APWLD Media Fellowship

APWLD’s media fellowship programme was launched in 2018 and is designed to strengthen our media advocacy on grassroots issues through a feminist lens. This fellowship is ideal for journalists deeply committed to covering feminist, progressive movements and challenging structural globalised inequalities. Through the course of six months our fellows will have an opportunity to build their capacity on issues pertaining to climate change, labour rights and land rights among others, meet and learn from our members and partners working on such issues and develop a plan on how to produce critical analysis on women’s human rights. Fellows will produce news articles, features, audio-video content and digital stories with a feminist lens that highlight the linkages between gender and the intersecting issues that affect women’s human rights and livelihoods.

Call for Applications: 2020 APWLD Media Fellowship

2020 Theme: Gendered Impact of COVID-19 on The Ground

Gendered Impact of COVID19 on the Ground

APWLD is inviting our media fellowship alumni to be a part of our 2020 media fellowship programme on ‘Gendered Impact of COVID-19 on the Ground’ that aims to shine a light on how the pandemic has affected women in all their diversities, gender-diverse individuals and marginalised communities. The fellowship will provide an opportunity for media fellows to dig deeper into the connection between government policies on health care and public safety, unjust use of laws, police and military forces during the lockdown, problematic economic revival plans, rising fundamentalisms and militarised response during COVID-19 pandemic, access to resources and patriarchal norms that further marginalise women and gender-diverse individuals. The media fellows will unpack how COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep structural inequalities between men and women, between genders, within countries and between countries. 

Why The Focus on Gendered Impact of COVID-19?

In Asia and the Pacific, most marginalised individuals, groups and communities are bearing the hardest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Women who depend on daily income are losing livelihoods across the region, facing increasing food insecurity and difficulties in accessing  public healthcare infrastructure due to lack of social protection and privatisation of public services. Public health systems across the region are under significant pressure, with many of them operating beyond capacity. Women healthcare workers are at a higher risk along with those in the service industry and  informal workforce. 

A trend seen across the region is that women and girls are facing increased burden of domestic responsibilities and unpaid care work in their homes and communities and patriarchal structures are being reinforced. At the same time, it has been reported that women and girls are also facing increased domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual abuse as a result of complying with social confinement measures.

The pandemic has revealed glaring social and economic inequalities and highlighted how the current system of neoliberal capitalism has failed to deliver peoples’ basic needs, including access to quality public healthcare and universal social protection. Many governments’ response to these multiple, intersecting crises is to ‘build back better’, sometimes at the cost of the enjoyment of human rights, environment and climate crisis. Dominant narrative still continues to put forward market based solutions rather than challenge the structural inequality that the pandemic has exposed. At the same time, measures adopted by governments in the region to deal with the pandemic have included militaristic and authoritarian responses with crackdown on peoples’ movements, attack on women human rights defenders, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial killings. Despite multiple challenges, women are at the forefront to support communities demanding a feminist, rights-based response to the pandemic. 

With this fellowship, we see an urgent need to strengthen the gender analysis and impact of COVID-19 by starting a conversation in mainstream and alternative media. The media fellows will highlight the challenges that women are facing and gender-responsive solutions that  work for them and other marginalised communities. The media fellows will also be expected to critically examine policies regarding ‘build back better’ and other development agenda that further exacerbates development, human rights and climate crises in the region.

How Will The Fellowship Work?

The selected media fellows will attend a 1-2 day online orientation and knowledge sharing session by APWLD where we will share our regional analysis on COVID-19. APWLD will also connect the media fellow to our grassroots members and women human rights defenders who are leading the feminist response to COVID-19. Media fellows will have the flexibility to highlight issues in their own or a neighbouring country in their sub-region (subject to the cross-border travel possibility) in their news stories. 

Media fellows will be given a small stipend to cover expenses for research, communications and possible travel (only if conditions are safe) according to workplans co-developed with APWLD. Collaborative proposals that produce regional or sub-regional media outputs will be given a preference. APWLD strongly encourages media fellows to reach out APWLD members they have worked together/covered previously. The duration of the fellowship will be 12 months, including six months for research and story development.

Fellowship Conditions

News Reporting Criteria

  • Media fellows can either work: 
    • A. Work independently and produce two news stories/features with a maximum budget of USD 1,000 as a longform piece (3,000 words or one podcast/radio package of 22-25 mins or one video upto 10-15 mins) and a short piece (1,000 words, one podcast of 12-15 minutes or a video upto 7-10 minutes); or 
    • B. They can work in a group to produce two longform investigative pieces of 3,000 words each or two podcasts/radio package of 22-25 mins or two video stories 10-15 mins each with a budget of USD 1,000 per applicant; or 
    • C. They can work in a group to produce one longform piece (one podcast 22-25 mins or one video 10-15 mins) and three short news stories of 1,000 words, radio packages/podcasts of 10-15 minutes  or video stories of 7-10 minutes with a budget of USD 1,000 per applicant.
  • Fellow journalists are expected to start publishing their news stories from April 2021 and finish no later than 31st August 2021 in mainstream or alternative news media outlets.
  • Media fellows are strongly encouraged to give credit/disclaimer that the news story was produced in support/collaboration with APWLD in the news media outlet where the story is published.
  • Media fellows may be unable to travel for their research purposes and are allowed to hire/work with local journalists to gather more information.

