency.

Pelangi Campaign, Malaysia Pelangi Campaign is a LGBTQ organization based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, focusing on advocacy and community engagement. Funding will support the creation of COVID-19 related content and infographics specifically targeted to LGBTQ audiences, with information on how to seek help.

RADA, Kenya RADA is an Android-based mobile application on health. Since the coronavirus outbreak, RADA has sent updates from the government of Kenya and World Health Organization to students and young people on the RADA platform, as well as affiliated WhatsApp and social media accounts, reaching more than 20,000 students. Grant funds will support additional social media campaigns specifically targeted at young people.

Petro Shuklinov, Ukraine Petro Shuklinov is a Ukrainian journalist who writes about Russian propaganda and its impact. He is currently targeting Russian speakers in Ukraine with information over social media on COVID-19, including fact-checking and anti-propaganda. He will use funds to purchase technical equipment that will allow him to safely conduct distance reporting.

Salud Con Lupa, Peru Salud con Lupa (“Health with a Magnifying Glass”) is a collaborative digital journalism website specializing in public health reporting. Based in Lima, Peru, their reporting teams are international and reach a wider Latin American audience. Their grant will develop a Visual Explainers series, an initiative to transform articles, explainers and fact-checks about COVID-19 into illustrated stories and infographics.

Chong Yee Shan, Malaysia Chong Yee Shan reports on Facebook in Mandarin to an audience of nearly 7,000, reaching primarily rural area residents, senior citizens, and less educated communities, for whom English and the national language are inaccessible. Her coverage translates medical and COVID-19 specific into simple terms, and focuses on issues of domestic violence, especially how to seek help. With grant funding, Chong Yee Shan will create a Mandarin-language online domestic violence support group.

Spice FM, Uganda Spice FM broadcasts in several local languages to a target audience of youth and women in Uganda, including two refugee settlements. They broadcast a weekly health program called Spice Doctor that they are now dedicating to COVID-19 related issues and they include COVID-19 information in a daily news program. With additional funding, they will provide safer conditions for their community correspondents in the refugee settlements, including remote recording equipment, loudspeakers, and transport.

Wanahabari Centre, Kenya Wanahabari Centre is a Kenyan non-profit providing training and mentorship to local journalists. With grant funds, Wanahabari Centre proposes to mentor and hold webinars with vernacular and community radio stations, supporting coverage in Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Swahili, and Dholuo languages, reaching millions of Kenyans with crucial COVID-19 messages at a time of growing misinformation and myths.

ZMA Radio, Afghanistan ZMA Radio is an independent station that has a crew of women journalists who report on Islamic, political and educational issues as well as sports, health and culture. The station covers Kandahar city and the nearby provinces of Helmand, Zabul and Urozgan. ZMA will use its funds to produce live call-in programs featuring guests from the health field, government officials and religious leaders to discuss guidance around COVID-19.

Additional grantees:

  • 101 Reporters Off Road Media Private Limited, India
  • Africtivistes, Senegal
  • AFYA RADIO FM 96.9MHz, Tanzania
  • Alternative Youth Radio, Liberia
  • Arbëria News, Albania
  • Suada Arnautovic (Oslobodjenje), Bosnia
  • ASFEV, DRC
  • Awan Organization, Iraq
  • Tanmoy Badhuri, India
  • Draufsicht Bamenda (Beyond the Horizon), Cameroon
  • Beta News Agency, Serbia
  • Cameroon Association of Media Professionals (CAMP), Cameroon
  • Food for Mzansi, South Africa
  • Chayka.lv, Latvia
  • Gazeta Shqiptare (GHS), Albania
  • ImpactHub Media, Kenya
  • The Isaan Record, Thailand
  • Khabar Lahariya (Chambal Media), India
  • Mail & Guardian, South Africa
  • Media Development Foundation, Ukraine
  • Media Research Centre, Serbia
  • Morfosis Digital, Guatemala
  • Tebar Naimi (ABAIR), Tunisia
  • Newsmeter, India
  • Babatunde Okunlola, Nigeria
  • Online Media Network doo Zaječar, Serbia
  • The Post, Cameroon
  • Punto Norte, USA
  • RPDI Corona Fakes, Ukraine
  • Radio Banoo FM, Afghanistan
  • Radio City Nis, Serbia
  • Radio Domus FM, Kenya
  • Radio Kim Media Group, Kosovo
  • SentARTE, Colombia
  • Shirlie Rodríguez, Guatemala
  • Soule LGBTQ News, Canada
  • Tinig, UK
  • Uptake, USA
  • Velikiy Lug, Ukraine
  • Voices of Reconciliation, South Sudan
  • Voice of Sumadija, Serbia
  • Woodberg Advertising, Zimbabwe