Call for Applications: The benefits and pitfalls of generating power from waterways in the Nile basin

Call for Applications

InfoNile invites journalists in the Nile basin to submit proposals for investigative multimedia journalism stories on the benefits and pitfalls of generating power from waterways in the Nile basin.

Background and Context

Thousands of dams are planned to be constructed worldwide in the coming years, some of these are in the Nile basin. Dams are a source of renewable electricity but at the same time contentious due to their effects on the environment and communities where they are constructed.  . In the Nile Basin, they have existed since 2700 BC.  

The Nile Basin Initiative reports that the hydropower potential in the Nile Basin is more than 20 gigawatts and the existing facilities in the Nile Basin only use about 26 percent of potential capacity.  At the same time, as populations are growing, projections of power demand for 2035 in the Nile Basin countries indicate an increase of 300 percent and higher than present demand.

Whereas dams promise an increase in energy supply, economic development, employment, flood control and irrigation, they also pose a threat to fragile ecosystems, displace people, increase floods, contribute to climate change and can also lead to loss of employment. 

Possible questions to consider for the story:

– Have expectations for building the dam/s from the community, from the government, funders, developers been met?

– What were the expected and unexpected impacts of the dam/s and how are they being managed? Were the promised mitigation measures for the impacts delivered?

-What lessons have been learned from previous dam projects?

-Are dams really clean energy? Is it always a trade-off between conservation and energy, or are there models of hydroelectric dams that also support ecosystems?

-Are dams actually delivering promised benefits or are they simply monumental symbolism/ national icons?

-What is the impact of climate change on the dam? How is the dam impacting or helping the country/ies adapt to climate change and related disasters?

Dam finance and politics:

-How do dams impact transboundary hydropolitics? Are there working models in the Nile Basin?

-What are the motivations and processes of international dam financers?

-Are states investing in building capacity to plan and manage dams locally? Are the selection of design, construction, and management firms linked to geo-political alignment?

-How do subnational, national, regional and international politics affect the building and filling of dams? 

How to apply 

You can apply as an individual, but collaborations – especially cross-border collaborations with journalists from different countries working together – are highly encouraged and will be prioritized. If you are applying in a collaboration, please submit only one email application with documents from all team members attached.

Please submit the following to not later than Friday 17th September 2021.

-A one page proposal outlining your story idea. Proposals should be clearly structured, stating briefly at the outset what the story idea is, followed by how and where the story will be researched, what it aims to reveal or contribute, where you will publish (specific media organization/s), and the intended impact of the story. The proposal should also include a plan for incorporating data. Please note how you will use multimedia (video, photos, audio, and graphics along with text). You should also include a budget of not more than 1000 USD.

-A resumé/CV;

-Two samples of published/broadcast work. Links to the published stories are preferred.

-Letter of support from your editor/s, stating that your media house/s will publish / telecast/broadcast your story and the subsequent final project that will feature all stories published as part of this project such as our recently completed Pandemic Poachers story.

Your story pitch should also contain a plan to integrate data analysis and visualization of HydroElectric Power Dams on different sectors or topics relevant to your story; i.e. energy, agriculture, economy, food security, water, land, disasters, health, livelihoods, etc. “Geo-coded” or geographical data is the most preferred since we will use it to create interactive maps and visualizations. However, please feel free to integrate any other sources of credible data.

The output should be an in-depth multimedia story incorporating text, video, photography, audio and data visualization/mapping. It can also be published on radio, TV and print publications.

This project is supported by JRS Biodiversity Foundation