Call for Proposals: Investigative Journalism Grant

August 8, 2022

Are you interested in partnering with us to ensure societies are more open, inclusive and empowered? Do you want to contribute to mentoring and empowering county based journalists?

Hivos is seeking media development organizations that can train and mentor county-based journalists to develop and publish investigative stories. The training, mentorship and publication of investigative stories will focus on the allocation, procurement and utilization of Covid-19 funds in Kenya

Region: East Africa
Office: Nairobi
Application deadline: 30th August 2022
Type of Grant: Short term Grant
Grant amount: Euro 15,000 to undertake Public Interest Investigative Journalism for Media development organizations

About Hivos

Hivos is an international development organization guided by humanistic values. Together with citizens and their organizations, we aim to contribute towards just, inclusive and life-sustaining societies where people have equal access to opportunities, rights and resources. We work in partnership with others in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America on three impact areas: Civic Rights in a Digital Age; Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; and Climate Justice. Our approach is solution driven, and we build wider movements for change by amplifying and connecting voices.  

About the Openness 4 Covid 19 Response and Recovery project

Public contracting and procurement is a key driver for public service delivery to citizens and a market opportunity for entrepreneurs at the sub-national, national and international levels.

Public contracting involves the full chain of government deal making, from procurement of goods and services for citizens to the disposal of state assets. It covers not only the awarding of contracts, but also planning, tendering, contract negotiation, implementation and performance monitoring and termination. It is estimated that over 70 percent of government expenditures are managed through public contracts

However, in Kenya and across the globe, public contracting especially during emergencies remains an opaque government activity most vulnerable to wastefulness, mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption. There is also lack of adequate controls and therefore consequent mismanagement is common place. Beneficial ownership is also a major element of business registration and public procurement that requires compliance. A beneficial owner is the natural person who ultimately owns an entity and transactions are made on their behalf, or they exercise ultimate effective control over a legal entity. Beneficial owners of public contracting transactions largely remain veiled and beneficial ownership information is mainly accessible to the public through requests to Business Registry services. This means that, at the moment publishing of beneficial ownership information in Kenya is predominantly inward facing at the moment and in need of further alignment to the global open ownership principles.

Media and public contracting

Media play an important role in public contracting by facilitating public awareness and engagement on public procurement oversight and exposure of malpractices as part of its watchdog role as well as in some cases, whistle blowing on corruption and illuminating spending patterns. Media are key players in shaping public opinion about public procurement and contracting. Media continue to make progress in their investigative journalism and coverage of public contracting issues even in the current Covid-19 context.

Objective of the grants

To increase awareness, capacity and willingness to undertake investigative journalism and accurate reportage on public finance management issues related to the Covid-19 funds through free publicly accessible media platforms and outlets to sustain dialogues on audit, open contracting and procurement monitoring. Please note that the grants will only cover the counties of Mombasa, Nakuru, Makueni, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi.

Key deliverables

1. Train and mentor at least ten county-based journalists to increase their understanding of public finance management issues related to the allocation and utilization of Covid-19 funds including:

  • journalistic practices in relation to investigating and reporting on allocation and utilization of Covid-19 funds
  • generation of relevant story ideas, translating ideas into compelling proposals for an investigative project and pitching to editors
  • accessing relevant datasets, information and source documents to inform their investigative stories on the allocation and utilization of Covid-19 funds
  • investigating social networks including relevant approaches, tools and platforms

2. Provide technical support to at least 10 county-based journalists in the project, to publish new and follow up in-depth stories related to the allocation and utilization of Covid-19 funds across free publicly accessible media outlets

3. Provide quarterly narrative and financial reports and briefings to Hivos in line with Hivos reporting templates and as may be articulated in respective Contractual documents.

4. Ensure that the Hivos grant is limited to public interest stories that are not under any copy right in order to allow for open access to all.

5. Facilitate collaborations where appropriate

Profile of potential grantees

  1. Experience in training and mentoring investigative journalists to report on public finance issues including procurement and corruption
  2. A demonstrated understanding of open budgeting, Open Contracting and beneficial ownership principles and approaches with the open governance framework
  3. Demonstrated experience is public interest story-telling and publishing of investigative pieces in open access platforms and outlets
  4. Track record in undertaking follow the money investigative work and open contracting projects
  5. A good understanding of Kenya’s legal framework on public finance management and public procurement


The implementation of the grant is envisioned to be for 9 months i.e October 2022 to 31 June 2023.

How to apply

Your application should have the following:

  1. An expression of interest demonstrating why your organization is the right fit for this grant
  2. A profile of your organization
  3. A technical proposal detailing a plan of action, approach and methodology, timelines aligned to deliverables as well as the counties of implementation.
  4. A financial proposal detailing a breakdown of costs and inclusive of required taxation or your agreement on tax exemption from the respective state agency.
  5. Relevant weblinks to and /or at least 2 samples of published investigative/journalistic works that you have previously supported.

Please send these documents by 30th August 2022 at 17:00 Kenyan Time. Applications after this date and time will not be considered. Please note that canvasing will lead to exclusion from the bid.

Send your application to  with the reference  O4C19 – Investigative Journalism Grant  in the subject heading.