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Reporting on Social Inclusion in South Asia

Application deadline: 12 June | Programme: Building the Capacity of Journalists in Asia and the Pacific


This is an opportunity provided by the Building the Capacity of Journalists in Asia and the Pacific programme: Find out more 

Please note: This programme is only open to South Asian journalists who are nationals of and based in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, or Sri Lanka.

This training programme from Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), offers journalists an opportunity to expand their expertise in reporting about social inclusion as the countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The course will draw on contemporary best practices of good reporting and writing, and will also focus on the use of data and digital assets as well as online safety for journalists.

The training will be delivered to two groups of journalists during the weeks of 18-22 July 2022 and 25-29 July 2022.

Reporting on social inclusion as South Asia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic

South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate-related impacts, such as growing poverty, agricultural price volatility, spread of disease, and child mortality. As the pandemic has worsened socioeconomic inequalities, the need for inclusive development policies is more pressing than ever. Social exclusion – often due to gender, disability, age, economic and education status, as well as caste, religion and ethnicity – exacerbates the already disproportionate exposure to hazards of vulnerable populations. These populations often lack access to information and resources to adequately respond to and recover from disasters. Besides that, over half of the young population in the region is projected to leave education without the skills required to be employable in the future. Yet, it is important to note that marginalized groups are not only victims of disasters; they also have unique abilities to contribute to the resilience of their communities. (Sources: World Bank, 2021 and National Herald)

Countries are also striving to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. A key consideration in this is the degree of inclusion felt by all members of society and their access to economic, social and political resources, as well as opportunities to participate in agenda-setting that impacts their lives. Entrepreneurship development, early disaster warnings for people with visual and hearing difficulties, youth employment support, and joint ownership by men and women of lands and assets are examples of advancing social inclusion. The more people feel empowered, the more likely they are to engage and help accelerate development policies, leading to more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable societies.

The media has a pivotal role to play in raising awareness, putting social inclusion on the policy and public agendas, giving a voice to the marginalized and disadvantaged, and debunking myths and stereotypes that breed discrimination and exclusion.

This programme will help journalists to:

  • Identify underlying issues and challenges that impact social inequality and financial inclusion; understand how they are inextricably linked, and what it means for the future of the young people, as their country emerges from the pandemic.
  • Report more confidently, accurately, and ethically on the topic, exploring various angles, including government programmes and non-government initiatives.
  • Get tips on how to write balanced stories, find good sources online, and learn interviewing skills for sensitive topics as well as topics involving vulnerable and/or marginalised communities. 
  • Learn the Solutions Journalism approach and use case studies to highlight some responses in their country or across borders in their region. 
  • Use data more effectively, including learning the fundamentals of data visualisation.
  • Manage their work online safely with tools and tips to protect privacy and confidentiality.

Experienced Thomson Reuters Foundation trainers will help participants to further enhance their skills in writing stories that are both powerful and accurate, and that explore the framing of issues of social inclusion as the region emerges from the pandemic.

The programme contents may be modified after assessing participants’ needs.

Who Can Apply

Applicants must be journalists who are nationals of and based in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, or Sri Lanka, and must be able to demonstrate a commitment to a career in journalism in South Asia, with a minimum of two years’ professional experience and a good level of spoken and written English.

If they are not full-time staff members, applicants should be able to demonstrate considerable experience as a freelancer, including very recent publications with client organizations.

Applicants will need to have access to reliable internet capable of handling multiple hours of video calls. They should also have access to a computer from which to attend the training.

Course Logistics

The intensive, online programme will run over five consecutive days, each with four hours of learning, observation, and discussion. There will be instructor-facilitated group sessions with a lead trainer and a co-trainer interspersed with individual or group tasks. Participants will also hear from subject matter experts on social inclusion issues. On the final day, participants will pitch a story idea to incorporate what they’ve learned from the sessions and receive feedback from TRF trainers.

The training will be delivered to two groups of journalists during the weeks of 18-22 July 2022 and 25-29 July 2022. Please indicate your training week preference in the application form via the APPLY button.

On completion of the course, successful participants will receive a certificate from TRF and ADB.

Following the training programme, selected participants will have the opportunity to receive further mentoring and support from TRF trainers who will help them work on their approved story pitches to be published within a set deadline. 

Meet Our Experts

Emmy Abdul Alim is a consultant and trainer for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Emmy currently reports, writes and edits for several news agencies and publishers including The Straits Times (Singapore), Zawya (UAE), and Refinitiv. She was previously Editor at Thomson Reuters where she led correspondents and analysts covering business and finance news and intelligence. Emmy has lived and worked in her native Singapore, as well as in the UK, Egypt, Malaysia and the UAE.

Yan Naung Oak is the founder of Thibi, a consultancy specialising in data visualization and human centered design. Yan was part of the founding team at Phandeeyar, Myanmar’s first and leading innovation hub. He focused on building their social impact and data programs from 2015-2018. He remains senior advisor at Phandeeyar where he’s consulted on strategy and tech for social impact in Myanmar. He is heavily involved in open data and data journalism initiatives in Myanmar and the region. Yan has a BA in Physics and Economics from Middlebury College and an MSocSci in Economics from the National University of Singapore. 

Please complete the application form at the link below and fill in thisbrief pre-training questionnaire. You will be required to submit samples of recent work, either as links or documents.

If you have difficulty applying, please email [email protected] with the title of the course in the subject line.


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