Home‎ > ‎

Forum Freelance Fund Bursaries

Four more freelancers, working for Canadian media in risky parts of Africa, Pakistan, the Middle East and Asia, have been awarded hostile environment training bursaries in the Forum Freelance Fund’s 2017 competition. Click here for the details. 

Forum Freelance Fund bursaries for hostile environment training were simplified in 2016, and these changes remain in force.

The key changes:

  • All approved course providers are now in one group - no more streams. All regular FFF bursaries are now worth $2,500 CDN.
  • Simplified rules of eligibility, emphasizing Canadian media connections.
  • Separate competition and jury for the Portenier Human Rights Bursary. 
  • Competition for regular FFF bursaries opened March 15, 2017 and closed on April 15, 2017.
  • Competition for the Portenier Human Rights Bursary for 2017 opened May 15 and closes June 15.  


These are intended to help Canadian freelancers working abroad, and freelancers of other nationalities with a considerable body of work for at least one Canadian media client, attend hostile environment training courses offered by our approved providers. We expect to award 3 to 5 of these bursaries each year, depending on the availability of funds and the quality of applications.

Courses are currently available in Canada, the United States, Britain, Kenya and Afghanistan. Course providers may add locations from time to time. These are the same kind of courses many staffers now get before they are deployed into potentially dangerous situations. We don’t encourage freelancers - especially inexperienced ones - to place themselves in danger. It is vital that freelancers have a firm grasp of their craft before attempting to work where dangerous conditions will increase the demands on them. Through these bursaries, we try to ensure that freelancers know how to evaluate, reduce or avoid risks and how to handle a range of dangers that now befall journalists in many situations abroad. Courses include appropriate field first aid. 

The regular FFF competition is held in cooperation with Rory Peck Trust (RPT) which may, in its sole discretion, grant additional bursaries to successful candidates. FFF applications are assessed by an independent panel, including a representative of RPT.The Forum and the Rory Peck Trust are both members of the ACOS Alliance, and international group of organizations concerned with the safety of freelance journalists around the world. Full details of the regular FFF competition for 2017 are here. #FFF2017


This bursary was introduced in 2015 and is sponsored by acclaimed filmmaker Giselle Portenier, a member of the Forum's board. It is open to freelance journalists or independent documentary makers with projects focusing on human rights abuses. The competition recognizes that such work can place practitioners in danger equal to that found in many conflict zones.   

The sole winner each year will receive up to C$3,000 or hostile environment training by one of our approved course providers, as listed below. The competition is open to people of any nationality, with no requirement for a Canadian connection. The bursary is for safety training and associated travel only, not general production costs. The 2017 competition is now closed.

Full details of the 2017 Portenier competition are here. #portenierbursary


AKE, Dart Centre at Columbia Journalism School1st Options SecurityGlobal Journalist Security, Pilgrims GroupRemote TraumaSEPAR International,Tundra Group or TYR/Blue Mountain Group. These courses typically run 4 to 5 days. The list of course providers is reviewed from time to time. 



For a selection of comments from previous winners and course providers, click here



For a full list of all previous FFF and Portenier bursary winners, click here.