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12 new projects by freelancers


12 new projects by freelancers

Picture of Marjan Tillmans
Marjan Tillmans — Project Manager
May 07, 2024

Another €102,000 of grants awarded for solutions-oriented development reporting.

In 2022, we launched the Solutions Journalism Accelerator, a programme by the European Journalism Centre and the Solutions Journalism Network - delivering financial support, mentoring, coaching, resources, skills development and knowledge transfer. Our goal is to support solutions-focused development journalism in Europe.

In 2022/2023 we awarded grant funding to 19 media for their projects, and we are delighted to announce that we are now supporting 12 individuals and teams of freelance journalists that will publish solutions-focused, impactful stories across France, Germany, and the UK.

Meet the awarded journalists and their stories:

Photo by: Cynthia Matonhodze / Project: Mental Wealth by Positive News

Mountain medicine - How telemedicine is transforming healthcare for remote Moroccan communities

This story explores the impact of mobile medical campaigns using telemedicine in remote Moroccan villages. Through investigating on the ground and listening to the villagers and stakeholders, alongside data analysis, Kahlid Bencherif’s story will unpack the campaign's impact, the technology utilised, and the existing challenges. Ultimately, it aims to showcase telemedicine's potential to improve healthcare access in underserved regions, not just in Morocco, but globally.

Securing this grant feels like a beacon of hope, empowering me to persevere on my path as a freelance journalist. The freelance life isn't without its challenges – the financial uncertainty can be nerve-wracking, and the irregular work schedule can be stressful. However, this grant provides crucial support, allowing me to keep pushing forward despite these obstacles.

-- Khalid Bencherif

Mothers of the River - Maternal mortality

After decades of falling numbers, maternal mortality is stagnating globally. In Latin America, it even has been rising. Rike Uhlenkamp and Rainer Kwiotek will travel to the remote Peruvian Amazonas region to visit a project founded by the local female Epidemiologist Magaly Blas that is fighting to change that: with technology, awareness creation and with a force of trained communal health and traditional midwives. And the project expands, even into the neighbouring Columbia.

Giving birth should be a source for joy and a miracle. It's shocking for how many mothers and baby’s it still ends deadly. We are very happy to receive the grant, as it allows us to travel to the remote Peruvian Amazonas areas to report about the project “Mamas del Rio” and see how it helps women and child’s to a safer birth and a healthier start in their lives.

-- Rike Uhlenkamp and Rainer Kwiotek

Leveraging the 'internet of fish' to empower and end sexual exploitation of rural women on Lake Victoria

On the shores of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya, women fisherfolk have learnt to access the ‘internet of fish’ and it is empowering them in ways unimaginable a few decades ago. Joseph Davis Weddi will explore and connect the dots and provide new information that sheds light on the extent to which a new approach and digital technologies are addressing sexual exploitation of female fish farmers and traders, to understand their effectiveness and limitations in supporting the attainment of increased income, elimination of hunger and enhancing gender equality in communities subsisting around Lake Victoria.

This generous enabling Solutions Journalism Accelerator makes all the difference in breaking the barriers to reaching the source of a distant story. With the grant I will be able to conduct on-the-ground investigation to gather material with which I will be able to craft and tell an untold story of the relationship between rural women fisherfolk and the 'internet of fish'.

-- Joseph Davis Weddi

Kenya's famine early warning systems

According to some estimates, 150 million people in Africa are currently going hungry and famines are a major factor behind that. Peter Yeung will visit Kenya, which has shown success in mitigating famine through early warning systems that allow local communities to prepare for disaster in advance.

There is nothing more satisfying for me as a journalist than reporting on solutions to the world's problems, especially when focusing on under-reported regions in the Global South. Our role to assess, critique and raise awareness about these efforts -- none of which are perfect -- have the power to tangibly change what's being done on the ground. Too little of this kind of work is done. It is therefore an honour to be given this opportunity.

-- Peter Yeung

In Madagascar, the "sea nomads" are becoming defenders of the ocean

Julie Bourdin and Sira Thierij will focus on subsistence fishers living semi-nomadically on Madagascar’s Barren Isles to monitor ocean health by combining indigenous knowledge and mobile technology. By protecting their livelihoods in the face of climate change and overfishing, they are becoming the stewards of this beacon of marine biodiversity - which could soon become the Indian Ocean’s largest locally-managed marine protected area.

This grant represents invaluable support to report an important story on one of the frontlines of climate change. We are very honoured to receive the opportunity to highlight this initiative in such a remote corner of the world, and are hopeful it will contribute to bringing new perspectives into the global public discourse.

-- Julie Bourdin and Sira Thierij

From Kigali to Kerala - the future of sustainable vaccine and food transportation is being reimagined on a cutting-edge campus in Kigali

Can sustainable cooling technologies offer solutions for food as well as vaccine security? Sally Howard and Geetanjali Krishna will focus on a faraway campus in Rwanda, where scientists from the University of Birmingham are developing net zero cold storages for agricultural produce as well as vaccines. In the era of lifesaving mRNA vaccines that are unfortunately restricted by the extremely cold temperatures needed for their storage, the solution offers huge public health benefits and hope for low-income regions dependent on agriculture.

