$1M Grant to Fund Great Storytelling on Key African Issues

By: Kendall McCabe | 05/24/2013

African farmers at work. Photo credit: International Institute for Communication and Development

The African Story Challenge will award approximately 100 reporting grants for stories on development issues. Journalists chosen for the grants will come together for intensive sessions to improve their project ideas. Grantees who produce the best stories published or broadcast in media that reach African audiences will win cash prizes or a major international reporting trip.

The Story Challenge is a project of the African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators. AMI Content Development Director and Knight International Journalism Fellow Joseph Warungu is leading the project. The Knight Fellowships are administered by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

“This new challenge will encourage journalists to experiment with new content ideas and find new ways to engage audiences through mobile technology, social media and other digital tools,” said Warungu, a former BBC Africa Editor. “The awards will make a major difference in the number and quality of stories produced on health and development issues in Africa.”

AMI Chief Executive Amadou Mahtar Ba added, “It is essential to encourage and reward African journalists and news organizations that go the extra mile to deliver high-quality digital news and information to promote transparency, accountability and a higher quality of life for our citizens. We can reboot journalism in Africa by incentivizing stories that count.”

The African Story Challenge will run in five themed cycles. Grant requests for stories focusing on agriculture and food security, the first theme, will be accepted from May 26 to June 14, 2013. Other themes will include health, business and technology.

An international panel of editors and media experts will judge the entries. Contest details are available at africanstorychallenge.com.

The African Story Challenge is supported by an $800,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program also has support from the African Development Bank and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).


The African Media Initiative is the continent’s primary umbrella association of African media owners, top executives, and other industry stakeholders. AMI represents media across all traditional platforms plus newer digital formats. AMI’s mandate is to serve as a catalyst for strengthening African media, by building the tools, knowledge resources, and technical capacity for African media to overcome key constraints so that they can play an effective public interest role in society. This mandate includes assisting with the development of professional standards, financial sustainability, technological adaptability and civic engagement. AMI seeks to achieve its mandate through partnerships, advocacy and strategic projects. For more information, visit www.africanmediainitiative.org.

The International Center for Journalists advances quality journalism worldwide. Our hands-on programs combine the best professional practices with new technologies. We believe that responsible journalism empowers citizens and holds governments accountable. For more information, go to www.icfj.org.

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