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New Grants Competition: Quality Investigative Reporting


Quality Investigative Reporting 

January 2021

Internews’ Media Program in Ukraine (MPU), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)invites Ukrainian media organizations, media outlets and civil society organizations to submit project proposals to the Quality Investigative Reporting Grants Competition.

Internews will support projects that contribute to the Media Program objective of increasing engaging content with a special focus on strengthening local capacity for in-depth and investigative reporting into important issues for Ukraine. These projects will look for opportunities to tackle one or more of the issues below:

·       Strengthen investigative centers and units at regional outlets in fulfilling the watchdog role of a free press, exposing corruption, reporting on important environmental stories, and holding government accountable;

·       Support the production of investigative stories and data journalism projects;

·       Encourage investigative efforts aimed at revealing corruption around the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, combating disinformation around vaccination, exposing purveyors of contraband vaccines, and other pandemic related issues;

·       Help Ukrainian media in initiatives to increase access and improve analysis of data made available by the Government of Ukraine (and other sources);

·       Support the development of data analysis tools and investigative content to improve investigative journalists’ research, analysis, and storytelling skills;

·       Support local investigative journalists using open data in innovative ways to expose corruption, and hold government accountable;

·       Encourage investigative efforts or pilots, particularly those helmed by women and members of marginalized groups;

·       Provide specialized safety and security support to investigative reporters and media outlets publishing investigative reporting, and ensuring safe practices are straightforward to implement and integrated into working habits;

·       Encourage coordination with USAID’s Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services (TAPAS) and Support to Anti-Corruption Champion Institutions (SACCI) programs and other national and international endeavors, e.g. partners of the Prozorro government procurement system, the International Renaissance Foundation, the Dutch Matra program, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, to strengthen collaboration among investigative journalists and other civil society efforts to improve government transparency.

 This grants competition is a focused but flexible mechanism that provides opportunities to design innovative, experimental short-term projects. Project selection will be based on applicants’ ability to demonstrate concrete achievements that show impact in the media sector.

 The average amount of awarded grants will be around US $25,000 for projects of up to six-months’ duration, but the selection committee will consider applications for a longer period if well justified. The projects are expected to start from June/July 2021.

 Proposed projects may include (but are not limited to) the following illustrative activities:

·       Production of hard-hitting investigative stories and data journalism projects covering socially important topics;

·       Developing innovative data analysis tools and datasets on the local level that will help to increase quality of investigative reporting;

·       Building coalitions to strengthen collaboration among investigative journalists, technologists, and civil society organizations in the production of investigative content;

·       Supporting elite Ukrainian investigative reporting and open data teams and transparency activists to train journalists to identify leads, analyze evidence, and report in ways that resonate with the public and lead to positive change;

·       Developing joint cooperation activities between local investigative teams to create joint projects of content production throughout Ukraine;

·       Cross-publishing and content exchange of investigative pieces produced by investigative teams from different parts of Ukraine with the focus on the East and South;

·       Providing specialized security initiatives that assist with the work of investigative reporters and investigative reporting teams, strengthening their digital, legal, physical, and psycho-social security.

Grant Proposal Writing Instructions:

All proposals should be submitted in Times New Roman, 12 point, single space.  The proposal structure includes the following sections:

I.  Cover Page – 1 page

This page should contain the following information:

A.   Project Title

B.    Brief Project Description.  In one paragraph, clearly and concisely summarize your project

C.    Organization.  Name and contact information – mailing address, e-mail, phone, cell phone and website

D.   Project Coordinator.  Full name and contact information – e-mail and cell phone

E.    An additional contact person who will follow the project’s progress.  Full name and contact information – e-mail and cell phone

F.    Project Duration (in months)

G.   Amount Requested from MPU; in USD

H.   Your organization’s cost share contribution (10% of the amount requested from MPU) in USD.


II. Program Description – 5 Pages Maximum

A.   Description of project goals and objectives connected to MPU objectives

B.    Activities to achieve project goals

C.    Expected results, outcomes, outputs and project impact

D.   Monitoring and evaluation tools and indicators

E.    Timetable (monthly) that explains project logic and implementation

F.    Partners

G.   Organizational background – two paragraphs maximum


III. Budget – Excel Format – Must Use Attached Template


The budget should describe major expense categories that show clear cost-effectiveness. The suggested cost share should be no less than 10 percent of the requested sum of the grantJustification for each cost (budget line) should be inserted to the right of the tab


IV. Capacity and Previous Experience in Project Implementation – No More Than One Page:

A.   Business or Project Management Experience

B.    Previous Grants Received

Internews encourages newly established organizations to submit proposals. If your organization is new to media project implementation, please refer to other relevant projects you have carried out, indicating the competence of primary employees and consultants to be responsible for implementing the proposed project.


Deadline: Project proposals, in both English and Ukrainian, marked “Quality Investigative Reporting” to be submitted no later than Monday February 15, 18:00 (Kyiv time).


Proposals should be sent electronically to 


Telephone enquires can be made on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2pm to 4pm at these numbers: 067-119-81-73; 067-341-42-46.


Proposal Evaluation


Proposals which do not correspond to MPU’s priority activities and requirements will not be considered.

A jury of independent experts will evaluate all proposals, compile a short list and select the winners. Please note, that only shortlisted and winning applicants will be contacted.


Internews may contact an applicant organization if any additional information regarding the submitted proposal is required.

Please note, the project consideration process can take one calendar month.

All awards are subject to available funding and USAID approval.


Grant Selection Criteria

Each proposal will receive an appropriate number of points according to the following criteria:

1.     The proposal offers an innovative approach for achieving the Media Program in Ukraine’s priorities.

2.     The project can achieve expected results in the referenced period of time.

3.     Recommended types of activities make achieving expected results possible.

4.     The applicant demonstrates sufficient technical skills, experience and capacity to implement the proposed activities.

5.     The project budget is reasonable and cost effective.

6.     The cost share is no less than 10 percent of the requested amount.