APPLY: 2022 Bertha Foundation Challenge Fellowship For Activists & Journalists

Bertha Foundation is excited to launch the next Bertha Challenge: an opportunity for activists and investigative journalists to spend a year producing a body of work that responds to one pressing social justice challenge. 

At Bertha we know that many activists and investigative journalists are already doing groundbreaking work to investigate, amplify their work and connect with each other.

The Bertha Challenge aims to support this by providing time to work exclusively on a focused project, the spaces in which to connect with a diverse global cohort of Bertha Fellows and partners, and the resources to develop and deliver tangible products that speak directly to the Bertha Challenge question.


This is a full-time fellowship. Bertha Fellows will spend the majority of their time working in their home countries and be required to:

  • Attend in-person global convenings that take place at the beginning and end of the Bertha Challenge
  • Develop and deliver a culminating product that responds to the Bertha Challenge question
  • Participate in two virtual meetings per month, and occasionally facilitate these meetings
  • Develop local and global network relationships.

Bertha Challenge Culminating Product

It is important to find creative and scalable ways to expose and build wider awareness and critical thinking. The centerpiece of this fellowship program is the work Fellows will produce to communicate their Bertha Challenge findings. 

These products should first and foremost serve an identified target audience. For activists this might be supporters within their network, for investigative journalists it might be readers of their newspaper. We encourage applicants to be specific about the audience they intend to reach, and how they intend to do so.

We want Fellows to learn from each other’s work. In addition to delivering the final product to the target audience, all final products must be presented at the Bertha Challenge closing convening. Products presented must be open source and in English. If translation is needed, this cost must be included in the Fellow’s project budgets.

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Fellowship Requirements

Bertha endeavours to select an inclusive and representative cohort of Bertha Fellows that celebrates diversity.

Bertha Fellows will be selected on individual merit but also on their complementary skills to the cohort, their existing and/or proposed networks and prospects for long-term impact of their work.

Applicants may come from and work in any country, but to ensure that this cohort of Bertha Fellows is able to be fully participatory, we require all applicants to be proficient in spoken and written English and able to deliver their final work in English.

Fellowship Duration and Reward

Our Fellowships offer:

Income for each Bertha Fellow for one year, not exceeding USD $62,400 and commensurate with the applicant’s current or equivalent salary at the host organization – ideally a media outlet for an investigative journalist and an NGO, community organization or social movement for an activist.

A Project Fund of up to USD $10,000 for each Bertha Fellow to produce a culminating product that responds to the question posed by the Bertha Challenge, and that is directed towards a specific audience. This could be, for example, a series of articles, videos, podcasts, games or drama productions. Activists and journalists working as a pair will have the option to pool their project funding to produce projects on a larger scale.

A Connect Fund of to USD $5,000 for each Bertha Fellow specifically designed to encourage collaboration between Fellows.

Regular online discussions with topics on a range of issues from current debates around water preservation to methods of investigation, methods of communicating findings through news media, storytelling, popular education and more.

Peer and mentor support in the form of regular virtual check-ins with Bertha staff and a cohort of Bertha Fellows. 

Network development through the global cohort of past and present Bertha Fellows and exposure to relevant partners within and beyond the Bertha network, including our legal partners in the Bertha Justice Network, many of whom are at the forefront of creating legal strategies to address the climate crisis.

Global convenings of Bertha Fellows and selected guests at the start (January 2022) and end (December 2022) of the Bertha Challenge. 

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Method of Application

Guidelines on how project budgets can be spent are included in the MoU. Click here to view.

If you are invited to interview, you will be asked to deliver a short presentation on your proposed project.

Application Requirements

All applicants must submit:

  • A completed online application form
  • A brief resume/CV in English of no more than three pages
  • A list of 2-4 referees including name, relationship to applicant and contact details
  • A signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from your prospective host organization – including commensurate salary and any benefits provided.
  • Journalist applicants are also asked to submit examples of previously published work.

Deadline: July 3, 2021

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