United Nations and Thomson Reuters Foundation announce joint fellowship in support of journalists in Least Developed Countries

London, New York, 29 August, 2021 – The 5th United Nations (UN) Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), taking place in Qatar next January, will be one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders in 2022. It aims to set a new and ambitious development agenda for the world’s most vulnerable countries, and decisions made could transform the lives of a billion of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) have announced the creation of a unique, new journalism fellowship in the lead-up to LDC5, which is designed to equip journalists from 46 of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) to report on the critical issues affecting the development of their home nations. 

The programme aims to develop a stronger discipline of development journalism throughout the LDCs so that people are aware of global decisions affecting their countries, can connect multilateral processes to their own lives and can hold decision makers to account. Thematic areas will cover development issues related to LDCs including, but not limited to, climate change, trade, women’s empowerment, poverty reduction, health, education and food security.

Courtenay Rattray, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), said: “One could know every development indicator from a country and yet not understand the full story. But just one good journalist can connect us viscerally to the real experiences of those who live there, shifting that knowledge to true understanding. The LDC5 journalism fellowship is about supporting journalists to tell the stories we so desperately need to know, so that together we can help solve some of the world’s most pressing development challenges – stories about the struggles and triumphs of people and nations in the world’s most vulnerable nations.”

“The Thomson Reuters Foundation is proud to be using its decades of experience training journalists around the world to better equip those reporting from the world’s Least Developed Countries to bring important stories to their audiences. We believe that the media is a crucial pillar of any free, fair and informed society. We hope that this innovative fellowship will contribute to strengthening media ecosystems in the forty-six countries we are reaching through this partnership with UN-OHRLLS,” said Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

The intensive journalism training programme will be delivered on Zoom to four groups over six days. After completing the virtual sessions, the forty-six journalists receiving the training will travel to Doha in January 2022 to attend a two-day, in-person refresher course and cover the LDC5 conference, with guidance from TRF trainers throughout the event. 

One outstanding fellow will be selected for a fully funded, six-month fellowship in the autumn of 2022 at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, which receives core funding from the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

Applications are open now until the 17th of October 2021. For more information on the programme, eligibility criteria and how to apply, please click here. 

  • 15 - 26 November 2021 Group C (in English): Mozambique, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Comoros, Madagascar and Tanzania; 
  • 29 Nov - 10 Dec 2021 Group A (in French): Haiti, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Guinea, Burundi, Djibouti, Senegal, Benin, Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo; 
  • 29 Nov - 10 Dec 2021 Group D (in English) Afghanistan, Yemen, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Kiribati, Bhutan, Lao PDR and Nepal; 
  • 30 Nov - 16 Dec 2021 Group B (in English) Central African Republic, Guiné-Bissau, Liberia, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Rwanda, Gambia, São Tomé e Príncipe and Sierra Leone.