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GRID-Arendal awards grants to investigative journalists working on various issues related to environmental crime. There is a pressing need to put environmental crime in the spotlight of international attention, and this is where investigative journalism can make a difference. The grant money is intended to support investigative journalists by covering costs related to an investigation (travel, document retrieval, interviews etc.).

In 2021, GRID-Arendal awarded four grants at 25,000 NOK each. Read about the eligibility criteria here and this year's winners.

The first grants were awarded in 2015, creating awareness on specific environmental crime issues through several stories posted in international media.

Bram Ebus wrote about illegal gold mining in Colombia, highlighting its devastating effects on the environment and local people. Parts of the rainforest were controlled by armed groups aiming to dominate the illegal gold trade worth 2.4 billion dollars. The consequences were devastating. Not only were waters polluted with mercury causing serious health problems for local residents, the same people were extorted by the armed groups and lacked realistic alternatives to mining to maintain their livelihoods. His story was published by Newsweek and Vice (Spanish).

David Njagi wrote about politicians granting companies permits to cut down trees in the protected areas of Mount Kenya National Park while simultaneously restricting the local population access to the forest. Not only was cutting down trees disturbing wildlife, it contributed to climate change and reduced the ability of the forest to replenish freshwater stocks supporting the livelihoods of local people. Efforts by civil society to shed light on the illegal activities were shut down by politicians accusing civil society groups of illegal activities, a common tactic used by Kenyan politicians to suppress criticisms coming from civil society. His story was published by Thomson Reuters Foundation and Mongabay.

GRID-Arendal restarted the grant programme in 2019. One story is still under production, while the other was published in early 2020. Eduardo Franco Berton wrote about illegal logging in the Bolivian Amazon, focusing on how the illegal logging businesses operates and how the activity is linked to other organized crimes. He documented how the wood was transported and how the illegal industry causes conflict and death in the regions they operate. His story was published by Mongabay in English, as well as in Spanish (1, 2) and Norwegian (1, 2) media outlets. His story was a finalist in the Latin American Investigative Journalism Award in November 2020.

GRID-Arendal will announce new award opportunities in the coming time. Subscribe to our news and social media to get notified when we announce new funding opportunities.

Tags: Africa Bolivia climate change forests Kenya Latin America mining mountains rainforests transboundary governance water wildlife Colombia chemicals toxics and heavy metals environmental crime

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