EJN offers Indigenous journalists reporting grants for climate justice, biodiversity, sustainable ecosystems stories & more

Globally, Indigenous peoples make up less than five percent of the total human population – about 370 million people – yet they manage or call home to more than a quarter of the world’s land area. Those regions also support 80 percent of the planet’s global biodiversity. 

But their perspectives are often missing from global conversations about biodiversity, climate change and other critical environmental issues. Although their traditional land-use practices often focus on sustainability and conservation, their land rights, sovereignty, and safety are constantly under threat by governments and corporations seeking to exploit the environment. And while their environmental footprint is small, they often bear the fallout of environmental degradation, with little access to services, financial resources or platforms that help boost their visibility and allow for information sharing. 

Through funding offered by the Nia Tero Foundation, EJN is providing 10 grants averaging $1,250 to Indigenous journalists looking to investigate and produce stories about environmental degradation in Indigenous communities as well as explore strategies for adaptation and resilience.  

Story themes 

They welcome any story ideas that will explore how environmental and climate change issues are linked to the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities. They are particularly interested in stories that explore environmental solutions and resiliency, focus on resource use and traditional management practices, investigate land rights and environmental sovereignty, or highlight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous land and communities. 

Proposals that focus on topics or stories that have not been widely covered are preferred. Issues that have already received a lot of media attention or don’t provide unique angles to environmental challenges are less likely to be selected. 


Applicants must self-identify as Indigenous and will be asked to provide the name of their Indigenous community in the application. Applicants can be from any country in the world. 

For the purposes of this grant opportunity, they will accept applications in any language but those we receive that are not in English will be subject to machine translation. They ask that applicants have either a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with EJN staff for follow-up interviews or, if selected, for mentorship and engagement. 

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with investigative reporting experience and a history of covering environmental issues. They encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based. 

They are seeking to support both early-career and senior journalists with many years of reporting experience. They’ll accept both individual and group applications, but for the latter they ask that the application is made in the name of one lead applicant who will receive the grant on the group’s behalf, if awarded. 

Story approach & format 

They expect to award 10 grants with an average budget of $1,250, depending on the proposal and needs outlined in the budget submission. They will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative or investigative approaches that may be more costly and time-consuming. 

They plan to issue grants in late April with the expectation that all stories will be published by the end of September at the very latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their work plan. 

All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. They have not set a specific amount for each grant because they are asking you to consider what you’ll need to do this type of reporting. They ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting, such as travel and accommodation. They expect that stories will be produced with equipment applicants already have access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies or devote a large amount to applicants’ salaries. 

They encourage reporters to follow best practices for COVID-19 when out in the field so you do not endanger yourself or the people you’re interviewing. If needed, you should include any COVID-related costs, such as tests or personal protective equipment, in your budget.  

Stories can be produced in any language. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in their local language need to also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary. 

Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories first in their affiliated media as long as EJN and the grant funder, Nia Tero Foundation, are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely. Freelance reporters should demonstrate a plan for publication or broadcast, and all applicants are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from their editor. 

Judging criteria 

Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals. 

  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives of the call? Why does this story matter and to whom? Are the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined? 
  • Angle: If the story has been covered, does your proposal bring new insights to the topic or offer a fresh angle? 
  • Impact: Does the proposal have a compelling narrative or investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and urge action? 
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia and data visualisation will be considered a plus. 

Apply here.

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