The Pulitzer Center is seeking four West African journalists to join two international journalists to produce a series of reports on water and sanitation projects in West Africa.  Deadline is June 20, 2011.
Reporting will be published in West African and international news outlets. This collaboration between West African and international journalists will improve the quality of the reporting on water and sanitation and give voice to West African journalists working to communicate the systemic crises affecting their countries to an international news audience.  We aim for this model of collaborative reporting to be a model for future in-depth foreign reporting.
Background: West Africa has among the lowest rate of access to clean water and adequate sanitation in the world.  Aid organizations, international financial institutions and governments have spent millions of dollars on projects throughout the region but the results thus far are mixed.  Of the 600,000-plus hand pumps installed in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years, for example, some 30 percent are known to have failed prematurely; less than one percent of projects have any kind of long-term monitoring.
Grant Description: The Pulitzer Center will award grants to four West African journalists to work with international journalists and Pulitzer Center staff to produce reports on water and sanitation for West African and international news outlets.  A summary video segment will be produced for high-end U.S. broadcast news outlets (PBS NewsHour or similar platforms); work will also be featured on a special Pulitzer Center web platform.
The selected journalists and Pulitzer Center staff will travel to Stockholm, Sweden to attend World Water Week (late August 2011).  There they will attend conference sessions and press briefings, develop a reporting plan for West Africa, and participate in a multimedia training workshop led by Emmy-award winning video journalist, Stephen Sapienza.
In October 2011 the international journalists and Pulitzer Center staff will travel to West Africa to report with the West African journalists in their respective countries.  Expected deliverables for this reporting will be finalized at World Water Week.
All expenses in Stockholm and West Africa will be covered by the Pulitzer Center.
Eligibility: These grants are open to West African journalists, writers, photographers, radio producers or filmmakers; staff journalists as well as free-lancers who live and work in the region (as defined by the UN) and seek to report from their home country on water and sanitation.
Deadline: June 20, 2011. Selected journalists will be announced in early July.
How to Apply: Applications should be submitted to travelgrants [at] with “West Africa Water” in the subject line.  Questions should be directed to Peter Sawyer by email at psawyer [at] or by phone at 1-202-797-5562. Applications must be received in English or French (English preferred).
Applications should include the following:

  • A 250-word statement of interest with plans for reporting on water and sanitation in your country (in the body of the email)
  • Brief description of experience with video, photography, radio and web media (in the body of the email); experience in these media is not a requirement for the grant
  • Two references with contact information with 1-2 sentences describing how each knows you (in the body of the email)
  • A letter from your editor or supervisor that gives permission to participate in World Water Week (August 20-28, 2011) and to travel with the American journalist(s) for one week in October, and that signals a strong commitment to publish or broadcast your work on the topic (as attachment)
  • Three examples of recent reporting (as links or attachments)
  • Curriculum Vitae (as attachment

For more information and application, visit the grant website here.