Without Borders Media Fellowship

About the fellowship

The Without Borders Media Fellowship aims to encourage both cross-border and hyper-local reporting in South Asia and leverage powerful storytelling to highlight pressing issues concerning public health and humanitarian aid. Stories from the ground will build evidence for medical and humanitarian advocacy and encourage visibility for public health issues that MSF and other similar organizations are working on. 

Fellows will engage closely with mentors, who are experts in journalism and public health, as well as with staff from within the MSF movement, who will provide strategic guidance to the Fellowship programme, advise Fellows, and help identify themes and geographies with the need of greater focus. 

Applicants can apply under two grant categories: Topic-based Grant(Sexual and Gender-based Violence) or General Grant(applicants can choose from the themes mentioned below).  

Call for applications for the Without Borders Fellowship 2022-23 is now closed.

Last date to apply
General Grant: 15th September 2022
Topic-based Grant (Sexual and Gender-based Violence) : 25th September 2022

Fellowship duration: 3 months (October – December 2022).

Fellows 2022-2023

Mentors 2022-2023

 Application guide

 As selection for the Without Borders Media Fellowship is competitive, we ask applicants to provide:  

  • Reporting proposal: Description of the story you seek to pursue during your Fellowship. MSF expects a concrete story pitch. Pre-reporting by the applicant on the subject will be of advantage to the application. A compelling, well-researched pitch (with references to add context) with a reporting plan will help stand out among dozens of applicants
  • Travel and Dissemination Plan: Applicants must share a reporting plan that lists out the preferred start and end dates of the fellowship, field travel plan, the location, resources needed, stakeholders involved, number of stories, etc., as well as a dissemination plan 
  • Three examples (links) of your most relevant stories (to the pitch) published in the past three years 
  • A letter of commitment or interest from a media organization(s) that would publish your story will be of advantage to the applicant 
  • Names and contacts of two professional references
  • CV or Resume

Past fellows

MSF introduced a fellowship for media in India in 2016 as part of its larger vision to close engage with the media. Following its success, in 2018, MSF India extended an invitation to collaborate with MSF South Africa to make it an international media fellowship. In 2022, MSF South Asia, formerly MSF India, under its new scope and mandate, is expanding the scope of the fellowship and re-branding it as the Without Borders Media Fellowship.  The Fellowship hosts a reporting grant in MSF South Asia, which is co-owned with internal and external partners, to support media professionals with grants towards in-depth and high impact reporting on health and humanitarian aid issues. 
Past Fellows and their work:  

Mahima Jain is an award-winning independent journalist based in Bengaluru, India. She covers science, gender and socio-economic issues with a focus on inequity and injustice. As the Medicine Sans Frontiers Media Fellow, for Article-14 she wrote a narrative long-form piece reporting on why gender-based violence is a public health crisis. This story was a finalist for the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Awards. Mahima was also a finalist for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award 2021. She won a UNFPA Laadli Media Award, and was nominated for the One World Media Awards and Mumbai Press Club Red Ink Awards. You can explore her other work here: https://mahimajain.in/. She tweets @theplainjain and is @mahima.a.jain on Instagram.

Her experience with MSF fellowship

I applied for the MSF Fellowship in 2020 when I wished to explore what are the systemic issues that come in the way of tackling gender-based violence. This curiosity stemmed from the well-known fact that gender-based violence in India is underreported. I wanted to understand the role of the healthcare system in addressing gender-based violence, and if this is a public health crisis (which the WHO says it is). MSF’s Fellowship opening seemed like a good fit for such a project. When I got the Fellowship, I was very grateful that I now had the opportunity to do a long-term project which was rooted in on-ground reporting and research. As a freelance journalist, I feel like this reporting project would not have been possible without the Fellowship. More importantly, MSF staff also extended support in other ways, by connecting me with subject matter experts and other stakeholders. The Fellowship helped me break into reporting on health, while focusing on unequal access to healthcare. This Fellowship was a stepping stone in my journey as a journalist.

The Silent Pandemic Of Violence Against India’s Women 

Swagata Yadavar is an award-winning independent journalist based in New Delhi. She writes on public policy, healthcare and gender-related themes. Previously, she worked with ThePrint, India’s leading news website, IndiaSpend, the country’s first data journalism website and The Week, a national magazine. Follow her work on @swagata_y.

Her experience with MSF fellowship
It was a very enriching experience for me to visit South Africa to study how they have been dealing with drug-resistant tuberculosis. I learnt how South Africa implemented a number of patient-centric initiatives that eased treatment for drug-resistant TB and made it a leading example of successful drug-resistant TB care in the world. My interviews with the MDR-TB patients and doctors helped me understand how new drugs like bedaquiline and delamanid, which were available to only a few thousands in the world, can reduce side effects and give patients a new lease of life. This experience helped inform my reporting on access to bedaquiline in India. I was also impressed by the MSF clinic staff in South Africa and the patient groups and came back inspired.

Ankur Paliwal is an independent journalist who writes about science, inequity, and his LGBTQIA+ community. He has reported from India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Germany and the United States for various Indian and international media outlets. He currently lives in New Delhi.

His experience with MSF fellowship

MSF’s fellowship provided me with the resources I needed to gain a deeper understanding of the gaps in the diagnosis of Tuberculosis in India. With the help of this fellowship, I could spend enough time with the patients, care providers, researchers, and doctors to form an understanding about why so many patients continue to fall through the cracks in the public health system and develop drug-resistant TB.

In India’s Fight Against Tuberculosis, Diagnostics Remains Poorly Understood 

Pradeep Surin has more than 15 years of experience in active journalism and has been associated with CNN-IBN, News-X and Dainik Bhaskar to name a few. During his stint in media, he got many opportunities to conduct debates and chat shows on health for All India Radio and was regularly invited as a guest speaker for NDTV, Doordarshan, Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV. He was a facilitator for UNICEF in training journalists in Public Health reporting and was a lead mentor with the Thomson Reuters Foundation in drafting ‘Critical Appraisal Skills’ course for health journalists. He is a guest faculty member at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi and has been awarded with several fellowships across the globe, including those by the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University.

His experience with MSF fellowship

In my opinion, MSF Media Fellowship was one of the most wonderful experiences I have had. The process of selection was very smooth and throughout the fellowship, there was complete journalistic freedom. The team at MSF was very prompt in terms of facilitating information on specific subjects. Tuberculosis is my favourite subject in terms of research and that is why I decided to report on it for the fellowship. I don’t think except MSF there is any other organization which would help a journalist understand ground realities in India with such clarity.


MSF Fellow Mahima Jain’s story ‘The Silent Pandemic of Violence Against India’s Women’ is a finalist at the Editorial Excellence Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Awards 2022. It is selected under the Excellence in Reporting on Women’s Issues (Regional) category. She was also selected as one of the top three finalists for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award 2021. The story ‘The Silent Pandemic’ was a part of her submission. 

In case of any queries, please get in touch with:

Aditya Sharma, Media Manager

Email: media.manager@new-delhi.msf.org

Ph: +91 8011014936

MSF reserves the right to not award any fellowships if applications do not meet a basic minimum standard.

All decisions taken by MSF will be final.

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