ICFJ-Facebook Training & Reporting Grants Program: Reporting on Refugee Communities Amidst a Pandemic

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is pleased to partner with Facebook Journalism Project on a training program that allows journalists across the Middle East and North Africa to produce high-quality and engaging stories that shine a light on life in refugee camps at this time of the coronavirus pandemic. The program equips journalists with the skills, resources, and technical support needed to produce compelling reports that surface underreported stories from refugee camps across countries with large refugee communities such as Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. With an emphasis on the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19 on an already struggling community. The goal is to ensure that this vulnerable community is not forgotten during the global pandemic.


The program includes the following core components:

  • An intensive four-week online course that offers a combination of subject-matter and technical training for professional and citizen journalists, freelancers, and stringers. The course will be offered twice to a total of 120 journalists in 2020. 
  • Reporting grants to support journalists as they produce in-depth, compelling stories focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on refugee communities.
  • Dedicated mentorship and guidance to enable participants to apply their skills and leverage their grants to produce high-quality stories.
  • A comprehensive toolkit in the Arabic language published on IJNet. 

Program Activities
The program will be offered twice consisting of two rounds, the phases of the program will remain the same.

Phase 1 - Virtual Four-Week Online Course: ICFJ’s digital media trainers will conduct an online course on a training platform for 60 MENA journalists to increase the number of local professionals trained on key concepts and best practices. The online course will take place in the month of September 2020 and will cover the following five modules: 

  1. Access to healthcare and health education and awareness in refugee camps. How have existing resources been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? What does a pandemic mean in communities where physical distancing is not an option?
  2. The freedom of movement in the time of COVID-19. What are the rights and freedoms afforded to refugees across the region? How are they implemented? And can they be protected during a pandemic?
  3. Crowdsourcing and verifying information. How can journalists engage refugees in the storytelling process? What are the best practices for verifying online content? What resources can journalists with limited access use to produce credible stories affecting people in camps?
  4. Video and multimedia reporting. What new techniques can journalists leverage to produce innovative and engaging content? How can journalists engage audiences around stories affecting disenfranchised populations?
  5. Health and safety. How can journalists and stringers keep themselves and their subjects safe while reporting on the field? What are the resources available to them?

Phase 2 - Grant Recipients: Journalists who participate in an intensive four-week online course and complete all the course assignments, will be eligible to apply for reporting grants by submitting a short proposal on a story they want to cover using their new skills. ICFJ will award a total of 17 grants up to a maximum of $1,500 each. To help journalists cover a personal stipend as well as expenses for equipment and resources in producing in-depth, compelling stories focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on refugee communities.

Phase 3 - Mentorship: Once grants are awarded the recipients will also have access to sustained mentorship and guidance during their reporting, allowing them to leverage the expertise of their mentors as they produce their stories. Mentors will also offer tailored guidance to participants on how to stay safe while working in the field. The mentorship will be offered for three months.

Phase 4 - IJNet Arabic Media Toolkit: At the end of the program, ICFJ will produce a media toolkit with tip-sheets, videos, and guidelines using the material from the training. Continuously building and incorporating successful practices used by our grant recipients and the stories they produce. The media toolkit will be hosted on our IJNet Arabic.

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Reporters with an interest in shining a light on refugee stories, but who lack the resources and capacity.
  • Media professionals working on the refugee beat.
  • Journalists reporting from within refugee camps.
  • Stringers and freelancers hired by local newsrooms to report on refugee communities (an increasingly common practice).


We are no longer accepting applications for the program.

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