Publishing Criteria

  • Ideally, fellow journalists should submit letters from editors assuring their work will be published.
  • The pieces can be long features, advocacy-focused, data driven, or documentary style.
  • Media fellows are encouraged to secure additional funding from the media outlets that will publish their piece.

Other Criteria

  • The fellowship partners commit to be in close, regular communications with APWLD Secretariat throughout the fellowship period.
  • The media fellows are expected to actively engage with APWLD social media channels throughout the fellowship period to share updates about their stories.

APWLD’s Roles and Responsibilities

  • The fellowship partners will receive continuous support from APWLD Secretariat for shaping the articles and analysis.
  • Media fellows’ news stories will be featured on APWLD website, social media and other APWLD publications where we see fit.
  • APWLD has the right to feature the published news stories on our website,  social media and other publications, either as an excerpt or in complete form. 
  • APWLD will provide the fellowship partners a modest stipend (not more than US$1,000) to cover expenses for research, communications and possible travel according to workplans co-developed with APWLD.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • The fellowship is open to only former APWLD media fellows. 
  • Both independent and group proposals are acceptable. However, group proposals will be given a preference. In this case, the application should be made in the name of all co-applicants. 
  • Preference will be given to proposals that feature APWLD members and/or partners.
  • Proposals should have story angles that highlight the impact of COVID-19 on women and marginalised communities.
  • Applicants must be proficient in English and at least one language from Asia and the Pacific region.

Application Process

The applicants should submit an expression of interest with the following documents:

  1. Completed application form 
  2. Budget plan 
  3. Letter from editor assuring news stories will be published; Optional for freelance journalists but preferred 
  4. Two work samples of any medium


The duration of the fellowship will be from October 2020 – September 2021 

  • 6th October 2020 – 26th October – Call for applications
  • By 2nd Week of November – Shortlist and Finalise Applicants
  • December 2020 – Virtual Workshop 
  • April 2021 – Publishing first news story 
  • August 2021 – Publishing remaining news stories 
  • September 2021- Narrative and budget report
  • October 2021- Fellowship ends with a reflection meeting

Please send completed forms via email with the subject line “Application for APWLD Media Fellowship 2020” to Rachitaa Gupta at rachitaa@apwld.org and cc neha@apwld.org , by no later than Monday, 26th October 2020, midnight Bangkok time.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be entertained.

2019 Theme – Feminist Development Justice

A political economic system that prioritises profit over human development has resulted in a global order in which the extreme wealth of a few individuals (who are mostly men) depends on unstable and often dangerous work by the poor, majority of whom are mostly women, bearing the heaviest burden of informal and precarious work. This deeply inequitable global architecture calls for a transformation, one based on the international principle of solidarity and the obligation to create a social and international order in which the right to development of all persons, especially of rural, indigenous, migrant, urban poor women, women farmers and women workers, can be realised.

It is in this light that APWLD and civil society in the region have advocated for a transformative and redistributive development framework that departs from the currently dominant market-driven development architecture. Feminist Development Justice is a transformative development architecture that aims to reduce inequalities of wealth, power, and resources between countries, between rich and poor, and between men and women. Further, this framework is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and  people’s right to development; embraces a holistic rights-based approach; is grounded in international human rights obligations and peoples’ sovereignty; and ensures that the human rights principles of universality, equality, non-discrimination, non-retrogression, inclusive participation and decision-making, underpin its policies and practices. Such an approach ensures that the most marginalised both benefit from development and become active agents of change.

With this fellowship, we want to challenge the generally accepted market-driven development architecture in both mainstream and alternative media, setting the stage for Feminist Development Justice as an alternative.

2018 Theme – Climate Justice

Impacts of climate change affect the poorest countries the most, given their lack of capacity to prepare for and cope with the impacts of climate change. Among developing countries, men and women don’t experience in the same way impacts of climate change. First because women constitute the majority of the world’s poor, and also because of the fact that the climate change itself is a result of deliberate political and economic policies that are deeply patriarchal. Research shows that women are the worst impacted by climate change. For instance, they are exposed to increased risks because of their primary role in care work and agricultural production and because climate change is increasing the burden of water and food collection, which usually falls on women.

With this fellowship, we see a severe need to strengthen the gender analysis, and aim to start a conversation in mainstream and alternative media, setting a context for feminist, fossil fuel free futures as a driver for just and equitable transitions for climate justice. There is an urgency in communicating the possibility of having climate just future in the deadlock of negotiations where countries and private sector still work on the lines of ‘development’ agenda in the linear economic models.