Deadline: September 30, 2017


A grant for student photojournalists to cover difficult topics in conflict-affected countries through compelling photo stories 

About the Grant

ConDev’s Student Media Grants award up to $5,000 to current students interested in capturing conflict-related issues facing fragile and conflict-affected areas of the world through stunning photography. Past winners have traveled to and produced photography highlighting issues in TurkeyNigeriaKenyaHaitiEthiopiaPerú, and other conflict-affected regions.

Past Projects

2017 Projects

2016 Projects

2015 Projects

Earlier Projects

Who’s Eligible?

The program is OPEN TO STUDENTS WORLDWIDE (undergraduate, graduate, PhD, etc.). Students graduating in December 2017-May 2018 are also eligible to apply.

Application Timeline

  • August 1, 2017:  APPLICATION OPENS! You can start e-mailing your finished proposals to
  • September 30, 2017 by 11:59pm CST:  Application deadline
  • October 2017:  Review Period – please be patient as we review your incredible proposals!
  • December 2017:  Notification Period (approximate)
  • January 2018 (Depending on proposal timeline):  Funding Disbursement (approximate)
  • January-December 2018: Grant winners travel and implement their photojournalism projects

France and Greece, cropped for 2016.07.26 press release

Student Media Grant winner Andrea Batarse chronicled the refugee crisis in France and Greece during Summer 2016

Proposal Format

  • No more than four (8.5”×11”) pages (not including cover page)
  • 12 point, Times New Roman font
  • 1″ margins; please submit as a Microsoft Word document

Students should submit proposals that describe their anticipated travel, subjects, and plans for photostory production, refinement and promotion as specifically as possible.

Proposals must include the following components:

  1. Cover Sheet
  2. Thematic Focus
  3. Statement of Motivation
  4. Media Experience
  5. Timeline
  6. Narrative of Planned Activities (including Plan for Promotion)
  7. Budget

More details:

  1. Cover Sheet should include:
    • Title of Proposal
    • Applicant Name
    • Applicant Email
    • Major (Example: BS International Studies)
    • University Name
    • Expected Graduation Date
    • References: The names and contact information (telephone numbers and emails) of two faculty or staff at your university who can serve as references. If you recently started at a new university, you can include 1 from your new university (someone who can verify your enrollment) and 1-2 references from your previous institution or professional experience. *By submitting a proposal, applicants agree that ConDev has permission to contact these individuals prior to awarding a grant to the applicant.
  2. Thematic Focus
    • What theme/issue do you plan to photograph?
    • What do you hope to achieve by highlighting this specific subject or issue?
  3. Statement of Motivation (½ to 1 page)
    • Why this issue/country? How will this grant further your personal/professional aspirations?
  4. Media Experience (1/2 page maximum)
    • Is this your first time using a camera, or do you have experience taking great photographs? Feel free to include links to past work, or include them as attachments when you submit your proposal.
    • Applicants are responsible for editing and presenting their photos with all associated captions and/or descriptions after returning from their photo exhibition. Do you have any experience editing photos?
    • If you lack photography experience, how do you plan to improve your skills before departing on your photo exhibition, should you be awarded a grant?
  5. Timeline
    • The use of a table is encouraged for timelines.
    • Provide clear travel dates and locations.
    • Include milestones for delivering preliminary photos during your expedition.
  6. Narrative of Planned Activities
    • This section, outlined in paragraph form, will explain your planned activities as proposed in your timeline.
    • How long do you plan to be in-country?
    • How do you plan to capture photos, and with whom do you plan to meet?
    • Include plans for delivering preliminary photos during your expedition.
    • Where will you travel to? Do you plan to visit more than one country?
    • List specific deliverables, including method of delivery. Include specific deadlines for delivering your final product and promoting your work after your return.
    • *A “Plan for Promotion” is required. How do you plan to present and promote your finished, edited and polished product after your return? Will you target specific media channels/magazines/news outlets?
  7. Budget
    • Applicants are encouraged to be as detailed and accurate as possible regarding estimated expenses.
    • Please ensure that your budget does not surpass the $5000 limit.
    • Will you need to pay for visas, flights, vaccinations, security, etc.? If so, include it in your budget.
    • All budget totals should be in U.S. dollars (USD).
    • Please ensure that your budgets are realistic. ConDev will not disburse additional funds for any reason. Applicants are responsible for arranging all details of their travel completely independently.

Submission Instructions

Proposals should be submitted as a Microsoft Word Document to with “Student Media Grant: [Name of Student]” as the subject line, with any samples attached. Only one proposal can be submitted per student.

