Story Grant Call: Agricultural Water Management and Resilience in Pandemic Times – Nile Basin

  • OrganisationInfoNile
  • Closing Date31/07/21
  • Posted date08/07/21
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How is Covid-19 impacting agricultural water management in the Nile Basin countries?


Background and Context

Agriculture is the mainstay of Africa’s economy accounting for between 20-35% of the GDP in many African States.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a global health concern that continues to have devastating impacts on the economy of many African states.

In most countries, the measures put in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 have affected the value and supply chain of the agricultural sector. On the upside, most countries have designated the agriculture and agri-food sector as essential and exempt from business closure and restrictions on movement.

Water, food, and nutrition security are intricately linked. Water is indispensable for agricultural food production, improved diets, and improved sanitation. Water supports livestock production, food processing, preparation, and consumption. However, climate change, the growing water demand, intensifying water scarcity, pollution, and the Covid-19 pandemic continue to pose tremendous risks to the ecosystem and sustainability of water security.

Covid-19 puts a spotlight on the need for clean water and sanitation as over 2.2 billion people globally still lack access to drinking water, while 4.2 billion lack sanitation services. Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and water for food production are essential to not only combat the spread of Covid-19 but to also build resilience to communities. Without clean water, hand washing is impossible, and without water, food security would not be achieved.

In the developing countries along the Nile Basin, the virus poses a serious threat to food security and livelihoods because agricultural production systems are more labor-intensive and there is less capacity to withstand a severe macroeconomic shock (OECD 2020).


Call for Reporting Grant

InfoNile invites journalists in the Nile Basin countries to submit proposals for in-depth reporting on the Impacts of Covid-19 on irrigation and water access and use by farmers.

This is a collaborative reporting grant. We invite you to submit proposals in pairs or in groups of three. You can apply either as a group of journalists from different countries working on the same story – or a group of journalists from the same country who report for platforms in different languages; for example, a local radio reporter working with a TV or newspaper journalist.

How has Covid-19 affected farmers’ access to water for irrigation? Have farmers faced any challenges securing equipment, inputs, and maintenance of irrigation technologies due to pandemic restrictions, and/or increased financial stress due to tariffs, decreased market access, labor shortages, and other economic factors? What are some of the new opportunities and innovations that have arisen in the irrigation sector?

We invite proposals to also investigate Agriculture water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (AgriWASH ). Good sanitation and hygiene as a set of personal practices contribute to good health. In agriculture, at the center of agricultural farm hygiene are farmers, farmworkers, and other food business operators who need to have access to clean and safe water and collection and effective treatment mechanisms for their waste. Additionally, even if agrochemicals and antimicrobials are prudently and responsibly used in food production systems, animal and aquaculture waste management and treatment should be considered aiming at a large reduction in pathogens and the persistence of antimicrobials in wastewater systems as an important part of good animal and aquaculture AgriWASH practices.

We want you to produce an in-depth multimedia story focusing on how Covid-19 is impacting agricultural water management in the Nile basin countries.

Please note that if you receive facilitation to report your story, you will be given chance to take part in an InfoNile data journalism training and mentorship program. You will also receive assistance in producing graphics, data visualization, and mapping.

Stories can be published in other languages but will also be translated into English.

There is no strict limit on the amount you can apply for but we expect that most grants will be around $1,000. More resource-intensive investigations or those with larger teams may warrant slightly larger grants. Please apply only for the funds that you need.


Submit the following to info@infonile.org by 31st July, 2021:

  • A proposal outlining your story idea (no more than one page). Proposals should be clearly structured, stating briefly at the outset what the story idea is, followed by how and where the story will be researched, what it aims to reveal or contribute, where you will publish (specific media organizations), and the intended impact of the story. The proposal should also include a plan for incorporating data. Please note how you will use multimedia (video, photos, audio, and graphics along with text). You should also include:
  • A  proposed budget
  • Your resumés/CVs;
  • Two samples of published/broadcast work. Only Links to the published stories will be accepted
  • Letter of support from your editors, stating that your media houses will publish / telecast / broadcast your story.

NOTE ON COVID-19: Please note that we will be proceeding with awarding these grants. However, we will work with selected journalists individually to assist in safer ways of reporting and adapting projects during the ongoing pandemic.