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Code for Africa announced its launching a $500,000 fund to offer technical support to Investigative and Data Journalism initiative dubbed impactAFRICA. Code for Africa is the first data-driven investigative journalism initiative operating in Africa.

The impactAFRICA fund will go towards supporting pioneering data journalism that focuses on development issues in public healthcare systems. The funds will be available to such journalism activities in these six countries in Africa; Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.

Haji Mohammed Dawjee, the Manager at impactAFRICA, said, “We will help newsrooms use data and digital tools to produce the type of hard-hitting reportage and compelling storytelling that shapes public discourse and gets the attention of policymakers. This isn’t just journalism for the sake of journalism; we’re looking to change lives.”

impactAFRICA currently has first four calls for applications, which began on January 18. The deadline for submissions to these first four calls for applications is April 15.

On the first call for application, impactAFRICA will give successful applicants the technical and material support to the top 10 projects that will be shortlisted from the applications. Additionally, it will award the top three applicants with cash prizes given they demonstrate high potentials regarding; the best investigative report, the best service journalism project, and the best data-driven story.

Journalists wishing to take part in this competition need to focus their reporting on in-depth reporting of the often hidden, neglected or under-reported issues on health and development. The featured stories should be told in a compelling manner, told with originality and leverage on digital technology to have a greater audience engagement. It should also leverage on data and personalize or localize the stories to have the maximum impact.

Justin Arenstein, the CfAfrica founding director, said, “The digital revolution has changed what people expect from news. No one wants to be force-fed news about ‘big issues’ anymore. The public is also tired of fearmongering. Instead, people want to be empowered by the news. They want to understand how news affects them personally, and they want to know how to use any insights they get from the news to do something tangible. Technology enables us to help newsrooms meet these expectations.”

Before journalists can apply their submissions for consideration, impactAFRICA wants to take them through intensive skills program to better prepare them. The program will include a series of webinars and an online StoryClinic where international experts and mentors will assist the journalist in brainstorming on the best way to use technology to reach the masses.

To apply for the impactAFRICA program, click here.

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