Stories about people and places  



Italy's mafia gets richer as 'security decree' strips migrant rights

Migrant crop pickers are indeed essential to the Italian economy, says Fanizza, and to the lifestyle Europeans enjoy. Yet they are confined in dirty and dangerous slums, far from cities and used as scapegoats for political gains. “When migrants are treated this way, we are leaving them no choice. They are desperate, exhausted, they don’t have a way out,” she says. “It’s the perfect gift for organized crime.” 


“Trattati come animali e picchiati dalla polizia”: le famiglie che l’Europa non vuole

Più di 5.500 persone vivono in strutture sovraffollate in Bosnia, dopo essere state respinte al confine con la Croazia. Le organizzazioni per i diritti umani hanno denunciato migliaia di casi di violenza perpetrata dalla polizia croata. Il reportage di Megan Iacobini De Fazio e le foto di Matteo Trevisan


Why have Gulf-based Filipinos fallen in love with Armenia?

With flights starting from around $300 return, Armenia is one of the cheapest Christian countries for Filipinos to get to from the Gulf, and for the religious Filipino community, much of its allure lies in the possibility of visiting its ancient monasteries and churches. 


Where the Romans Come to Play

The Colli Albani — a pocket of volcanic hills 20 kilometers southeast of Rome — have been inhabited for millennia. Roman emperors used to travel to the area to drink wine, feast on wild boar, and visit their temples and villas. During the turbulent medieval times, noble families built fortresses perched high on the hills with sweeping views of the plains below, and small urban centers flourished around them.

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How are these dedicated women stopping malaria in Ghana?

So far, indoor residual spraying (IRS), where long-lasting insecticides are sprayed on the inside of homes to deter mosquitos, has been one of the most effective malaria control interventions in Ghana. “When we started in 2006, our goal was to reduce malaria cases by 50%, but two years later the reported cases had gone down by 75%,” says Samuel Asiedu, director of AGAMal

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Tere Siga

The Ethiopian dish known as tere siga offers exactly what it promises. Translating to “raw meat,” the meal consists of thick strips of just that: raw meat, usually cut off a hanging carcass (most often, a cow), served with a fiery spice blend (mitmita) and a small bowl of a runny, spicy mustard sauce (senafich). 


The camel jerky that seals Somali weddings

Tucked away in a corner of the market in Somaliland’s capital of Hargeisa is a little opening where dozens of women sit cutting up chunks of meat into thin strips, which they then string up on washing lines in the sun.


Homenaje al rohingya defensor de los derechos humanos y otros héroes modernos

La mañana del 10 de junio, el abogado y activista rohingya Kyaw Hla Aung fue proclamado Premio Aurora 2018. Aung recibió el reconocimiento a una vida dedicada a luchar a favor de la igualdad, la educación y los derechos humanos del pueblo rohingya de Myanmar, y fue gratificado con los 1,1 millones de dólares del premio en una ceremonia celebrada en Armenia, al amanecer.


La democracia por sí sola no basta

La autoproclamada república de Somalilandia tendrá que superar muchos obstáculos antes de convertirse en un Estado pleno, y muchos de ellos están relacionados con los derechos de sus ciudadanos, en especial, las mujeres


Can Somaliland's New President Steer it Toward International Recognition? 

The candidate of Somaliland’s ruling party, Musa Bihi Abdi, was finally declared the new president of this semi-autonomous region of northwestern Somalia late last month, after eight days of counting, recounting and closed-door negotiations between him, his main rival and the National Electoral Commission. Now Bihi faces the task of dealing with Somaliland’s many challenges, most of all turning a nascent democracy and East African success story into a fully functioning and independent state recognized by the world. 


Kenya's High Priestess of Graffiti

Known to her fans as a high priestess of graffiti, Nancy ‘Chela’ Chelagat Cherwon is one of Kenya’s few female street artists. Despite resistance from her family, she earns a living from her skills and is challenging stereotypes around street art. PHOTOS by Rachel Clara Reed

Founded by refugees, this school offers education to underprivileged students

Sud Academy, which currently has about 200 students enrolled, seeks to provide education despite these challenges. Around 80 percent of children who attend the school are refugees – mostly from South Sudan – but the school actively welcomes Kenyan children from the local community who could not otherwise afford school fees or associated costs.

Armenia usa el dolor del pasado para mejorar el presente

Mientras los oscuros y gélidos meses de invierno se fundían para dar paso a los primeros días soleados de la primavera, Ereván (capital de Armenia) parecía una ciudad en permanente fiesta. Modernos jóvenes se sentaban en las cafeterías que bordean cada calle, sorbiendo café con hielo, sosteniendo cervezas y haciéndose selfies; ocultos en patios y callejones, abuelos ancianos jugaban al backgammon o el ajedrez, charlando entre cigarrillo y cigarrillo, y todas las noches la grandiosa Plaza de la República cobraba vida con el espectáculo de luz y sonido de la llamativa fuente.

How this amazing school quickly improved girls’ attendance

In a 2015 study of over 3000 women in rural Western Kenya, 75% of females reported using commercial pads and 25% used traditional materials such as cloth or items like paper or tissue, which can be unhygienic and could lead to infection. In the same study, one in ten 15-year-old girls reported engaging in sex for money to buy sanitary pads.


