Arwa Aburawa works across continents and mediums to tell the stories of people on the frontlines of climate change and public health problems. She is a freelance filmmaker and print journalist based in London, where she was previously a staff producer at Al Jazeera.
Arriving in Mexico City from London, Arwa hit the ground running in our Hostile Environment Training. She is a Guatemala Adelante fellow, reporting on water rights and indigenous communities. This is her first time reporting in Guatemala, and she says, “I was keen to broaden my horizons and report in such an important region for environmental and climate issues.”
While her start was at newspapers in the UK, Arwa has also produced films and videos around the world. She enjoys striking a balance between the two mediums.
“Print is very solitary, and you have a lot of control,” she says. “Film you have a much bigger team. I like doing a bit of both.”
Arwa is from Manchester and professes to be a serious Beatles fan. After we met, she asked me if I was a fan of “Martha My Dear.” Growing up in the UK, she often traveled to Jordan with her family.
After studying Politics and Modern History as an undergraduate, Arwa completed a master’s degree in International Journalism. Since then, she has reported from countries including Iran, Burkina Faso, Uganda and El Salvador.
A decade into her career, she has developed a unique beat, highlighting communities in developing countries impacted by environmental and public health pressures. In a 2016 feature for Al Jazeera, she reported on the epidemic of CKDu, a chronic form of kidney disease, among sugar cane workers in El Salvador. Another film she worked on at Al Jazeera documents how Iran’s water crisis impacts farmers and food security.
She says that her reporting in Iran was both “the most difficult and the most fun” of her many international reporting trips. Arwa doesn’t shy away from reporting in conflict zones, and her work brings out the underlying factors in conflict that are often under-reported: water, land rights, economic marginalization.
Arwa applied for an Adelante fellowship to Guatemala to report on indigenous communities advocating for water rights and other environmental justice issues.
“People in developing nations are going to be the worst affected [by climate change], and I’ve always been curious about inequality and climate change,” she says. Applying her unique reporting lens, Arwa is poised to uncover important environmental stories in Guatemala.
By Martha Pskowski, Fall 2018 Guatemala Reporting Fellow