Twelve projects have been awarded funding under the summer 2016 round of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. The funded journalists will travel to 10 countries to report on themes such as education, human rights, technology and climate change.
Details of the successful applicants to the summer 2016 round of the main scheme are as follows:
• Marcelo Biglia has been awarded funds to travel to Morocco to report on young Moroccan rapper, Youssra Oukaf, popularly known by her stage-name, Soultana. Marcelo will report on how Soultana uses rap as a spotlight on societal and political discrimination against women, as well as pervasive poverty and gendered lack of access to education in Morocco. Through photography, a short video piece, an article and photo exhibition, this project will be a portal into the daily life and performances of Soultana, as she faces both criticism and support for her work and music. Marcelo’s work will be published through Broadsheet, with an exhibition at FilmBase Gallery.
• Laurence Boland has been funded to produce a photo-essay from the 56,000 acres of Loisaba Conservancy in central Kenya. These are managed sustainably to conserve wildlife habitat and benefit local communities through jobs in ecotourism, improved schools, healthcare clinics, and managed grazing access. His project will show how the programme at Loisaba is making it a self-sustaining model for a peaceful community development and wildlife conservation. Lar’s photo-essay will be published by the The Irish Times.
• Ruairi Casey has been awarded funding to report what on life is like for young refugees living in the Kakuma refugee camp in north west Kenya. Ruairi will speak with young people of various ages who have spent most of their lives in a camp that was established as a temporary sanctuary more than 20 years ago. His project will be featured in The Irish Times.
• RTÉ journalist Will Goodbody has been awarded funding to travel to Kenya. In 2013, Kenya’s now president made an election promise that every child starting school would get a laptop. However, the scheme isn’t without critics, who point to the absence of electricity, furniture, text books or enough teachers in many Kenyan schools. Will’s project will explore the pros and cons of this initiative, to see whether it’s a model that would be worthwhile replicating elsewhere in the developing world.
• Daire Higgins has been awarded funding to report from Myanmar. Myanmar has gone from having very little connectivity to the outside world to having some of the fastest growing mobile connectivity in history. This project aims to investigate what it means for a society to go from total censorship to relative openness in a short period of time and what happens when the vast majority of a population suddenly has access to information through a cell phone. Her work will be published in The Irish Times.
• George Lee has been awarded funding to travel to The Marshall Islands. His project will look at climate change and its effect on lives and livelihoods in developing countries. George will meet people considered most likely to be among the world’s first environmental refugees. His reports will be broadcast by RTÉ.
• Irish Examiner journalist Elaine Loughlin has been awarded funding to travel to Zambia to examine the political landscape in the aftermath of a general election to elect the President and National Assembly.
• Erin McGuire has been funded to travel to Nepal. Her project will explore the practice of chaupadi (a social tradition which prohibits Hindu women from participating in family activities during menstruation because they are considered to be impure) in Nepal and its impact on women’s education, health, wellbeing and equality. Her work will be published in The Irish Times.
• Dylan Mundy-Clowry has received funding to travel to Tanzania. His project will explore the success of educational programmes in the country. Dylan will report on how the Young Scientist Tanzania initiative has encouraged young people to engage on a practical level in science for development as a tool for eliminating the barriers that hinder development. Dylan’s work will be published by thejournal.ie.
• Darragh Peter Murphy has been funded to report from Vietnam on the OpSmile project. Huge areas of Vietnam remain affected by Agent Orange, the chemical sprayed across swathes of the country by the United States military in the 1970s during the Vietnam War as an act of herbicidal warfare. This project will look into the work of OpSmile, which brings western medics – among them Irish medics – to carry out corrective facial surgery on people affected by the chemical. Darragh will also examine how Vietnamese civil society organisations and other non-governmental organisations, including ActionAid and Care International, are helping to alleviate their suffering. His work will be published by The Irish Times.
• Joseph O’Connor and Paul Loughran have been awarded funds to travel to Sri Lanka. Their project will centre on how music is being used there to promote reconciliation between the two sides involved in the civil war that ended in 2009. Their work will be published by a number of outlets including the The Irish Times and Near FM. They will also produce an exhibition for DCU Library.
• Michael Shiels McNamee has received funding to travel to Nicaragua to report on the emergence of women in the workplace and in public life in a country where machismo attitudes are still a major force in society. Michael’s work will published by the thejournal.ie.