The Heinrich Böll Foundation is pleased to invite a freelance journalist with at least five years’ experience and resident in South Africa to apply for a paid journalism fellowship on the from June 2017 – December 2017. The fellowship is linked to the Accounting for Basic Services project.

Project Back Ground

Accounting for Basic Services: tackling the inadequate use of resources by municipalities and building a rights-based approach to service delivery is a two-year project funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by Afesis-corplan, the Built Environment Support Group (BESG), Isandla Institute, Planact and the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF) Southern Africa Office. The project began in June 2016, and aims to strengthen community engagement with local government with the purpose of ensuring equitable, just and effective use of municipal funds.  The project is being implemented in the following communities:

  • Afesis-Corplan: Glenmore, Nqushwa Local Municipality and Chris Hani, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (Eastern Cape)
  • Planact: Masakhane, Emalahleni Local Municipality (Mpumalanga) and KwaZenzele, Lesedi Local Municipality (Gauteng)
  • BESG: Mpolweni, Umshwati Local Municipality and Kwa-Nxamlala Msunduzi Local Municipality (KwaZulu-Natal)

Planned project outputs include:

  • Members of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN) have tools and core capacities for empowering communities to effectively engage with municipalities, particularly on budget allocation and expenditure issues.
  • In six communities different groups have built unified leadership structures, forged alliances and strengthened mobilisation capacities.
  • Six communities have the tools to influence and monitor municipal finances and effectively engage in existing participation opportunities
  • Lessons & best practices that address inadequate use of local government resources are identified and discussed with representatives from all spheres, peer CSOs, chapter 9 and oversight institutions as well as the media. This output makes provision for a journalism fellowship and ongoing media work, both of which are linked to the broader project media & outreach strategy.

The project proposal specifies that:

  • National stakeholders and decision makers will be targeted in order to elevate the status of problems in specific communities, as well as receive information and knowledge built through the project.
  • The general public will be targeted in order to deepen understanding of local government challenges and possibilities of community interventions.
  • Similar communities across the country will be targeted for the purpose of sharing the six communities’ experiences and approaches.
  • Lastly, youth from marginalised communities will be targeted as a means to complement the outreach strategy to this target group.

The Fellowship

The fellowship is intended to allow a journalist to pursue an in-depth project of original research to be published in any medium. The research should be critical, independent and socially-engaged and in keeping with politically and socially relevant journalism.

Expected outputs

  1. Six news media products

The appointed fellow will develop six engaging, deeply reported articles, profiling the work of the ABS Project in the six selected communities. These pieces will include information on the priority issue selected by the community; the local government context, both socio-economic and political and, where possible, the capacity-building process facilitated by the project partners in their respective communities.

The partner organisations will, where possible, assist with the development of the articles through the provision of project produced findings or other relevant information. In addition, the project partners will assist with the development of these stories through a consultative process that includes interviews with community members participating in the project.  All six articles will be shared on social media platforms inclusive of the websites and the social media pages of the project partners.

  1. Time-frames and Dissemination strategy

Stories may be submitted for print or placed online at any time during the contract period. However, to ensure maximum impact of the public profiling of both the project as a whole and the work of the project partners, a dissemination strategy for all media products will be developed under this fellowship, supported by HBF. The purpose of this strategy is to ensure that the timing of the release of the pieces is aligned to project partners’ organizational calendars, as well as, municipal developments and community realities.

The fellow will commit to only submitting pieces for publication once these have been approved by project partners.

Remuneration: Fellows will receive a monthly stipend with additional financial support for travel and accommodation.

Please contact Thoko for more information: