The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) selected 12 journalists from seven countries to participate as Fellows with the African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative. A group of six women journalists will report on development and humanitarian issues from South Sudan. Concurrently, six women journalists will cover stories about conservation and sustainable agriculture from Tanzania. Both trips will take place May 1-14, 2016.
All fellows will begin their trips in Nairobi, Kenya for a multi-day orientation and security training before departing for their respective reporting countries. 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 first trip to South Sudan and second trip to Tanzania.
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, 67 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.
Robyn Dixon reports from Johannesburg, South Africa, for the Los Angeles Times and has been a foreign correspondent for 22 years, covering Africa since 2003. She has won awards for her coverage, including the Robert F. Kennedy award for international reporting, the Batten Medal, the Daniel Pearl Award for courage and integrity in reporting, and the Sigma Delta Chi award for international reporting. Dixon has worked in daily journalism since 1978, covering a range of beats for several newspapers in her native Australia. In 1993 she went to Moscow as a correspondent, and covered the former USSR and wars in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Iraq. She has been with the Los Angeles Times since 1999.
In Africa, she covered the Darfur crisis, Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, post-election violence in Kenya, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the death of Nelson Mandela, and the Ebola outbreak, among other stories.
Sara Hylton is a freelance Canadian documentary photographer based between Brooklyn, New York, and New Delhi, India. Her principal medium is the portrait. Hylton completed a post-graduate certificate in photojournalism and documentary photography from the International Center of Photography, and she holds a Master of Arts in international conflict studies from King’s College London. She was awarded a Magnum Foundation Fellowship in 2015 and was also nominated for PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to watch (2014 & 2015). Brooklyn’s Photoville festival also featured her work among 10 emerging photographers (2015).
Hylton has worked for The New York Times, the Financial Times, Reuters, Smithsonian Magazine, The Guardian, and American Photo, among others. She has also worked with several non-profit organizations including the Gates Foundation, the Danish Refugee Council, Rainforest Alliance, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Rescue Committee, among others.
Siobhán O’Grady is a staff writer at Foreign Policy magazine in Washington, D.C. At FP, she runs the website’s international news blog and focuses her enterprise reporting largely on the diplomatic side of conflicts in Africa, including the growing threat of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region, as well as the failed peace process in South Sudan, and civil unrest in Burundi. Last year, she reported from Eastern Congo with the IWMF. O’Grady joined FP from the Houston Chronicle’s Washington bureau, where she reported on border security, drug cartels, prison reform, and all things Ted Cruz. Her work has appeared on WBUR-Boston and in the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. A Boston native, she holds a dual degree in political science and French from Dickinson College, has lived in Morocco and Cameroon, and has also reported from Senegal.
Nina Strochlic is a staff writer covering all things exploration for National Geographic magazine in Washington, D.C. She previously worked for The Daily Beast focusing on international issues and breaking news. She has visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo three times as an IWMF Fellow and later an IWMF Connect Fellow, working on stories ranging from the Congolese army of Jack Bauers to a lost Belgian resort island on the Congo River. She’s also reported from Rwanda, Jordan, and the Balkans. Her work has been published in Vice, National Geographic Traveler, Marie Claire, and elsewhere. She graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.
Alice Su is a freelance journalist based in Beijing, China, formerly in Amman, Jordan. Her work focuses on refugees, religion, China, and the Middle East, and has been published in The Guardian, The Atlantic, BBC News, Foreign Policy, and Al Jazeera, among other outlets. Su has reported from Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia, China, the United States, Israel, and Palestine. She won the 2014 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize (gold) from the United Nations Correspondents Association for her work on refugee survival in Jordan and Lebanon.
Su graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in China Studies as a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, focusing on Islam in China and Sino-Middle Eastern relations. Su is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and proficient in Levantine Arabic.
Alexia Webster is a South African documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Johannesburg. From creating family portrait studios in refugee camps to documenting youth culture in South Africa, her work explores intimacy and identity across the African continent. Her photographs have been featured in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Le Monde, WIRED, and CNN, among others. She has received a number of awards including the Artraker Award for Art in Conflict, the POPCAP award for Contemporary African Photography, and the Frank Arisman Scholarship at the International Center of Photography in New York.
Benedicta Asiimwe is a Kampala, Uganda-based special correspondent for The EastAfrican newspaper. Since joining The EastAfrican – a regional newspaper that publishes in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – in 2011, Asiimwe has written about economics, development, environment, agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, and other social issues. She started her career as a parliamentary reporter with Sunrise newspaper, later working as a political writer with Independent magazine. In 2015, Asiimwe was runner up in the African Story Challenge for business and technology reporting, and was runner up in the CNN Multichoice African Journalist of the Year Awards in 2015. She has a Bachelor of Science in quantitative economics.
Courtney Brooks is a New York-based freelance news and features editor specializing in international diplomacy in sub-Saharan Africa, the United States, the Middle East, and the former Soviet bloc. She has nine years of experience as a reporter, writer, and editor, including three years as an editor at Al Jazeera America and 18 months covering the United Nations and New York for Radio Free Europe. Her work has also appeared in World Policy Journal, The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and The Irish Times, among others. She graduated with a degree in journalism and international affairs from Northeastern University.
Marcelle Hopkins is a New York-based freelance journalist and VR filmmaker specializing in human rights and humanitarian crisis reporting. She recently directed a virtual reality documentary on South Sudan for PBS’s series FRONTLINE and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, called On the Brink of Famine. In 2015, Hopkins received a Magic Grant from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and a Social Justice Media Fellowship from the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. In 2014, she wrote and produced an interactive documentary on Sri Lanka’s recovery from civil war, which won a UN Foundation Prize and a Horizon Interactive Award. During seven years at Al Jazeera’s United Nations bureau, she covered nearly every major international conflict and crisis of the past decade. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dana Ullman is a New York-based freelance photojournalist and writer whose work focuses on humanizing statistics and social issues through storytelling. Her work has been published by The New York Times, TIME, CNN, and The Atlantic, among others. In 2014, Ullman received a grant from the Puffin Foundation to continue her project “Another Kind of Prison”, which documents the effects of incarceration on women and communities. In 2015, she received a Community Health Reporting Fellowship from the International Center for Journalists to produce a two-part series on older immigrants in New York City and the challenges they face in accessing social services and healthcare. She attended the Danish School of Journalism’s International Photojournalism Program and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Francisco State University.
Malavika Vyawahare is a New York-based science journalist who started her career at The New York Times bureau in her native India. There she covered a range of issues, including politics and health. She completed a master’s degree in science, environment, and health reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2015, where she was the Robert Wood Johnson fellow. Vyawahare has reported extensively on health issues in India and on climate change in the U.S. She tries to bridge the gap between narratives about the environment in the developed and developing worlds through the written word, data, and multimedia.
She is currently working on a long-form climate change story in the U.S. with a grant from the Society for Environmental Journalists. Her reporting on maternal and child health won the Global Health Reporting Contest administered by the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C.
Venus Wu is a video journalist with Reuters News Agency based in Hong Kong. For the past four years she has covered political and general news in the former British colony as it grapples with issues related to democracy. In her current post, Wu films a range of political and general news stories in Hong Kong, from mass protests to fake iPhones. Conservation is also a top theme in her coverage.
Wu attended Cornell University and cut her teeth on journalism at its student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun.