Applications open for the Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists (Up to $64,900 Stipend)

The Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists is thrilled to announce the launch of the sixth Bertha Challenge. This unique opportunity allows activists and investigative journalists to dedicate a year to addressing a pressing social justice challenge and producing a comprehensive body of work by the end of the Fellowship year. Successful applicants will receive paid Fellowships and project budgets, enabling them to independently and collaboratively:

1. Investigate the causes of and potential solutions to the annual Bertha Challenge.
2. Amplify their findings to a targeted audience, ensuring maximum impact.
3. Connect with diverse stakeholders to gather information, seek support, and drive meaningful change.

The sixth Bertha Challenge will commence in January 2025, with a specific focus on farming and the climate crisis.

The Bertha Challenge 2025 – “How is the interconnectedness between corporate interests and political power in farming contributing to the global climate crisis and what do people and communities do to expose and counter this?”

Our connection to the planet, including its water, soil, weather, air, and climate, is most intimately experienced through how we cultivate the food that sustains our growing global population of over eight billion individuals.

We are delighted to invite investigative journalists and activists to apply for the Bertha Challenge Fellowship by proposing a project that addresses the following question: a lone tree on top of a mountain at sunset

Applications  open from May 31, 2024, until July 12, 2024. Individuals who meet the selection criteria are encouraged to apply.

To learn more about our current cohort of Bertha Fellows, please visit the main Bertha Challenge page on our website.

Benefits: Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists

At Bertha, we recognize the valuable contributions of activists and investigative journalists who are at the forefront of groundbreaking work. The Bertha Challenge is designed to provide support by offering dedicated time to focus on a specific project, opportunities to connect with a diverse group of Bertha Fellows and partners globally, and resources to create tangible products that address the Challenge question.

Our Fellowships include:

  1. – A stipend of up to USD 64,900 for each Bertha Fellow for one year, based on their current or equivalent salary at their host organization, such as a media outlet for journalists or an NGO, community organization, or social movement for activists.
  2. – A Project Fund of up to USD 10,000 for each Bertha Fellow to develop a final product that addresses the Bertha Challenge question and targets a specific audience. This could involve creating articles, videos, podcasts, games, or drama productions. Activist and journalist pairs can combine their project funding for larger-scale initiatives.
  3. – Access to a Connect Fund of up to USD 5,000 to facilitate collaboration among Fellows.
  4. – Regular online discussions covering various topics related to the Bertha Challenge, investigative methods, storytelling, popular education, and more.
  5. – Peer and mentor support through virtual check-ins with Bertha staff and fellow Fellows.
  6. – Networking opportunities within the global Bertha Fellows cohort and exposure to relevant partners within and outside the Bertha network.
  7. – Participation in a global gathering of Bertha Fellows at the beginning of the Bertha Challenge
  8. The Bertha Challenge is set to commence in January 2025, kicking off with an initial gathering early in the Fellowship year at a global retreat space partnered with Bertha. Here, Bertha Fellows will:
  • 1. Engage with fellow participants in the 2025 Bertha Challenge cohort, dedicating time to building relationships and sharing their individual work and perspectives.
  • 2. Receive guidance on enhancing the design of their project work for the year within a nurturing environment.
  • 3. Explore opportunities for collaboration among the cohort members.
  • 4. Deliberate on current trends and approaches in addressing the climate crisis.

All potential applicants and host organizations are welcome to join one of our upcoming online information sessions. During these sessions, participants will have the opportunity to hear from the Bertha Challenge team and previous Fellows. They will also be able to ask any questions they may have about the Fellowship and the application process.

Eligibility and Fellowship Requirements: Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists

The Bertha Fellowship is a full-time commitment. Fellows will be based in their home countries and will be expected to:

– Attend a global convening at the start of the Fellowship
– Create and present a final project that addresses the Bertha Challenge question
– Participate in two virtual meetings per month and occasionally facilitate these meetings
– Establish local and global network connections

Bertha Challenge Culminating Work: Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists

The main focus of the Fellowship program is the work that Fellows will produce to communicate their findings on the Bertha Challenge to a specific audience.

This work should primarily serve a target audience that the Fellows have identified. For example, activists may aim to reach supporters within their network, while investigative journalists may target readers of their newspaper. We encourage applicants to be clear about their intended audience and how they plan to reach them.

We also want Fellows to learn from each other’s work. In addition to presenting their final projects to the target audience, all Fellows must share their work with the rest of the cohort. The projects must be publicly available and in English. If translation is necessary, the cost can be included in the Fellow’s project budget.

Applicants invited for an interview will be required to give a brief presentation on their proposed project.

Time Commitment

While we understand that applicants may have existing commitments to movements and organizations, the Bertha Fellowship requires a full-time commitment. Both the applicant and the host organization must agree to this commitment in writing.

Application Requirements: Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists

1. All candidates are required to provide:

– A fully completed online application form
– A concise resume/CV in English, limited to three pages
– A list of 2-4 referees with their names, relationship to the candidate, and contact information
– A signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from the potential host organization, which includes details on salary and benefits
– Samples of previous work.

Host Organizations

Fellowship candidates must secure a host organization in their home country to manage the Fellowship award and Project Funds. Host organizations should have the legal structure to receive grant funding and process payroll. They must align with the Bertha Challenge goals and agree to publish/distribute the Fellow’s work effectively throughout the year.

For investigative journalists, the host organization should be a media outlet capable of publishing and promoting the Fellow’s work. For activists, the host organization should be an NGO, community group, or social movement.

The Bertha Fellow’s salary should not exceed USD 64,900 and should match the current or equivalent salary at the host organization to prevent discrepancies. If selected for the Fellowship, Bertha Foundation will request proof of the candidate’s previous income. The host organization is responsible for arranging healthcare and other benefits, with costs covered by the Fellowship award. Bertha will provide 15% of the Fellowship award to the host organization for administrative expenses. A table in the MoU helps candidates calculate the Fellowship award.

Bertha Foundation will respect the host organization’s editorial independence throughout the Bertha Challenge.

Criteria: Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists

Activists and investigative journalists are encouraged to apply together for joint projects. Each applicant must submit an individual application form, but should mention their partner applicant and explain how their work will intersect and support each other’s projects. Joint applicants also have the option to combine their Project Funds of USD 10,000 to collaborate on a larger project.

Individual applications from both activists and investigative journalists will also be considered.

Investigative Journalists Criteria

  1. Criteria for investigative journalists include having at least five years of experience in the field, a track record and passion for investigative journalism, and a strong interest in the Bertha Challenge question.
  2. They should also have experience working with affected communities, social movements, NGOs, academics, and other relevant stakeholders.
  3. Additionally, they should possess research and investigative skills, a comprehensive understanding of the political landscape related to the subject matter, and knowledge of relevant laws and policy directions.
  4. The ability to work independently and affiliation with a host media organization that will publish and amplify their work during the Bertha Challenge are also important.

Activists criteria

  1. Activist applicants should have at least five years of experience working with activists, social movements, grassroots and community organizations, or social justice organizations.
  2. They should have strong connections to diverse groups in their city, country, or region, including social movements, community organizations, NGOs, academics, journalists, and progressive government officials.
  3. Experience in developing organizing tools and educational materials, as well as using research, media, and the law in advocacy, is also valued.
  4. Affiliation with an appropriate host organization to amplify their work during the Bertha Challenge is required.

Application: Bertha Challenge Fellowships for Activists and Investigative Journalists

  1. For more details on the award visit the official website
  2. Investigative Journalists Apply here
  3. Activists Apply Here
  4. PDF copies of the application forms can be viewed below. The PDFs are for reference only. Please use the links above to submit your application.
  5. View the journalist application form as a PDF here. View the activists application form as a PDF here.
  6. If you have questions about the application process, please have a look at the FAQs page.
  7. For any further enquiries, email [email protected]

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