Bertha Challenge
2021 Fellows

Abiose Adelaja Adams

Location: Nigeria
Host Organization: The Cable

Abiose has always sought to expose social inequalities and injustices arising from bad governance through her investigative reporting and creative writing. A seasoned journalist, with almost two decades of experience, she is passionate about facts, science and the magic of theatre.

A fellow of the World Federation of Science Journalists, she has been at the forefront of reporting science and development issues. In the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 2006, her work won the Red Ribbon Award for breaking the silence on the disease and stopping its spread and stigmatization. In response to the outbreak of the ebola virus disease in 2014, she produced a journalist reporting manual and was a recipient of the Investigative Reporting Project through which she investigated the state of primary health centers. Abiose is the Program Officer at the Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation, where she coordinates a program that focuses on using the tool of investigative reporting for accountability and transparency. Here she manages the investigative reporting program and journalist training, while also interfacing with activists for amplification and advocacy.

During her Fellowship year, she will be exploring what alternative political, economic and scientific models can work in response to the environmental degradation and climate crisis at Nigeria’s Niger Delta. Her work will also include writing and staging a play to be performed among the fishing and farming communities in the South of Nigeria, where she will focus her work.

LJ Amsterdam

Location: United States of America
Host Organization: Mayday Space

LJ creates opportunities for people to take courageous and collective action. As a direct action trainer and a dancer, she believes that our bodies are the most essential elements of building community power. As an organizer, she is driven by the deeply human desire to belong. Over the past decade she has worked with resettled refugees, opiate users, families fractured by mass incarceration, homeowners in foreclosures and indigenous communities on the frontlines of climate change.

LJ is a collective member of Mayday Space, an organizing center and social movement hub in Brooklyn, a trainer for The Center for Story-Based Strategy and The Ruckus Society, and the civilian-ally board member of About Face: Veterans Against the War. She also has fused movement, music, and media-making to create dozens of political education projects for young people. Born, raised and based in NYC, she holds a B.A. and M.A. in African-American Studies from Columbia University.

Her Bertha Challenge project is a creative nonviolent direct action incubation and experimentation lab. Every major social transformation in history has been powered by direct action, and now we need to level up. This project is about action praxis – innovating strategy and iterating tactics – with rigor, play and risk.

Yasna Carolina Mussa Valenzuela

Location: Chile
Host Organization: Late Magazine

Yasna Carolina Mussa Valenzuela is a freelance Chilean reporter, based in Santiago de Chile. For a decade she has worked as an international correspondent for written and radio media, reporting from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Her work has been published in media such as La Tercera (Chile)The New York TimesVice (Mexico), and Mediapart (France).

She is co-founder of Late Magazine, where she is currently working as Editor and mediambiente.cl, a site committed to climate change. She has dedicated recent years to covering socio-environmental conflicts, making the Climate Emergency podcast on the subject. These issues hold great importance in a country like Chile, where the extractivist model has generated deep and permanent damage in communities facing a context of drought and contamination.

During her Bertha Challenge project, she will work with Juan Donoso (activist Fellow), to investigate the two faces of renewable energy and the electric cars that are marketed in Europe thanks to lithium obtained in what is known as the lithium triangle, spanning the most hauntingly beautiful earth between Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia.

Linh Do

Location: Australia
Host Organization:  Plan International

Linh has spent the last decade in climate action and has experience working across advocacy, media and social enterprise. She is passionate about strengthening civic institutions to achieve climate justice through tackling social inequality. Linh calls Melbourne, Australia, home with experience working across the globe.

In her most recent role, Linh led the Australia and Pacific office for Climate Reality, Al Gore’s leadership program. She developed educational programs and communications framing to support a network of over 1,600 individuals. Linh previously served as the editor-in-chief at The Verb, an environmental newswire service, where she covered the Paris Agreement negotiations. She is currently a board member at Climate Action Network Australia.

Linh is being hosted by Plan International, an international development organization with a focus on girls and youth. There she will explore how large organizations can support and cultivate activism, alongside what civil society can do to better engage culturally and linguistically diverse audiences.

Throughout the Bertha Challenge, Linh will work with Dan Ilic (journalist Fellow), an investigative comedian and creator of the podcast, A Rational Fear. On the back of a ferocious summer of bushfires and amidst the global response to Covid-19, they will explore different means to engage with audiences.

Federico Etiene Zuvire Cruz

Location: Guatemala
Host Organization: Federación Guatemalteca de Escuelas Radiofónicas (FGER)

Located in Mesoamérica, Federico is a storyteller and land defender. He works with social movements and organized communities to develop narratives that can respond to day to day struggles, while in the long run dismantle oppressive structures. His work combines art and technology to create online and offline culture hack interventions.

