The Bertha Challenge: Fellowships for Activists & Investigative Journalists

Deadline: 10 February 2019

Applications are open for The Bertha Challenge which is an opportunity for five activists and five investigative journalists, in five global locations, to spend a year deep-diving into one pressing social justice issue.

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Those selected will receive non-residential paid fellowships and a project budget to work independently and together to:

  • INVESTIGATE the causes of and solutions to the Bertha Challenge
  • AMPLIFY their findings to a wider targeted audience
  • CONNECT with diverse stakeholders for information, support and sustainable impact

The inaugural Bertha Challenge will launch in June 2019 with a focus on the right to land and housing, specifically supporting Bertha Fellows to answer the following question: How is the nexus between property, profit and politics contributing to land and housing injustice, and what can be done to fix this?


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  • Income for each Bertha Fellow for one year, not exceeding USD $60,000 and commensurate with the applicant’s current or equivalent salary at the host organization (see below for more details) – ideally a media outlet for an investigative journalist and an NGO, community organization or social movement for an activist.
  • Project funding of up to USD $10,000 for each Bertha Fellow to produce a culminating product that responds to the question posed by the Bertha Challenge. Directed toward your specified target audience, this could be a series of articles, videos, podcasts, games or drama productions, for example. Bertha Fellows working together will have the option to pool their project funding to produce on a larger scale.
  • Training through regular virtual seminars, with topics on a range of issues from current debates around land and housing, to methods of investigation, to methods of communicating findings through news media, storytelling, popular education, and more.
  • Peer and mentor support in the form of regular virtual check-ins with a project coordinator and a cohort of Bertha Fellows. Like many fellowships, the Bertha Challenge aims to provide space for personal development. However, they also believe that work is most impactful when it is done in collaboration with peers conducting similar work and on a sustained basis.
  • Network development through the global cohort of Bertha Fellows and exposure to relevant partners within and beyond the Bertha network, and also through support in strengthening local networks.
  • Global convenings of the ten Bertha Fellows and selected guests at the start (June 2019) and end (May 2020) of the Bertha Challenge.

Eligibility Criteria

    • Mid-career journalists with at least five years experience and a track record and passion for doing investigative journalism.
    • Strong connections to a diverse range of groups working in support of land and housing justice in their city, country or region including with social movements, community organizations, NGOs, academics, activists, progressive government officials, fundraisers, etc.
    • Experience in working with diverse groups of people, organizations and cultures.
    • Research ability, comprehensive understanding of the political landscape concerning the subject matter, understanding of the law(s) and political structures governing development and procurement and the ability to work independently.
    • Affiliation to an appropriate host media organization that could publish/broadcast your work produced during the Bertha Challenge.
    • At least five years experience working with activists, social movements, grassroots and community organizing, social justice organizations or campaigns.
    • Strong connections to a diverse range of groups working in support of land and housing justice in their city, country or region including with social movements, community organizations, NGOs, academics, journalists, progressive government officials, fundraisers, etc.
    • Experience in developing organizing tools or popular educational programs and materials including training programs, publications, pamphlets, films, podcasts, drama productions, etc.
    • Experience in using research, media and the law in advocacy.
    • Affiliation to an appropriate host organization that could distribute work produced during the Bertha Challenge.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online via given website.

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