Home | Grants | $50,000 Grant for African Podcasters | US Department of State | Wirkish, 2021

$50,000 Grant for African Podcasters | US Department of State | Wirkish, 2021

Deadline: June 26th, 2021

The Africa Regional Services (ARS) branch of Africa Bureau’s Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (AF/PDPA) of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a program to reach millions of young professionals in sub-Saharan Africa by podcast and radio on a variety of themes including democracy; entrepreneurship; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; climate change; and health.


  • Produce 30 episodes (between 15-30 minutes each) of audio programming to be available as podcasts to be downloaded by individuals and provided to radio stations over the course of a minimum of 6 months in English, French and Portuguese.
  • Create a narrative budget that describes production costs that may include compensation to on-the-ground reporters or for the collection of authentic b-roll audio footage, payment for radio time, USB keys, data cards, advertising, etc.
  • Reach at least 10 million youth between 25-45, in at least 25 sub-Sahara African countries over the course of the project via radio and online means.
  • Increase public awareness, especially among women, about global issues and what that concern means to them.
  • Increase public awareness about an individual’s role in a citizen-responsive government and democratic stability.
  • Make programs available with specific attention to community radio stations in English, French and Portuguese and 10 episodes in Kinyarwanda. (Include translation costs in budget.)
  • Increase positive views of the United States or U.S. foreign policy as seen in polls. (Include polling or sub award for polling in budget.)
  • Provide evidence of public discussion on ten of the twenty topics.
  • Promote U.S. values or assistance in thematic discussions.


  • Democracy and Good Governance
    • The roles of journalists, elected leaders, community leaders, strong institutions, civil society, and security forces in democracies.
    • What is the United Nations Security Council and rotating presidency? And why should I care?
    • Contributions of stigmatized groups, such as LGBT, women, youth, and persons with disabilities.
    • Human rights: what are they, what safeguards protect them, why should this matter to me?
    • How rumors start and how to overcome incorrect rumors or misinformation.
    • Citizen participation: how and why people take on active roles in their communities.
    • Independent Judiciary- what is it and examples where it has worked
    • How are young people on the continent making a difference in their communities?
  • Health
    • How vaccines work, from measles to polio to COVID-19
    • Gender-based violence and legal protections available.
    • Successes in community health (Ebola, vaccine or malaria campaigns)
    • Healthy lifestyles: Nutrition, exercise, good health practices
    • U.S. and African partnerships in health
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Development
    • Global Taxation
    • Africa Free Trade Agreement.
    • AGOA: what it is and how it has helped African countries
    • Web based business models in Africa
    • Development assistance and the differences between foreign aid and loans for infrastructure projects
    • Success stories (American Chambers of Commerce, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), African Woman’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), Nouveaux Horizon bookstores, etc.)
    • Social Entrepreneurship
  • STEM
    • What scientific fields contribute to the knowledge of space and what institutions in Sub Sahara Africa are connected to Space exploration or policy?
    • Why should I care about space? (should encourage STEM studies)
    • The connection of private companies, NASA, and international space travel
    • Teaching the next scientists- what teachers and parents can do to encourage curiosity
  • Climate Crisis 
    • The threats climate change poses to sub-Saharan Africa
    • Innovative solutions to climate issues
    • The connection between maritime security, enforcement of IUU fishing restrictions, and food security in Africa.

Funding Information

  • Total available funding: $400,000
  • Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $400,000
  • Anticipated program start date: September 2021
  • Length of performance period: 12 months; first episode broadcast expected December 2021

Target Audience

Young professionals speaking English, French, Portuguese, and Kinyarwanda in sub-Sahara Africa by radio in low bandwidth environments and by podcast for download or streaming in highly digitized environments in Sub Saharan Africa: Lusophone and francophone countries; South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Eswatini, Lesotho, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi.


The following organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with proof of past grants implementation experience with the U.S. government.
  • Public and private educational institutions.

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