His Bertha Challenge project with Andrea Isabel Ixchiú Hernández (journalist Fellow), uses filmmaking and community radio to reveal the logic behind profit, government and extractive industries that are destroying and dispossessing indigenous territories in Guatemala. But more importantly, to highlight the contribution of woman land defenders and indigenous communities on the human strive for climate breakdown mitigation. In times of global crisis, his project is telling stories of local alternatives that point to the defense of life as a whole, as a condition for the continuity of human life on this planet.

Juan Francisco Donoso

Location: Germany
Host Organization:  The Centre for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America (FDCL)

Juan is a Climate Justice organizer, campaigner and writer based in Berlin. He seeks dialogues between anti-capitalist movements and community building, operating ‘from below’, and facilitating the communication services and interactions between communities and solidarity networks.

He is a non-conformist planetarista, a seeker of climate solutions, an aficionado to energy and work reduction, and allergic to toxic masculinities. In recent years, Juan has been shaking things up with Bloque Latinoamericano, a collective of people and organizations of the left in Berlin. His work focuses on the defense of nature and territories, while highlighting the role that European transnational companies have in Latin America.

During his Bertha Challenge Fellowship, Juan will be working with Yasna Carolina Mussa Valenzuela (journalist Fellow). His wish is to deepen and widen public engagement with social and environmental crises beyond the green bubble by working with young students from public schools. Through visual mediums and explanations from different stakeholders, the students will analyze lithium extraction in South America and the involvement of the German automobile industry, while building a foundation for critical thinking of the hegemonic narratives and knowledges of the so-called Just Transition. His project will culminate in mural-sized guerrilla images displayed by participants in urban and suburban areas of Berlin.

Dan Ilic

Location: Australia
Host Organization: A Rational Fear

Dan is one of Australia’s most prolific comedy filmmakers. Calling himself an “investigative humorist”, Dan has used comedy as an activist tool throughout most of his professional career in Australia and the U.S.

Dan is the host of the popular podcast and live comedy show, A Rational Fear, a show that brings together experts, journalists, comedians and politicians and uses comedy to talk about issues that get overlooked in mainstream media, namely climate justice. Dan has performed in front of thousands of people across Australia, including sell out shows at the Sydney Opera House and seasons of radio on ABC Radio National. As a journalist and TV producer, he covered the 2016 US presidential election as the Executive Producer of Satire for Fusion Media Group and Gizmodo Media Group in the U.S. and in 2015 was the Senior Satire Producer of Al Jazeera’s youth publisher AJ+. Most recently he was the Executive Producer and showrunner of Tonightly with Tom Ballard (ABC) and in 2020 was the Executive Producer and Showrunner of the coronavirus comedy lifestyle show At Home Alone Together (ABC).

Throughout the Bertha Challenge, Dan Ilic will work with Linh Do (activist Fellow), who is hosted by Plan International. On the back of a ferocious summer of bushfires and amidst the global response to Covid-19, they will explore different means to engage with audiences in climate vulnerable areas.

Andrea Isabel Ixchiú Hernández

Location: Guatemala
Host Organization: Federación Guatemalteca de Escuelas Radiofónicas (FGER)

Andrea is a journalist, human rights activist and defender of the territory. She is a Nobel Women’s Initiative Fellow and was awarded the Sakharov Prize Fellowship, which honors individuals and groups of people who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought. She describes herself as an investigative activist and journalist.

Andrea has also been an indigenous authority in her hometown of Totonicapán. Her career path is extensive: she’s actively involved in coordinating various processes of cultural management, community communication and technological innovation. She developed audiovisual communication methodologies and investigative journalism tools to make visible the struggles of the indigenous people and the territory in Guatemala.

During her Bertha Challenge Fellowship, she will work with FGER to share three stories of resistance told by women. The focus of her work is the intersection of organized woman, indigenous rights and territory with an emphasis on water, land and governance. Andrea will be working with Federico Etiene Zuvire Cruz (activist Fellow), creating communication strategies to highlight the voices of indigenous communities in the climate breakdown conversation.

Antonia Juhasz

Location: United States of America
Host Organization: Democracy Now!

Antonia Juhasz is a leading energy analyst, author, and investigative journalist specializing in oil. Her articles and opinion pieces appear in outlets including Rolling StoneHarper’s MagazineNewsweekThe Atlantic, The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesCNNThe Nation, and Ms. Magazine. Antonia is the author of three books: Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil SpillThe Tyranny of Oil, and The Bush Agenda. She has contributed chapters and essays to seven books, including Rebecca Solnit’s Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, and she is currently writing a book on the end of the fossil fuel era.

