Call for Applications for Activists and Investigative Journalists in the Bertha Challenge Fellowship 2021

Are you an activist or investigative journalist?

Then Apply to participate in the Bertha Challenge Fellowship 2021 where you are provided with income for a whole year, alongside mentorship and support.

Application Deadline: July 3 2021


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  • Income for each Bertha Fellow for one year
  • A Project Fund for each Bertha Fellow to produce a culminating product that responds to the question posed by the Bertha Challenge
  • A Connect Fund specifically designed to encourage collaboration between Fellows
  • Peer and mentor support in the form of regular virtual check-ins with Bertha staff and a cohort of Bertha Fellows
  • Global convenings of Bertha Fellows at the start and end of the Bertha Challenge.


  • 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.

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Application Instructions

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.


Host Organizations

Fellowship applicants are required to secure a host organization in their home country to receive and administer the Fellowship award and Project Funds. Host organizations must be legally structured to receive grant funding and be able to process payroll. Host organizations must share a commitment to the Bertha Challenge objectives and conditions, and commit to publishing/broadcasting Fellows’ work optimally throughout the year. 

For an investigative journalist, the host organization should be a media outlet with the capacity to distribute/publish work delivered by the Fellow. For an activist, the host organization should be an NGO, community organization or social movement.

The Bertha Fellow’s salary must not exceed USD $62,400 and must be commensurate with the current or equivalent salary of the applicant at the host organization. This is to avoid creating disparity at the host organization. The host organization will be expected to make arrangements regarding tax, healthcare and other benefits, the cost of which will be allocated from within the Fellowship award. Bertha will make a contribution of 15% of the Fellowship award to cover the costs of administering the Fellowship and supporting the Fellow. A table is provided within the MoU to assist applicants in calculating the Fellowship award.  

Bertha Foundation will not interfere with the editorial autonomy of the host organization during the course of the Bertha Challenge.

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.

About the Bertha Challenge Fellowship

Bertha Challenge Fellowship

The Bertha Challenge is an opportunity for activists and investigative journalists to spend a year focussing on one pressing social justice issue.

Successful applicants receive a non-residential paid fellowship and a project budget to work independently and together to: Investigate the causes of and solutions to the annual Bertha Challenge question Amplify their findings to a wider targeted audience Connect with diverse stakeholders for information, support and sustainable impact.

At Bertha we know that many activists and investigative journalists are already doing ground-breaking work to investigate social justice issues, to amplify their work and to connect with audiences. The Bertha Challenge aims to support this by providing time to work exclusively on projects, the spaces in which to connect with a diverse global cohort of Bertha Fellows, and the resources to develop tangible products speaking directly to the Challenge question.

Key Dates and Order of Program

Applications open on 17 May 2021 and close on 3 July 2021.

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Emmanuella Igomu is a content writer at Camberene. She is a communication enthusiast currently studying Mass communication, where she majors in Public Relations and Advertising. Emmanuella sometimes doubles as a brand promoter/online marketer and hopes to intern in a public relations/advertising agency or online marketing department in the near future.

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