Current status: impactAFRICA has now closed applications for round three

  • Published: January 30th, 2017

Thirteen investigative data journalism projects that tackle African development challenges will jointly receive USD 150,000 in reporting grants along with additional editorial and technology support as part of impactAFRICA’s second cohort of grantees.

The projects, in six African countries, will tackle a variety of data-driven investigations from the experience of mental illness in Nigeria to the unreported practice of ritual and sexual servitude forced on women in Ghana.

“The investigative stories for this round are powerful investigations that reveal the plight and challenges African citizens face. By supporting the production of these kinds of stories, we hope to assist journalists in changing lives” says impactAFRICA programme manager Haji Mohamed Dawjee.

impactAFRICA is the continent’s largest fund for data-driven investigative storytelling, offering $500,000 in cash grants and technology support, along with editorial mentorship, across a series of funding rounds for pioneering journalism that uses data or digital tools to tackle development issues such as public healthcare, water, sanitation, the effects of air and water pollution on African communities, climate change and its effects on farming communities and food baskets, and other development issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

An independent jury helped select the final twelve winners from 40 shortlisted semi-finalists from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The jury was composed of a mix of African and global media experts, including award-winning data journalist and ICFJ Knight Fellow, Jacopo Ottaviani, Yinka Adegoke (Editor of Quartz Africa), Catherine Gicheru (ICFJ Knight Fellow in Kenya and a veteran editor in Kenya), and Omar Mohammed (ICFJ Knight Fellow in Tanzania, and previously an Africa reporter for Quartz).

The winning projects are:

  1. The Cost of Mental Illness: Highlighting the plight of people with mental illness in Nigeria and scrutinising government spending on treatment (Ogechi Ekeanyanwu for The Cable, Nigeria)
  2. Investigation Trokosi in Ghana: A multimedia storytelling project dedicated to investigating the underreported issue of women and girls subjected to ritual and sexual servitude (Angela Robson for BBC World Service, Ghana)
  3. Foreign Aid Failure: A participatory journalism project offering Kenyans the opportunity to report foreign aid that has failed communities (Peter DiCampo for Capital FM and Echo Mobile in Kenya)
  4. Wilting in Bloom: The impact of poor wages on the women flower farmers in Kenya (Patrick Kibet Rono for The Standard Group in Kenya)
  5. Wasting the Land: Nigeria has amassed a $22 billion food import bill while over 50 million hectares of land wastes away (Kunle Falayi for PunchNigeria in Nigeria)
  6. Capturing the Cacao Farms of Ghana: A story that investigates how illegal miners are stealing cacao farms through forced entry (Basiru Adam for Business & Financial Times in Ghana)
  7. The Scale of Rape in South Africa: Documenting the scale of rape through self-collected data and campaigning journalism to motivate for specific policy changes across clinics and police stations in South Africa (Vinayak Bhardwaj for Health-e-News in South Africa)
  8. When the Mad Manager is Angry: An exploration of mental health care in Ghana (Mark Boye for Ghanaweb in Ghana)
  9. Kaduna Village: Chemical Waste & Rising Infertility (Misbahu Bashir for The Daily Trust Newspaper in Nigeria)
  10. Chokers: Getting a grip on counterfeit medication (Stellar Murumba for Business Daily Africa in Kenya)
  11. The Profit of Pollution (Kihu Irimu for in Kenya)
  12. Eating Infected Meat (Kikiope Oluwarore for The Cable in Nigeria)
  13. Shortage of Family Planning Facilities in Tanzania (Abdallah Bakari for Maishani Fursa in Tanzania)

The winners will each receive a cash grant of up to USD 20,000 (depending on the project requirements), as well as support from Code for Africa’s technology and data journalism laboratories across the continent. The African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) will also help winners syndicate the resulting digital stories into a range of leading African and wider world media.

CfAfrica manages impactAFRICA, in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). Arenstein founded CfAfrica in 2012 as an ICFJ initiative and continues to manage it as part of an ICFJ Knight Fellowship. A consortium of donors led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and including the World Bank is funding impactAFRICA.

The best of the eight winning stories will be selected for additional prizes, after publication, in recognition of the best investigative report, the best data-driven story and the best service journalism project.

The partners

Code for Africa (CfAfrica) is the custodian of impactAFRICA and is the continent’s largest independent open data and civic technology initiative. It operates as a federation of autonomous country-based digital innovation organisations that support ‘citizen labs’ in five countries and major projects in a further 15 countries. CfAfrica runs Africa’s OpenGov Fellowships and also embeds innovation fellows into newsrooms and social justice organisations to help liberate data of public interest, or to build tools that help empower citizens. In addition to fellowships and CitizenLabs, CfAfrica runs the $1 million per year innovateAFRICA fund and the $500,000 per year impactAFRICA fund, which both award seed grants to civic pioneers for experiments with everything from camera drones and environmental sensors, to encryption for whistleblowers and data-driven semantic analysis tools for investigative watchdogs. CfAfrica also curates continental resources such as the africanSPENDING portal of budget transparency resources, the openAFRICA data portal, the sourceAFRICA document repository and the connectedAFRICA transparency toolkit for tracking the often hidden social networks and economic interests in politics. CfAfrica is an initiative of the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is at the forefront of the news revolution. Its programmes empower journalists and engage citizens with new technologies and best practices. ICFJ’s networks of reporters and media entrepreneurs are transforming the field. ICFJ believes that better journalism leads to better lives. Over the past 30 years, ICFJ has worked with more than 92,000 professional and citizen journalists and media managers from 180 countries. ICFJ work through strong local partners, such as Code for Africa, and a network of dedicated alumni. For more information, go to

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