Reporting grants

Reporting Grant 2020

Fellow journalists,

Do you have a story that needs to be told? You’ve come to the right place. zenith magazine is announcing in partnership with Candid Foundation a new stipend program, supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. We are calling for stories to be pitched that demonstrate a clear connection to one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. There are no limitations regarding the subject of your story, but your pitch will be evaluated with the following criteria in mind:

  1. The topic is urgent, underreported and of importance to a wider audience
  2. Our jury must be satisfied that candidates can deliver their story
  3. The ethics of good journalism must not be violated

Additionally, we require all potential grantees to provide written and audio documentation of their research for the story. This is not only to verify key elements of the story, but also so that this research material can be used as the basis for a podcast to showcase how journalistic work can be undertaken.

Eligible are only journalists from the following countries:

Syria | Algeria | Egypt | Iraq | Jordan | Lebanon | Libya | Morocco | Palestinian Territories | Tunisia | Yemen

We are looking for a candidates with several years of professional experience, a track record in investigative journalism and a proven history of well-researched publications. Both freelancers and colleagues on fixed contracts are invited to apply. You have to be at least 18 years old and we strongly encourage female journalists to submit an application.

We will award 20 stipends in total, each of which is worth 3,500 EUR. Every candidate will need to provide evidence of what they intend to spend the money on. Journalists can apply as individuals or in a collaboration partnership, in which case the lump sum will be split between the two candidates.

The application phase ran from 16 February until 14 March 2020 and is now closed. Within a reasonable timeframe, our jury will then decide which candidate will be awarded a stipend.

 You have questions? Check out our FAQ


Applications can be submitted from 16 February until 14 March 2020 – as we extended the deadline by two weeks. After a reasonable amount of time as elapsed following the submission deadline, our jury will decide which candidate will be awarded a stipend. We will then inform the winners. Given the large volume of applications we expect to receive, we would kindly ask applicants to please refrain from contacting us regarding the status of their applications as we will not be able to respond.
Any journalist who is above the age of 18 and comes from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen is eligible to apply for a grant. Both journalists on fixed-term contracts and freelancers can apply. However, our ideal candidate would be somebody with a proven track record of producing excellent work that has satisfied the highest journalist standards. We strongly encourage female and non-binary journalists to apply.
We are looking for in-depth reporting that tackles fundamental issues that newsrooms usually struggle to fund. Each story has to demonstrate a clear connection to one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). All 17 SDGs can be found here: We value stories that resonate beyond national boundaries, and that take on a meaning for regional or even global audiences. All final texts will be translated from Arabic to either English, French or German and then made available to prominent European media outlets, which will increase the impact of the reporting.
Not necessarily. We encourage applications with stories in all of the following formats: audio, visual, photographic, multimedia, and written.
Each grant is worth up to €3,500, which will be paid in two instalments: 50% upfront, 50% percent after the project has been completed. On top of these funds, we offer each successful applicant guidance and mentoring throughout the entire process of research until final publication. We will also use the research material as a basis for podcasts which will detail the grantees’ journey. This will guarantee that the stories of the successful applicants will reach an even wider audience.
Yes, we do accept applications from teams. Teams are required to provide the details of each individual team member in the application process and must decide on which team member will head the team and serve as the main point of contact.
Our jury consist of a diverse range of highly-skilled and experienced journalists from both the MENA region and Europe, you can find their profiles when scrolling to the bottom of this page.
Each grant we offer is worth up to €3,500 Euro. We require each applicant to provide a list of what specifically the funds will be spent on. This can include but is not limited to: accommodation, travel expenses, rental cars, visa fees, and hiring fees for local fixers or stringers. However, with the exception of an audio recording device to record audio for the podcast production, we do not fund the purchase of technical equipment. Freelance reporters are strongly encouraged to add their salary to the list of expenses.
You can send an email to We would kindly ask if prospective applicants only contact us after having thoroughly read both this Q&A and the grant announcement.
We strongly prefer all stories to be written in Arabic, as the intention of the grant program is to strengthen journalism that is targeting an Arabic-speaking audience. However, if you feel more comfortable writing in English, French or German we might consider your pitch depending on the potential impact of your reporting.


Daniel Gerlach (Germany)

Daniel Gerlach is the editor-in-chief of zenith magazine and director general of the Candid Foundation in Berlin, Germany. Gerlach is an author and frequent media contributor who has also written and directed numerous documentaries on the Middle East. He also heads the research and consulting group zenithCouncil.

Rawan Damen (Jordan)

Rawan Damen is the director general of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) and based in Amman, Jordan. Damen is a journalist, filmmaker and media consultant with over 20 years of experience. She specialises in media coaching and management as well as TV and digital production.

Haythem El Mekki (Tunisia)

Haythem El Mekki is a blogger and television journalist from Tunisia. El Mekki hosts a daily radio show on Mosaique FM, which has a substantial following throughout the country. He has also contributed to several international media outlets.

Lina Sinjab (Syria)

Lina Sinjab is a writer, journalist and filmmaker who has covered the Middle East for over a decade. She currently serves as the BBC Middle East Correspondent in Beirut. She was previously the BBC World Service’s Arab Affairs Editor, and has reported extensively on the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Fatemah Farag (Egypt)

Fatemah Farag is a media educator and founding director of Welad Elbalad, a network of local news outlets across Egypt. She is also the MENA Director for WAN-IFRA’s Women in News Program. Farag was previously the founding editor-in-chief of Al-Masry Al-Youm’s English edition.