Antonia was a 2019 Ted Scripps Fellow at the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, a 2017 Yale University Poynter Fellow in Journalism, and a 2013 Investigative Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley. Antonia founded and runs the (Un)Covering Oil Investigative Reporting Program. Her on-the-ground investigations, which focus on women and girls, include the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, oil exploitation in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Paris Climate Accord, the role of oil and natural gas in the Afghanistan war and resistance movements from Standing Rock to the Norwegian Arctic. She lives in Colorado.

Antonia’s Bertha Challenge project is a collaboration with Democracy Now! She’ll be writing articles investigating the causes and consequences of the 2020 collapse of the global oil industry, and the intersection of human rights, fossil fuels, and climate change. One of the questions Antonia will be addressing during her Fellowship is whether the global Covid-19 crisis will offer a path out of the fossil fuel era or drive the world more deeply into its grip.

Alex Kelly

Location: Australia
Host Organization: Not Yet It’s Difficult

Alex is an organizer and artist committed to social and climate justice, based on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, ‘Australia’.

Alex has worked in film, theater, communications and troublemaking in many forms. This includes taking part in blockades from Jabiluka in Australia to la zad in France, collaborating on the Indigenous language and theater project, Ngapartji Ngapartji, and curating the Something Somewhere Film Festival.

As a Producer, Director and Impact Producer, Alex has worked on powerful documentary films including Queen of the DesertTHE ISLANDIsland of the Hungry Ghosts and In My Blood It Runs. Alex was also the Global Impact and Distribution Producer on Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything project.

Alex is currently focused on The Things We Did Next, a multiplatform speculative futures and climate change collaboration. Working with artist David Pledger and his company Not Yet It’s Difficult, Alex is generating new approaches to ‘futuring’ and ‘worldbuilding’ that bring thought leaders and audiences into conversations about the possible. Through practising the art of imagination, Alex hopes to strengthen our ability to tackle the complex challenges we face by imagining more just futures.

Narrira Lemos de Souza

Location: Brazil
Host Organization: The Tor Project

Narrira is a researcher and technologist based in Brazil. Most of her work is based in research around how technology impacts people’s lives, especially regarding security and privacy intrusion. In recent years, Narrira worked as a digital security trainer for social movements, activist organizations and third-sector organizations, aiming to strengthen privacy and security in collective actions and data uses. Narrira also worked as a UX Researcher, examining technology products to improve privacy and engagement for human rights defenders.

Previously, Narrira was a Mozilla Fellow embedded in the host organization Derechos Digitales. Her project worked to strengthen safe and sustainable practices for privacy and security online, and access to trustworthy information.

As a Bertha Fellow, Narrira will work closely with environmental organizations and activists that are at the frontlines of the work against climate change, and to promote territory rights. Her work will bring security practices to the organizations’ online communications, as well provide safe tools and methodologies to protect and promote collective organizing. Narrira is embedded in the host organization The Tor Project, and together they will work to circumvent censorship and provide reliable and safe access to the Internet.

Michael Owen Snyder

Location: United States of America
Host Organization: Blue Earth Alliance

Michael is a photographer, filmmaker, and environmental scientist who uses his combined knowledge of visual storytelling and conservation to create narratives that drive social change. He holds an MSc in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, a Blue Earth Photographer, and founder of Interdependent Pictures. He has directed award-winning films in the Arctic, the Amazon, the Himalayas, and East Africa. His work has been featured by National GeographicThe GuardianVoxBBC, and other outlets.

Michael’s Bertha Challenge project will use photography to make the hidden reality of climate change visible. He will look at changing coastlines and rural landscapes in the U.S. and the individual lives that these changes will affect most severely.

Bhrikuti Rai

Location: Nepal
Host Organization: Centre for Investigative Journalism, Nepal

Bhrikuti is a multimedia journalist based in Kathmandu. During her decade-long career, she has reported extensively on environment, technology and human rights. Bhrikuti loves all things audio, and is co-creator of the feminist podcast Boju Bajai, which she started in 2016 with poet Itisha Giri. In late 2018, the podcast was the first Nepali media entity to put out an open call for Me Too stories in Nepal. Since then, Bhrikuti has consistently reported on stories about sexual harassment, which were some of the first and few Me Too stories that came out of Nepal.

Bhrikuti has a diverse portfolio ranging from narrative podcasts, investigative stories, documentaries to social and immersive digital content. Her work has appeared in several Nepali and international media, including The Kathmandu PostNepali TimesThe GuardianLos Angeles Times and Buzzfeed News. In 2017, she won a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a Masters degree at Columbia University in New York, where she specialized in investigative journalism.

As a Bertha Fellow, Bhrikuti’s work will focus on investigating the extent of the ecological crises caused by illegal extraction from rivers across Nepal, and its impact on the most vulnerable communities. With a special focus on the extraction of sand, she will investigate the collusion between business and politics, embedding her work within the communities severely affected by this environmental devastation.

