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14 projects funded under summer 2017 round

The success and struggles of independent press in Mozambique, the green energy revolution taking place in Nicaragua, and how a specialist centre for those with physical disabilities in Uganda is using 3D printing to produce prosthetic limbs for its patients are just some of the topics being explored by the successful applicants to this year’s Simon Cumbers Media Fund summer round.

Fourteen media professionals representing a variety of local and national media outlets will travel to 16 countries in Africa, Asia and South America. A total of 28 project proposals were submitted for consideration and the funding awarded to the 14 successful applicants is in excess of €42,800.

Details of the successful applicants are as follows:

  • Lar Boland has been awarded funding to travel to Uganda to report on a specialist rehabilitation centre using 3D printing to transform the lives of those with physical disabilities. His photographic documentation will focus on the work of CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital, which is using the technology to produce prosthetic limbs for its patients. Lar’s work will be published in The Irish Times and will include a photo exhibition in Dublin City Libraries.
  • Catherine Devine has been funded to travel to Ethiopia to report on gender inequality and violence in the country, and the efforts of aid organisations to help women overcome domestic abuse. Her project will explore what is being done to progress women’s rights and equality and will compare domestic violence rates in Ethiopia with those in Ireland. Her project will be published in the Irish Independent.
  • Cian Kearns has been awarded funds to travel to Tanzania to report on a lion conservation project working to change attitudes towards lion hunting within the Masai and Barbaig Tribes. In Ruaha National Park, young tribesmen have traditionally killed lions to prove their manhood. Through the conservation project, these hunters have become the lions’ last line of defence and work as ‘lion guardians.’ Cian’s project will also focus on the effect of climate change on animal migrations and how this affects human settlements. His project will be featured on Clare FM and in Changing Ireland magazine. He will also curate a photo exhibition at Black Gate Culture Centre.
  • Jason Kennedy has been funded to travel to Mozambique to report on life since the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The project will examine the standard of life experienced by the LGBT community since the legislation came into effect, how Mozambique avoided the same harsh, anti-LGBT policies of many of its neighbouring countries, and whether there is room for further progress. His piece will be published in the Irish Independent.
  • Eimear Lowe has been awarded funds to travel to Mexico to report on the experiences of refugees and migrants from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) trying to cross the Mexican southern border. This trio of Central American countries are among the world’s most dangerous outside of a war zone. Eimear’s project will look at this humanitarian crisis, and explore what refugees and migrants can expect from their new lives in the USA. She will also speak to NGOs and aid agencies that try to help those who flee. Her report will be broadcast on RTÉ.
  • Louise McLoughlin has been funded to travel to Mozambique to report on the success and struggles of independent press in the country. Although independent media has technically been permitted since 1991, state control and bias is still present across many mediums. The project will focus on journalists’ attempts to expand media on a local level and to create quality content, despite government constraints. Her work will be published in The Irish Times.
  • Allen Meagher has been awarded funds to travel to The Gambia to report on its complex political history. His article will focus on what it will take for The Gambia and its people to build themselves back up financially, mentally and politically, following 22 years of dictatorship. He will also report on the bright future envisaged by the people of The Gambia following the democratic election of Adama Barrow, and examine how well it is progressing (or not) across a range of development indicators. His work will be published in Changing Ireland magazine and broadcast on Limerick City Community Radio.
  • Darragh Murphy has been funded to travel to Lesotho to report on life for young boys who are being forced into working as shepherds to alleviate their families’ poverty. The article will focus on the work being done by NGOs to try to help these children by offering schooling at night time. His work will be published by The Irish Times.
  • Brian O’Donovan has been awarded funds to travel to the Ukraine and Belarus to cover the final stages of the building of a massive containment dome over the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in an attempt to isolate and enclose its ongoing dangers. His project will also explore the links between Ireland and Chernobyl and the NGOs working with people who have been affected. His work will be featured on RTÉ.
  • Michael O’Kane has been awarded funds to travel to Sierra Leone to report on female genital mutilation. His radio documentary will focus on the survivors of this practice and the groups set up to fight and eliminate the practice in Ireland and across the world. His documentary will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1.
  • Joan O’Sullivan has been funded to travel to Djibouti, a small country just 30 kilometres from Yemen, that has become home to tens of thousands of Yemeni refugees. For the past two years, Yemen has been hit by civil war and famine leading many to flee to neighbouring Djibouti. This project will examine the conflict in Yemen, its consequences, the people who have been forced out, and the NGOs based in Djibouti who are trying to help. Her work will be featured on RTÉ.
  • Sorcha Pollack has been awarded funding to travel to the south Indian state of Kerala to report on the migration of nurses from the area to Ireland. Her article will look at the migratory patterns in the region, the reasons that so many select Ireland to come to, and the impact migration is having on Kerala. Her work will appear in The Irish Times.
  • Didem Tali has been funded to travel to Mongolia to report on the escalating levels of air pollution in the country’s capital city, She will look at how factors such as accelerating population, limited infrastructure, and heavy dependence on coals are contributing to the problem. Her pieces will be featured in The Irish Times.
  • Margaret Ward has been awarded funds to travel to Nicaragua to report on the green energy revolution taking place in the second poorest country in the Americas. The project will look what has driven this green energy revolution, who it benefits, and the role played by foreign and local companies. Her work will be published in The Irish Times.