The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) selected 11 journalists from seven countries to participate as Fellows with the African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative. A group of six women journalists will report from Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) while concurrently five women journalists will cover stories Lubumbashi, in southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both trips will take place May 4-17, 2017
All Fellows will begin their trips in Nairobi, Kenya for a multi-day orientation and security training before departing for their respective reporting locations. While on the ground, fellows will have the opportunity to meet with local journalists, collaborate with international peers, and discover sites and sources relevant to their reporting. This is the IWMF’s eighth trip to Goma, and the first trip to Lubumbashi, DRC.
The IWMF designed the African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative to support journalists interested in pursuing stories that go beyond the well-established narratives of political instability, armed conflicts, and humanitarian crisis in the region. The program was created in 2014, building on the success of earlier IWMF reporting fellowships to the Western Sahara and DRC. To date, 93 journalists have covered a wide range of under-reported topics including humanitarian issues, democracy, food security, and development. Their work has been produced and published by leading media outlets around the world.
During the next four years, the IWMF will continue to lead groups of women journalists to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. By 2019, more than 250 reporters will have together reshaped traditional media narratives about this complicated and promising region. The IWMF pays for fellowship-related expenses including travel, lodging, meals, and fixers/interpreters unless a selected journalist’s news organization wishes to assume these costs.
Visit our blog for updates from #IWMFfellows on the ground.
Sruthi Gottipati is a freelance journalist based in Paris, France. She is also a contributing editor at digital magazine Worldcrunch. She was previously based in India as a local reporter for The New York Times and then as a politics and general news correspondent for Reuters. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in the United States. Gottipati has spent a decade in print, television, and digital media, covering stories that ranged from corruption and sexual violence to natural disasters and terror attacks. A reporting fellowship from the International Women’s Media Foundation took her to Uganda in 2016.
Shayla Harris is a filmmaker based in New York and Paris. She shoots, produces and edits documentaries about gender, race and the legacies of war and trauma. She was most recently senior producer for digital video at Frontline PBS. Before joining Frontline, she managed the production of enterprise videos and web series at The New York Times and won numerous awards for her work, including an Emmy for “Life, Interrupted, a National Magazine Award, a George Foster Peabody, an Overseas Press Club Award and several Emmy nominations. For five years, she worked on award-winning documentaries for Dateline NBC, including as the producer of “The Education of Ms. Groves,” which won a duPont and a Peabody. Harris has been honored as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow, French-American Foundation Young Leaders Fellow and a Pew International Journalism Fellow.
Clair MacDougall is an independent journalist currently based in Monrovia, Liberia. Her recent work has focused on Liberia’s post-war construction and imperfect attempts to reconcile with its brutal past. MacDougall reported on the Ebola outbreak and its aftermath, contributing to the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning coverage and earning her the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund Award. She has written about mercenaries, former warlords, justice for war crimes, government corruption, drug abuse, former female child soldiers, women’s rights and social justice issues and has worked as a field producer on award winning documentaries. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Vogue, Wired, Newsweek, Businessweek, Smithsonian, Time, Al Jazeera America and Foreign Policy and she has reported from West Africa, Uganda, India, rural Australia and the United States. She was a Uganda Great Lakes Reporting Fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Molly Peterson is an independent reporter based in Los Angeles who covers climate change, disaster risk, water, and other environment issues. Most recently, she worked with ISeeChange, a NASA-funded crowdsourced climate journal, reporting on observations from the world over, connecting them to current science. For eight years she was the environment correspondent at Southern California Public Radio. Before that, she lived and worked in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. She has worked for NPR in Culver City and in Washington, DC. on programs including Morning Edition and Day to Day. Current projects will appear in High Country News, on PRI, on WWNO in New Orleans and WRKF in Baton Rouge, and throughout California.
