Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Media projects which promote a positive image of Africa or which deal with climate change will be prioritised in this year’s Simon Cumbers Media Fund. Details of the 2012 funding rounds were announced today at the Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre in Dublin.

The Simon Cumbers Media Fund was established by Irish Aid to raise public understanding of global development issues by increasing quality media coverage of the developing world. It was named in memory of Irish journalist Simon Cumbers, who was killed in Saudi Arabia while working with the BBC in 2004.

Under the fund, journalists are invited to submit proposals for coverage of a development issue, which involves travel to a developing country. The deadline for the 2012 summer round of funding is Friday, 4th May.

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD said: ‘The time is ripe for all of us to take a fresh look at Africa. While we will not ignore the challenges that exist, it is important that we hear the stories of hope, enterprise, good governance and sound development policies that are reshaping the continent. The media has a key role to play in this effort.

‘Africa is a dynamic and vibrant continent, where growth rates in many countries reached seven per cent over the last five years. While it is important to recognise that much of this growth is from a low base – and that it is unevenly spread – it is clear that Africa is emerging as the continent of the future. I think the Irish public would like to hear more of the progress that is being achieved by governments and communities in the developing world, often working in partnership with donors including Ireland,’ he said.

Minister Costello set out the themes that will be favoured by the judges of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund in the forthcoming summer round: ‘In addition to challenging stereotypes of Africa, judges will favour projects which deal with climate change. This is one of the biggest challenges facing the world right now. Climate change particularly threatens the lives and livelihoods of the poorest people in the world’s least developed countries.

‘If the world does not take action, then many of the precious gains we have built together over the last decades are in danger of being lost. Without urgent action, an additional 90 million people could be driven into extreme poverty by 2050. The media’s role in highlighting the impact of climate change is vital in supporting governments, NGOs and local communities to raise awareness and drive action to tackle climate change.’

Under the Simon Cumbers Media Fund, journalists whose applications are successful are supported with travel, accommodation and ancillary costs associated with travelling abroad to report on development issues. The Fund invites applicants from all media disciplines, including news, features, sport, business and lifestyle. It also welcomes applications from across media platforms, including print, broadcast, online and photography, or a combination of platforms.

Full details on how to apply to the Fund are available at:


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