*Exception: To ensure that students submitting proposals in ‘high-risk’ locations are not at a disadvantage, we will allow students who are concerned that their first option might not get approved (due to safety concerns) to submit TWO proposals: a ‘high-risk’ proposal and a ‘lower-risk’ proposal. The two proposals will be judged (and scored) completely separately, but you are more than welcome to copy and paste parts from one proposal to the other to save on time, especially if the subject matter is similar for the two proposals. If you have any questions about this, please contact the Grant Manager at

This boy helps his families by carrying kilograms of grains to market

Menychle Abebe documented the struggles of obtaining an education in the poverty-stricken Amhara region of Ethiopia during Summer 2016


  • What inspired ConDev to start this grant? Who manages it?
  • What is the purpose of this grant?
    • To enable and encourage student photographers (especially those interested in photojournalism and international conflict) to document and highlight issues related to conflict and development through stunning visual media in the country where these events are taking place.
  • Are teams allowed to submit a joint proposal?
    • A maximum team size of two people is eligible to submit a joint proposal. The funding limit will be the same ($5,000 maximum). One applicant must be listed at the primary contact with ConDev.
  • How much money are we talking about, anyway?
    • Awards will not exceed $5,000 per awardee.
  • Where can I go? Are there any travel restrictions?
    • It is unlikely that administrators will approve travel to a country where there is a U.S. Department of State travel warning in place. If you submit an application that proposes travel to a country under a travel warning, ConDev is required to seek external approval before you can travel there; if your proposed travel is not approved, your application will be removed from consideration. If you live in a country under a State Department travel warning, we are still required to seek external approval. Please see the note (in red) above regarding submitting 2 proposals due to concerns over your proposal getting approved. If you have any questions about your proposed travel, please do not hesitate to contact the Grant Manager (
    • Grantees are not required to travel as part of the grant.  If you wish to photograph a conflict-related issue in your home country, you are welcome to do so.
  • I don’t attend school in the United States. Can I still apply?
    • Yes; the grant is open to students (undergraduate, graduate, Master’s, PhD) worldwide. In the past, we have awarded grants to students attending universities in countries such as Norway and Nigeria.
  • Do I have to be a photography/journalism/international studies major to apply?
    • No. Students from all majors and areas of study are encouraged to apply. Your major does not have to be related to photography, journalism or international studies, though applicants with previous photography experience are especially encouraged to apply.
  • When can I travel using this money?
    • The photo expeditions for this round of the Student Media Grant should take place sometime between January 2017 and December 2017 , but if you would like to propose travel after December 2017, please contact the Grant Manager ( for approval prior to submitting your proposal. We try to be flexible to accommodate students’ schedules.
  • Are graduating students allowed to submit an application?
    • Yes, students graduating in April-May 2017 are eligible to apply.
  • Are incoming students allowed to submit an application?
    • No, incoming students are not yet eligible for the Student Media Grant, but we look forward to reviewing your proposal next year!
  • What does a successful application look like?
    • A successful application will have thorough responses and adequately answer all the prompts explained above.  You are welcome to use this sample proposal for guidance.
  • Is the cover sheet included in the page limit?
    • No
  • What happens after I’m accepted?
    • A second round of individual interviews may be required. You’ll be required to provide some more information, like: a letter signed by your supervising professor, evidence of good health and medical insurance that is valid in the area to which you expect to travel, etc. You’ll also have to register your emergency contact information with the Study Abroad Office.
  • Do applications have to be submitted in English?
    • Yes. We understand that not everyone speaks English as a first language, but please do your best. Thanks!
  • “I applied last year and did not get funded. Can I reapply?”
    • Yes, you can reapply. Update your proposal based on previous feedback and proposal guidelines to better your chances of receiving an award.
  • I already have a $500 scholarship to study abroad. Can I combine that with this grant if I win?
    • Past winners have often combined awards and used additional grant money to supplement their projects.
  • How detailed should my Narrative of Planned Activities be?
    • Please try to be as detailed as possible. Example: “I plan to produce at least 100 high-quality photographs. I will share 10 photos WITH CAPTIONS (including subject, date and location) with the Grant Manager via email once a week while overseas and will deliver the rest via DropBox by [date]. I plan to access internet while traveling using an internet cafe. I am considering using a technique called [technique], which is particularly appropriate for this subject matter because [reason]. I will edit my photos using [computer software]. I will deliver my finished, edited and polished products with all perfectly completed captions to the Grant Manger via [email/DropBox]. After returning on [date], I will submit my finished photostory to these magazines for consideration. I will also provide XXXX copies of my final product to XXXX number of schools in the country I visited, which will require me to purchase XXXX. And so on.”
  • How many grants will be awarded each year?
    • The number of grants awarded is based on the number of applicants and the amount of funding available. In the past, we have awarded approximately 2-6 grants per round.
  • How will I share my photos with ConDev?
    • During their experience, grantees are required to share their photos with ConDev HQ so ConDev can begin promoting their work; so if you think this will require you to purchase DropBox space or internet in your country of travel, please accoun. After returning from their photo expedition, the grantees will deliver their final products to ConDev HQ in accordance with the timeline stated in their proposal.

All work produced by Fellows will be used by the Chair and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to advance advocacy and public awareness of critical issues facing international development. Information about the Student Media Grant winners and their associated projects will be presented annually to the Board of Advisors of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict & Development and the H. G. Buffett Foundation. There will be unrestricted access and use of published materials by these entities to advance mutual goals. Fellows will sign a release granting these permissions.

Still Have Questions? 

Don’t hesitate to contact the Student Media Grant Manager at or 979-458-9399. We look forward to reviewing your application!

IMG_0446 YES - 2 copy

In 2015, PhD student Ally Krupar shared the lives of individuals living in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee complex