NAWA Investigative Fund

There is a pressing need for quality investigative journalism from, for, and about the Arab region. The NAWA-IF supports a new generation of digital investigative journalists in the North Africa and West Asia (NAWA) region by providing micro-grants for investigative work across all media. The fund is project-based, supporting investigative journalism that looks deeper into the region as a whole, how it connects, and the global impacts of events since the 2011 uprisings until today.

Following four years of work with citizen journalists, activists, and fact-checking groups across the NAWA region, in a context of rapid political change, it has become very apparent that there is a need for a shield fund to support work that is being actively suppressed by governments in the region. We have seen a tendency for foreign NGOs to support initiatives that are well-intentioned and potentially valuable but directed by the NGO’s goals. Therefore, this fund has been developed in consultation with NAWA-based organisations, guided by their own assessment of their current needs, and to provide micro-grants to extend their current work. If we want to see good investigative journalism, someone needs to fund it.

In 2020 we received 37 applications to the NAWA-IF, including through our Check Global Covid-19 microgrants call. We funded 17 applications, for a total of  $53,650. The 2020 NAWA-IF grantees were based in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Palestine, Pakistan, Yemen and Lebanon. As projects draw to completion at the end of 2020, look out here for more details.

Applications for 2022 are currently closed. Updates will be shared on this page.


NAWA-IF Funding Process

  1. Applicants make a 300-word application via this page, or by email (using the fund’s Proton email given below).
  2. The fund advisory board meets monthly to review all applications.
  3. Selected applicants are invited to submit further details about their project via an online form (which also provides the board with references, that we are able to consult regarding the applicant’s background and experience).
  4. Successful applicants are then notified within a period of five weeks from submission.


NAWA IF Funding Diagram

Selection Criteria

The NAWA-IF fund meets at the beginning of each year to decide on the fund’s priorities and main target countries. Applications submitted from our priority countries will receive 55% of the fund’s annual allocation. The remaining 45% will be disbursed on a case-by-case basis according to the process above.

The NAWA-IF’s country of focus for 2019 was Yemen. Given the challenges faced globally in 2020, the focus was Covid-19 related work.

The fund prioritises applications submitted on behalf of groups and collectives (as opposed to individual applications). This allows the board to hold recipients accountable, and enhances the chances of delivery. We still welcome individuals for submissions via our portal, but suggest putting a strong emphasis in their applications on their experience delivering similar projects.

Disclaimer: As the NAWA-IF works towards supporting freelance investigative journalists from across the region, we are aware that some of our recipients will have a portfolio of work published elsewhere or in progress. The fund can only be held responsible for the work directly supported through our application process, and not other existing work in the public domain.

There are a number of criteria that the board ranks the applications against:

  • Originality & significance: the quality of the written application. How is this work new? Does it build on existing published work, and what is the new contribution it makes? What are the challenges it suggests to address? What is its geographic area / focus?
  • Achievability: will the applicant be able to deliver on the promises made in the application? Is the workplan realistic within the suggested timeline? Does the fieldwork represent any ethical or health and safety issues that need to be taken into consideration? 
  • Impact & Dissemination: does the application identify a relevant audience for the work? Does the work set out to transform perception on specific issues? Is the application clear in terms of why this work is important now? 
  • Rigour: Will the work present balanced viewpoints? How solid is the investigative fieldwork plan? How will the applicant check their sources are accurate? 
  • Match to funder: Is the NAWA-IF best suited to support this? Are there any other partners that we can direct this application to for support?

The fund was launched in 2017 with support for investigations by the following partners from across the NAWA region:

Logos for Syrian Archive, Beirut Report, SMEX Social Media Exchange

Applications for 2022 are currently closed. Updates will be shared on this page.

    Make a pledge to support the NAWA Investigative Fund

    Contact us to discuss how you can help support autonamous investigative journalism in the NAWA region. We welcome one-off or ongoing donations from individuals and organisations around the world.

    Support the NAWA Investigative Fund with skills and resources

    Can you offer in-kind or pro-bono support? Are you able to donate equipment, offer training or web hosting, or provide legal services?

    Contact us by emailing [email protected]