Clair MacDougall


Clair MacDougall is an independent journalist who is based in West Africa. Her work has focused on Liberia’s post-war construction and imperfect attempts to reconcile with its brutal past. She is now reporting on the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region and its impact on the lives of ordinary people. Clair 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 also written about mercenaries, former warlords, justice for war crimes, government corruption, drug abuse, former female combatants and social justice issues and worked as a field producer on award-winning documentaries. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Vogue, Newsweek, Businessweek, Time, Smithsonian Magazine, Stern, Al Jazeera America and Foreign Policy and she has reported from West Africa, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, rural Australia and the United States. Clair holds an honors degree in political theory and a masters from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She has been Great Lakes Reporting Fellow with the International Women's Media Foundation, and was a recent Logan Nonfiction fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good and Art of Journalism Fellow at the MacDowell Colony.

Reporting Locations


| Clair MacDougall

Congo’s Specialty Brews Look to Be the ‘Future of Coffee’

During the first half of the 20th century, as the country was subjected to exploitative Belgian rule, extensive coffee plantations rolled through the green hills of eastern Congo. The country’s beans were roasted in coffee…

| Clair MacDougall

Museveni’s Democracy

Dressed in a charcoal suit and a yellow tie that hung several inches too long, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Uganda’s president of thirty years, sat two chairs away from his longtime political rival Kizza Besigye in…

| Clair MacDougall

The Despor’s Debtors: Why Uganda’s Indian-origin businessmen aid its authoritarian president

On an early March afternoon, the economist and amateur historian Vali Jamal, a slight, soft-spoken Ugandan Indian in his late seventies, showed me a draft of his book-a coverless tome of thousands of pages on…

| Clair MacDougall

Uganda’s President Holds On In the Face of Growing Public Unrest

Ugandan opposition leaders have rejected the results of presidential elections on Feb. 18, citing ballot stuffing, bribery and widespread intimidation by the security forces. The February polls—which returned President Yoweri Museveni to office, where he…

| Clair MacDougall

One Killed as Tensions Rise before Uganda’s Election

James Akena/Reuters Danniel Nsugba, a 36-year-old electrician and father of five, was rushing home from work Monday with his friend and brother, trying, they say, to avoid violence in the lead-up to Uganda’s February 18…