Charles Saki

Location: Zimbabwe
Host Organization: Community Radio Harare

Charles is a Zimbabwean journalist and freedom of expression evangelist. He has a keen interest in community centric investigative journalism with a particular focus on social justice and environmental management issues.

In 2010, he was one of the founding employees of the Media Centre in Harare, where he was instrumental in establishing a resource centre for freelance journalists and promoting citizen journalism in communities across Zimbabwe. Charles is a Radio Netherlands Certified trainer of trainers in multimedia production and a Programs Officer and Editor at Community Radio Harare, a community radio initiative awaiting government licensing.

Having trained and worked with citizen journalists, Charles is a firm believer in changing lives by promoting access to information, alternative media and internet freedom. His Bertha Challenge project focuses on the effects of corruption and mismanagement on the delivery of basic sanitation services for marginalized communities in the face of the climate crisis and massive pollution.

Angeles Solis

Location: United States of America
Host Organization: Make the Road New York

The Angeles is Lead Organizer of the Workplace Justice Team at Make the Road New York.

Make the Road New York is one of the largest membership led community organizations in New York, providing direct services and organizing for housing, labor, immigrant rights, police accountability, environmental justice and more. Angeles drives the organization’s campaigning against the damage Amazon is doing to communities across New York and the country.

Members of Make the Road are fighting to improve conditions in communities impacted by Amazon’s unfettered expansion and climate impact; calling for an end to militarized ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and law enforcement aided by Amazon technology; and organizing workers in Amazon warehouses. In coordination with global and national partners, Angeles’s Bertha Challenge project will equip community leaders with the tools to build power on Amazon, and elevate the voices of an immigrant base calling to #BreakUpAmazon in order to slow the climate crisis.

Before joining Make the Road, Angeles was the International Campaigns Coordinator at United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), where she spearheaded a successful campaign to secure a global access agreement for the Worker Rights Consortium and NIKE Inc, landing a multi-million dollar settlement for garment workers in Vietnam. She has organized with fast food, retail and community health workers in Washington State, where she was raised.

Puah Sze Ning

Location: Malaysia
Host Organization: Center for Orang Asli Concerns

Sze Ning has been working with indigenous communities in Malaysia for over 15 years, assisting in advocacy training, documenting and welfare aid.

During her Fellowship, Sze Ning will be working with Elroi Yee Ngan Pang (journalist Fellow). She seeks to look into the impact of indigenous communities who, after decades living in government resettlement sites and finding their lives worse off than before, have moved back to their traditional territories. Those territories, however, have not been spared from the impact of development and climate change. Through her Fellowship, Sze Ning will investigate how these communities fare, whether using indigenous knowledge to cope with the current environment can provide enough resilience, and support their initiatives in asserting their rights.

Lenin Tinashe Chisaira

Location: Zimbabwe
Host Organization: Advocates4Earth

Lenin is an activist environmental lawyer based in Zimbabwe. Lenin holds an LLBs Hons (University of Zimbabwe), a PGCert in Environmental and Natural Resources Law (University of London) and a Master of Laws (University College Cork, Ireland). His thesis focused on climate investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lenin has published research and academic works on the environment and climate crises. He is a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental law.

Zimbabwe and most of Southern Africa suffers from climate and environmental injustice, economic inequality, high levels of corruption and restricted civic space for human rights, social and environmental justice work.

Currently Lenin works as the Founder and Director of Advocates4Earth, a non-profit environmental law, climate and wildlife justice organization. Lenin and Advocates4Earth have lobbied and participated in UN environmental conferences such as the 2019 CITES CoP18 (Geneva, Switzerland), the 2018 UNFCCC Cop18 (Poland) and the 2019 CoP25 (Spain).

Under the Bertha Fellowship, Lenin will focus on the human rights, accountability and environmental justice impacts of the relationships between investors, governments and communities in the extraction of coal bed methane in Lupane (Zimbabwe). He will work with affected communities to develop an environmental justice legal handbook and mini-documentary.

Elroi Yee

Location: Malaysia
Host Organization: R.AGE

Elroi is Deputy Executive Producer at R.AGE, a multimedia investigative journalism team based in Malaysia that combines its journalistic work with advocacy campaigns. During his time at R.AGE, the team has been nominated for the Peabody Awards twice.

He aims to document the new migration patterns of indigenous peoples in Malaysia, who are moving out of government resettlement schemes and returning to their original lands. These lands are often exploited by the state and commercial enterprises for profit, leaving little resources for indigenous communities. He will specifically look at the drivers of deforestation and the state structures – and individuals – allowing this to happen. Working in video and print, he plans to also deliver photo and video essays during his Fellowship year.

During his Bertha Challenge Fellowship, Elroi will work with Puah Sze Ning (activist Fellow).