Submit Proposals for Asia-Pacific Investigative Environmental Story Grants

Earth Journalism Network (EJN), funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is seeking proposals for its Asia-Pacific Investigative Environmental Story Grants.

EJN is seeking stories that go beyond answering the basic who, what, when and where, and investigate how and why governments, businesses, and financial institutions are acting in ways that directly or indirectly exploit our land and natural resources, and outline the repercussions.


Story proposals should focus on one of the following topics:

  • Wildlife trafficking. Stories could investigate trafficking supply chains or the demand driving the trade in a particular wildlife species. Who is involved, what are the enabling factors and how are the authorities or communities involved working to crack down on this practice? What threats does the trade pose to the surrounding ecosystem?
  • Land clearing for large-scale farming and economic development. Stories could explore demand drivers of this development. How are these activities contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, loss of fertile soil, land rights issues and conflicts? What actors are influencing development policies? Have environmental impact assessments been carried out? Does the development project meet environmental regulations?
  • Extractive industries. Stories could look at companies involved in mining or oil and gas extraction, for example. Are they fighting legislation that addresses climate change? Are they financing politicians or backing groups that deny it? What impact are their activities having on local communities and who is in opposition? Are environmental defenders who rally against these industries being threatened or attacked?
  • Ocean pollution. Stories could address what is causing the pollution and what impact those activities will have on marine ecosystems. Who is responsible? Who is responding to this issue and how? What effect is it having on coastal communities and marine tourism?
  • Air pollution. Stories could investigate government policies on this issue and the health impacts, particularly on vulnerable communities. What is the connection between air pollution and climate change and what is being done to address it?

Applicants may propose an idea for an investigation that doesn’t fit within one of these five topics as long as they can justify its environmental salience. EJN’s particularly interested in stories that uncover corruption, address the safety of environmental defenders and call out business practices that are impacting negatively on the environment and the lives of local communities.

Furthermore, it’s often the poor and powerless that suffer most from the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change – and are less able to adapt to them – so they encourage stories that report on potential solutions and address how vulnerable communities are responding to challenges. EJN is also interested in stories that utilize relevant data to illustrate the issue in a compelling and easy-to-understand way.

Eligibility Criteria

  • For the purposes of this grant call, EJN is accepting applications from South AsiaSoutheast Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific region but not Australia or New Zealand.
  • Applications are open to journalists (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with experience in investigative reporting and covering environmental issues. They encourage applications from freelancers and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.

Story Approach & Format

  • Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided. EJN expects that stories will be produced with equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies.
  • Stories can be produced in any language. But 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 in their affiliated media as long as EJN and Sida are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely. Freelance reporters should demonstrate a plan for publication or broadcast and are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from an editor.

Judging Criteria

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

  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives? Why does this story matter and to whom? Is the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined?
  • Angle: If the story has been covered by mainstream media, does your proposal bring new insights into the topic or offer a fresh angle?
  • Impact: Does the proposal have an investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and urge action?
  • Innovative storytelling: They encourage the use of multi-media, creative approaches and data visualization.
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