Call for Applications: United Nations Foundation Polio Press Fellowship for Individual Reporting

November 29, 2023


Megan Rabbitt

The United Nations Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2024 Polio Press Fellowship for Individual Reporting. This fellowship is geared towards journalists interested in reporting stories on polio eradication throughout the world. Selected fellows will participate in a virtual polio training session and receive funding to travel to a country at the forefront of the polio eradication effort to gather stories and interviews from health care workers, community members, families, and health authorities. Preference will be given to reporters interested in traveling to the following high-priority countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Mozambique, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

Polio is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects children under the age of five and can cause paralysis and even death. Due to comprehensive eradication efforts, including an effective vaccine, global detection and reporting networks, robust government investment, and dedicated health workers, polio cases have decreased dramatically worldwide – down more than 99% since 1988 – and global polio eradication is within sight. The goal of this fellowship is to provide professional journalists with the means to travel to areas affected by polio and gather stories to raise global awareness about the importance of polio eradication work as well as the ways in which polio infrastructure can contribute to broader health goals.

Interested reporters are asked to submit an application including a project proposal and budget. To submit your project proposal, please visit our application page. Applications should reflect each journalist’s unique interest in polio eradication and may involve themes such as: advancements in polio vaccination and surveillance; polio eradication as a part of health security; how polio programming is contributing to broader health goals; the relationship between gender and polio; and polio eradication in complex environments and remote areas.

We will consider projects across all media platforms (including print, photography, audio, and video) for publication by one or more news outlets. This fellowship cannot be used to fund books, feature-length films, or works of fiction or to purchase equipment. Applicants are expected to demonstrate adequate experience producing similar news content and the necessary connections to ensure publication by a reputable global or national outlet. We are committed to supporting journalists from diverse backgrounds and of all nationalities.

Funding for this press fellowship was made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Up to $10,000 will be awarded to up to six fellows to cover reporting costs. Applicants must include a budget proposal with a cost breakdown for transportation, accommodation, and other travel expenses in their application. Please also note that any fellow will need to be able to agree to any UN Foundation agreement terms regarding the project and fund expenditures.

Applications must be submitted by January 1, 2024. Selected fellows will be notified in January. Reporting trips should be completed by July 2024.

If you have any questions, please contact