New grants awarded in Information Saves Lives Rapid Response Fund

Internews has awarded twelve grants to individual journalists, media outlets, and civil society groups who are providing minority and underrepresented communities worldwide with vital and lifesaving information about COVID-19. The recipients join 13 others awarded grants earlier this month through Internews’ Information Saves Lives emergency response fund.

From Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, where a young Somali journalist has returned from Nairobi to serve the community in which he was raised, to a non-profit in Malaysia concerned with stigma against LGBTQ populations seeking treatment, to a US-based information service aimed at food banks, grantees have sought funding to reach underserved populations, keep operations going, and develop innovative ways to report on COVID-19.

“We’ve now granted $100,000 to frontline information providers around the world, with the hope to do more,” said Jodie Ginsberg, Internews Chief Executive in Europe. “What we see throughout these applications is the spirit and drive to reach every corner of the world with lifesaving information.”

Grants ranging from $1000 to $4000 were awarded to:

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Internews launched the Information Saves Lives Rapid Response Fund at the end of March to help small, local news organizations worldwide survive in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read about other grantees and the campaign

Media inquiries: press@internews.org
Grant inquiries: Please note that the fund is not currently accepting additional applications at this time. When applicable, Internews will announce a new deadline for applications.

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