As a two-woman team of freelance global health journalists we are delighted with the announcement of the funding from the EJC and Gates Foundation. Cold-chain storage is, at first sight, an unsexy topic, but projects such as ACES in Kigali, which are looking into developing low-carbon cold-chain solutions for vaccine distribution and reducing food waste offer huge potential benefits for our warming planet.

-- Sally Howard and Geetanjali Krishna
Photo by: Robin Tutenges / Project: Le chemin des écolières by

Solutions journalism is rigorous reporting about responses to problems. It investigates and explains, in a critical and clear-eyed way, examples of people working toward solutions.

We published two guides, which can be downloaded for free:

Solutions Journalism: an introduction for journalists and newsrooms

Solutions Journalism: 11 tough questions on how to do solutions journalism

Power of the people - Argentinians fight the crisis with their unique network

Amid Argentina’s deep crisis characterised by high poverty rates of around 57% and huge economic challenges, Julia Jaroschewski will explore civil society organisations and grassroots initiatives that are a powerful force for social change. They play a pivotal role in combating poverty, hunger, inequalities, and other pressing issues. Contrasting two cases, one in Buenos Aires and one in the interior of the country, it will show how different the realities of life are and under what conditions social networks are able to function in this difficult situation.

With this work, I am pleased to draw a little more attention to the difficult situation in Argentina and at the same time shine the light on what role civil society can play in building central functional pillars in times of crisis. 

-- Julia Jaroschewski

The unsung heroes of the health system - How community health workers are making an underfunded system work

In Kenya, underfunding and a shortage of healthcare professionals have strained the health system, making it reliant on over 80,000 minimally compensated community health workers. Initiatives - both governmental and private - aim to expand, professionalise and improve pay for these workers, acknowledging their pivotal role in extending healthcare access. Gioia Shah and Birte Mensing will look at how Kenya can be a role model for other developing nations - but the country still has a long way to go to utilise this powerful workforce fully and achieve universal healthcare coverage.

We’re thrilled to receive this grant that enables us to highlight an underreported and under-appreciated topic. Community health workers in Kenya can be an example to other countries and we want to tell their story.

-- Gioia Shah and Birte Mensing

Water as a common in Senegal

How can we share water, prevent increasingly glaring conflicts of use and anticipate the growing threat of drought? Erwan Manach will travel to the Niayes region of northern Senegal, where local residents and farmers are devising an innovative model for the governance of water resources, as a common, within local water platforms. They are carrying out actions in the villages, in particular to empower women, so that users can become experts in their own resource, the best guarantee of sustainable and reasonable management of it.

Diagnosing, anticipating and deciding together is a long and tedious job, but collective intelligence is a formidable means of protecting and sharing a common asset like water.

-- Erwan Manach
Photo credit: Raphael Belmin / Project: Anthropocene, voices from the Global South by AFP and The Conversation

Beyond neglect - The African eye worm

Loiasis, a parasitic disease caused by the African Eye Worm, results in symptoms ranging from swellings and headaches to nerve damage, meningitis and blindness. Long and mistakenly seen as benign, it does not appear on the WHO list of Neglected Tropical Diseases despite having comparable human impacts to listed NTDs. Laura Salm-Reiferscheidt and Nyani Quarmyne will examine the work of a team of Gabonese and German scientists who have established a laboratory and clinic deep in the Gabonese rainforest to gain a view to better understanding of the worm, vectors and disease, and developing effective treatments and prevention.

Thanks to this grant we will be able to shed a little light on a disease that, like many things that affect only the world’s poorest, has long remained out of sight and out of mind in the Global North.

-- Laura Salm-Reiferscheidt and Nyani Quarmyne

The secret lives of Oman's 'mompreneurs' - female entrepreneurs

Sophia Smith Galer’s project will investigate how women are leading entrepreneurship in Oman and how they are innovating new revenue streams in the age of social media.

I'm so excited to get started reporting on this project, highlighting stories in a place with such a fascinating history of female entrepreneurship. As a freelance journalist, long-term research and dedication to a story is only possible with grant opportunities like this - I am so grateful.

-- Sophia Smith Galer

Project details will be revealed following its publication

Upon request of Benjamin Breitegger, his research topic will not be disclosed before his radio documentary goes online.

At a time when media organisations are cutting costs, the EJC research grants for freelancers are extremely valuable.

-- Benjamin Breitegger
Photo credit: Khadija Farah / Project: Mental Wealth by Positive News

Are you interested in learning more about the projects by the media outlets? You can read about them here: Round 1, Round 2

If you’d like to stay updated about Solutions Journalism in general and our Solutions Journalism Accelerator programme, please subscribe to our “Solutions ,Explained” newsletter.


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