The Huffington Post has announced a six-figure grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of a year-long project aimed at raising awareness of neglected tropical diseases and the efforts under way to eliminate them.
Using the digital publication's RYOT video platform, Project Zero will focus its coverage on stories of success, collaboration, and hope, as well as the lives of the people in communities affected by one of the eighteen neglected tropical diseases recognized by the World Health Organization. The centerpiece of the project will be a fundraising campaign aimed at eliminating African trypanosomiasis, also known as Sleeping sickness, a deadly parasitic disease that is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In collaboration with the crowdfunding platform Crowdrise and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, a nonprofit created by Doctors Without Borders, the project will encourage readers to take direct action to raise the $5 million needed to complete the development of new treatments for the disease.
With the grant, the Huffington Post will hire a journalist and video producer to work in Africa in collaboration with RYOT filmmakers. According to a statement released by the project, "[all] 'Project Zero' content is editorially independent, with no influence or input from the foundation."
"With Project Zero, we have an opportunity to bring attention to a range of incredible human stories that have been almost completely ignored outside the scientific and medical communities," said Jo Confino, executive editor of impact and innovation at the Huffington Post. "And beyond telling stories, we're giving HuffPost's global audience a chance to make history by helping eliminate a killer disease — at a time when our country, and the world, really need a reminder of our capacity to come together."