Thembi Wolf is a freelance journalist, based in Berlin, Germany. Her focus is on politics and economics, told in longform features and multimedia formats. She is part of COLLECTEXT, a collective of young journalists, cooperating on stories that strengthen democracy’s spine. Wolf has worked as a mobile reporter for DER TAGESSPIEGEL and written for taz.tageszeitung, Neues Deutschland, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and City Press (South Africa). For the public radio Bayerischer Rundfunk, she has developed the investigative podcast “Banana Republik“ on life and society in eastern Germany. Her multimedia feature informalurbanism.net was nominated for the German Alternative Media Price 2016. Wolf is an alumna of the mentorship programs of the German Female Journalists Association and the New German Media Makers.
Kira Zalan is an American freelance journalist based in Africa, where she has covered counter-radicalization, peace building and sanctions. Zalan is especially interested in stories that illustrate the impact of policies on individuals and communities. She was also formerly an editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she oversaw the publication of feature news magazine The Report, and a reporter for MoneyLaundering.com, where she covered financial regulation and financial crime. Zalan’s freelance work has been published by PRI/GlobalPost, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, The Root, Marie Claire, Redbook, Ms., Rewire, Center for Public Integrity, Global Investigative Journalism Network, Washingtonian and Northern Virginia magazines.
Agnès Bun is the South Asia video correspondent of Agence France-Presse based in New Delhi. She reports on a wide array of stories in the region, ranging from Bangladesh’s disappearing islands to India’s Olympic female wrestlers and illegal child mining in East India. She has lived in Paris, Phnom Penh and Hong Kong and covered major news stories worldwide including the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the Eastern Ukraine conflict in 2014 and the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. Before joining AFP, she worked in Paris as a business reporter for France 2, one of France’s leading broadcasters. She taught journalism at the Hong Kong Baptist University for two years and also won the Daniel Pearl Award in 2010.
Lynsey Chutel covers southern Africa for Quartz Africa, reporting on general news, business, technology and culture. Before joining Quartz, Chutel worked as a correspondent for the Associated Press, covering breaking news and features in southern Africa. Earlier, she was a producer at the South African 24-hour news channel eNCA, where she reported from several countries in Africa, including Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Rwanda.
Laura Kasinof is a freelance print journalist whose works focuses migration, religion, conflict and life after war. She is the author of Don’t Be Afraid of the Bullets: An Accidental War Correspondent in Yemen, a memoir of her time reporting for the New York Times from Yemen, which PRI’s The World named as a top book of 2014. Since leaving Sanaa in 2012, Kasinof has reported feature, investigative stories on the trade of foreign domestic workers in the Middle East, traumas faced by women in the US military, and the refugee crisis in Germany. She’s also written for Harper’s, VQR, the Guardian, the Atlantic, Washington Monthly, Newsweek, GOOD, Guernica, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor and more. Her work has been supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the International Reporting Project and the International Center for Journalists.
Solange Lusiku Nsimire is the editor of Le Souverain, an independent newspaper published in Bukavu, DRC. She is also the winner of the IWMF’s 2014 Courage in Journalism Award. Lusiku Nsimire took over as editor in chief of the paper in 2007, after the death of founder Nunu Salufa. Le Souverain was created in 1992 and since then it has been published monthly, with content devoted to the promotion of democracy and advancement of women’s rights.
Lena Mucha is a freelance photographer based in Berlin who has lived for several years in Latin America and Spain, working on research projects about gender violence and civil resistance for NGOs such as Doctors without Borders. She has been awarded with different international prices as the Photo Annual Awards 2015, the Reporters in the Field Scholarship as well as a scholarship for Magnum photographer Patrick Zachmanns workshop and David Alan Harveys workshop in New York in 2016. With her work about young female cadets in Armenia and Karabakh she has been nominated for the Unicef Photo of the Year Award 2016. Mucha’s work has been exhibited and published internationally (Spiegel, Washington Post, GEO, Stern, BURN Magazine, VICE Colombia, Leica Magazine, Huffington Post, El Pais, Nido Stern, 6mois, Lensculture).