2017 South Sudan Fellows

ZanzibarThe International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) selected five journalists to participate as Fellows on the August 2017 African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative to South Sudan.

Fellows began their trip in Nairobi, Kenya, where they completed an orientation and Hostile Environments and First Aid Training (HEFAT) from August 6 – 9. They then departed for eight days of in-country work from August 10 – 19. The journalists covered stories related to the trip theme of the impact of international aid.

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.

South Sudan Fellows (2017)


Tanya Birkbeck is a Beirut-based freelance journalist with more than 15 years’ experience reporting in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. She works in print, radio and television, both in front of and behind the camera. After growing up on her family’s farm in Canada, Tanya has gone on to travel the world, using journalism to foster understanding between people of different cultures and religions. In her reporting, Tanya aims to give a voice to vulnerable girls and women. She is also interested in how art, fashion and culture intersect with politics. Tanya has primarily reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation but has also filed for The Globe and Mail, CNN, NPR and Radio New Zealand. Tanya is committed to mentoring journalists in developing countries. She has worked in South Sudan as a journalism trainer with Internews and as a radio consultant with the United Nations.


Ryan Lenora Brown is The Christian Science Monitor’s Johannesburg Bureau Chief, covering sub-Saharan Africa for the Monitor’s website and weekly news magazine. Prior to joining the Monitor staff full-time, she freelanced extensively across the region for publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera, among others. She is a former Fulbright fellow and fellow of the International Reporting Project. Since 2015 she has been a Connect fellow with the IWMF, and has traveled with the organization to Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania.


Patricia Huon is a Belgian freelance journalist based in Johannesburg. Since she arrived in South Africa in 2009, she has been covering various stories around Sub-Saharan Africa. Nelson Mandela’s death, the political crisis in Burundi, elections in DRC and CAR, the economy breakdown in Zimbabwe, the Ebola outbreak, South Soudan Independence and civil war, Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria… Her work has been published in Libération, La Libre Belgique, La Presse, L’Obs, among other outlets. She is also a regular contributor to TV5, Radio Canada, Deutsche Welle, RTBF and Radio Télévision Suisse. Over the past 7 years, Patricia covered a wide range of issues, from politics to culture, and developed a particular interest for conflict and post-conflict situations. She graduated with a degree in journalism from the Institut de Journalisme Bordeaux-Aquitaine, France.


Maeve Frances is an independent radio reporter and producer based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has spent the past seven years living in the Middle East and Asia and enjoys producing sound-rich audio features and documentaries for public radio stations based in Australia, Europe and the United States. Originally from Perth, Maeve received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Australia.


Sara Hylton is currently based between Brooklyn, New York and New Delhi, India and covers women’s issues and human rights. Sara’s principal medium is the portrait; resilience, humanity, and the quiet beauty in everyday life guides her work and the stories she covers. Sara completed a post-graduate certificate in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the International Center of Photography and also holds a Master of Arts in International Conflict Studies from Kings College London. She has received multiple grants to report internationally and her work can be seen in outlets including the New York Times, the LA Times, Bloomberg News, the Financial Times Magazine, Al Jazeera, Smithsonian Magazine, Vogue Magazine, Refinery 29, CNN and more.


Lily Kuo covers East Africa and China in Africa from Nairobi. She previously reported for Quartz from Hong Kong. Before that she covered general news for Reuters in New York and Washington and reported for the Los Angeles Times in Beijing. She holds a dual master’s degree in international affairs from the London School of Economics and Peking University, as well as degrees in English and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She won the 2014 Society of Business Editors and Writers award for international feature for a series on China’s water crisis.