Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Media Fellowship 2018 for Southern Africa Journalists (Fully Funded)

Application Deadline: May 16th 2018

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters and exclusion from healthcare in more than 65 countries.

For the first time, MSF Southern Africa and MSF India are inviting applications for the “MSF Media Fellowship”. The fellowship will fully fund reporting assignments for one South African journalist who can demonstrate the potential for incisive and original reporting.

The MSF Media Fellowship aims at building or strengthening rapport with the media stakeholders in South Africa and to promote a greater practical understanding of issues surrounding access to essential medicines related to ongoing reforms in intellectual property legislation.  It also provides journalists access to MSF field projects locally and internationally as well as research and civil society partners for a deeper understanding of the issues.

The fellowship programme provides support for a fellow to research and visit MSF projects in India for three weeks and spend another week upon return to South Africa to produce a minimum of three features in their medium of publication or transmission.

The fellowship programme will cover international and local travel costs, accommodation, interpreters, daily support expenses as well as production costs. The funds will either be disbursed in weekly instalments or once off. It is mandatory to produce and submit actual bills and invoices for all the expenditure incurred.


Since 1999 MSF Access Campaign – an arm of MSF set up to push for access to, and the development of life-saving and life-prolonging medicines, diagnostic tests and vaccines for patients in MSF programmes and beyond.

Two major challenges to access to healthcare for patients in South Africa and other developing countries are:

  • the high cost of medicines and,
  • the absence of appropriate and effective treatments for many diseases including HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C, pneumonia, cancer and neglected diseases (including Chagas disease, sleeping sickness and kala-azar).

In South Africa, there are serious barriers to accessing many cancer treatments at affordable prices, for example, as a result of the country’s current patent laws, this is only one disease among many where patients face significant difficulties.


  • Professional journalists, including freelancers, working in print, television or online media in South Africa.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of three to four years of professional experience of covering health, business, the pharmaceutical industry, intellectual property related issues, public policy and/or related issues.

Expected deliverables

  • Once selected, the fellows will have to attend an orientation/briefing at MSF India Southern Africa to understand and familiarise themselves with the requirements of this fellowship.
  • Print/Online: Minimum of 3 articles (500 words each) or 1 long-form feature (2,000 words) on the topic published in their outlet within 60 days of completing the Fellowship.
  • Multimedia: 2 Articles (500 words each) accompanied by multimedia content like videos, data visualizations, photo stories or illustrations
  • Television: 1 feature-length documentary (20-30 Min) or 3 television news stories
  • The fellows are expected to acknowledge the support of MSF Media fellowship in their reporting in the interests of transparency.
  • All copyright for news stories will remain with the publications, however, MSF reserves the right to share and publish all articles on relevant websites and blogs.
  • After the completing the Fellowship programme, fellows are expected to speak about their experience to the larger MSF Southern Africa office and other interested people of MSF.


  • A fellowship to the total value of Euro 3,500
  • The fellowship will cover round-trip air tickets to India, local travel while in India, accommodation, per diem and other administrative issues
  • To provide all the necessary support i.e. visa processing, payment for required vaccinations among other administrative issues
  • Briefings from MSF experts on (medical) humanitarian principles and our work
  • Briefings from other MSF experts—based on the topic chosen.
  • Access to field projects, relevant networks of experts and patient groups? and facilitation of the journalist for a pre-decided time frame

Application requirements

Interested journalists should send the following the documents with their application

  • 2-page Curriculum Vitae along with a cover letter
  • Copies of the previous reporting on health or IP issues
  • Crucially, applicants have to deliver a strong proposal demonstrating some initial research and story angles outlining their possible focus area while in India and how it is linked to the in South Africa (700-word proposal)
  • Letter of recommendation from the professional referee (other than the editor) detailing the applicant’s journalistic abilities and aptitude for the fellowship.
  • Applicants must provide a ‘letter of support’ from the editor of their current employer/editor assuring Fellows time/leave for 4 weeks and agreeing to publish the articles written by the Fellows in their publication. Freelancers must also provide a supporting letter from the editor of a publication agreeing to use the articles
  • Applicants must have at least a national diploma or degree in Journalism, media or communications
  • Applicants should have a valid passport



• All applications will be evaluated by MSF as well as an external jury.

• MSF reserves the right to not award any fellowships if applications do not meet a basic minimum standard.

• All decisions taken by MSF will be final


Please submit your cover note, proposals and scan the documents to the attention of Angela Makamure

Email: [email protected] not later than 16 May 2018

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Media Fellowship


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