Kenya deports high-profile refugee after Facebook post, sparking concerns

On the morning of Nov. 2, Kenyan armed forces entered the house of James Gatdet Dak and informed him that he was being arrested and deported back to Juba, South Sudan, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.




Italy on course with EU over debt and currency plan

Roma, Italy - Tensions are running high after the European Commission warned last week it was ready to take disciplinary action against Italy for consistently breaching the EU's debt rules and flouting warnings to cut its deficit and reduce its public debt.


Far-right protesters target Roma family in Rome

Rome, Italy - Hundreds of Italian neo-fascists have taken to the streets of a suburb in Rome to protest against the arrival of a Roma family in the neighbourhood. Tensions ran high as anti-fascist groups also gathered in the area on Wednesday, with the police separating the two factions to avoid clashes.


After ‘Salvini decree’ evictions, refugees in Italy face an uncertain future

By creating further unemployment and forcing people to live without proper permits, Salvini’s xenophobic rhetoric and anti-immigrant policies are likely to have tangible and dangerous consequences for Italy. 


Why are so many women being murdered in Uganda?

Kampala, Uganda - Noah Musiba sat by the door all night listening out for a noise that would signal the return of his wife. His nine-year-old daughter, Sheerat, lay on a mattress on the floor by his feet, wide awake.

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‘Going back is not an option’: A Refugee Family Trapped at the Edge of Fortress Europe

All the guests at Rio Mare are refugees. Some have been walking for months, while others left home years ago, stopping in Turkey or Greece to find work and save up for the next leg of the journey. They come from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan, and they are among the thousands of people currently stuck in Bosnia.


These female doctors are changing the lives of fistula survivors in Somaliland

“I always felt there was a need to provide Somalilanders with better healthcare,” says Edna, whose doctor father she credits with inspiring her to pursue medicine. “And that’s why, as a child, I decided I would build a hospital.”


Meet the women fighting cheetah smuggling in Somaliland

“Somaliland, to our knowledge, is one of the worst places for cheetah trafficking,” says Patricia Tricorache, who has been investigating the trade in the Horn of Africa for the Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund.


This scientist helps Kenyan communities access clean water and toilets

Quick to laugh and always quick with facts and figures, Joyce studied microbiology at university but decided that lab life wasn’t for her. She wanted to work in a way that merges science and practical solutions that have life-changing impacts on the communities that need them most.  


This activist is committed to ending FGM in Somaliland

The election presented Somaliland’s women with the unique opportunity to make their voices heard, and open up a conversation about women’s rights and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).


Journalist Megan Iacobini De Fazio on her love for all things Huddersfield Town

Reporter speaks to the Huddersfield Town Supporters Association on the difficulties of finding a decent bar to watch the Terriers in Somaliland

This teacher’s experience as a refugee helps him make a big impact on his students

 He was only 12 when the Khartoum government’s forces attacked his village. In the confusion, Ayuel and his 5-year-old brother, who had been severely injured in the attack, were separated from their parents. Ayuel would not talk to them again for more than 15 years.


How football is changing the lives of girls in Kenya

“Discovering football is the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Claris Akinyi, sitting behind her tidy desk in the principal’s office in Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA). When she was 11, Claris spent her days looking after her sick mother and helping run her family’s boiled maize stand. When she became a member of the Kibera Girls football team, her life changed overnight.


Helping girls achieve their education through internet access and technology

Kibiko is one of 205 primary schools across four Kenyan counties to be part of the iMlango program, which aims to improve education by delivering internet access, computer labs, smartcard-based attendance monitoring, and online learning tools to primary school children.


Are ‘clean’ solid-fuel cookstoves the solution or part of the problem?

BURN Manufacturing in Nairobi is one of the biggest players in this major global initiative to get cleaner solid-fuel cookstoves into the hands of the poor. But some say this approach, by BURN and other social enterprises focused on building a better cookstove, is contributing to the problem they aim to solve.


Is Kenya’s crackdown on NGOs about fair wages, or silencing government critics?

The fallout continues over a move by Kenya’s Nongovernmental Board to address the wage disparity between local and foreign workers, with some suggesting that the motives have more to do with silencing government critics than wage fairness. But the issue of wages has taken hold with locals, creating a complex situation.

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Ethiopia's Simien Mountains: Trekking On The Roof Of The World

Hiking the Simien Mountains is a world-class experience which offers stunning views of awe-inspiring jagged peaks and sharp precipices, as well as the chance to spot some endemic wildlife such as the rare Ethiopian wolf and the elusive Walia Ibex. Challenging enough for most hillwalkers, this trek can be enjoyed by people with different levels of experience and fitness.


Un Lannister siempre se implica

“Este es un gran ejemplo de personas que se reúnen para divertirse y, al mismo tiempo, plantear una cuestión muy importante”, comenta Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Su voz es apenas audible en medio de la algarabía, los gritos de ánimo a las jugadoras y la música atronadora


'Saving lives isn't a crime': Italy slammed for 'security decree'

Rome, Italy - The Italian government has come under fire after passing a "security decree" that aims to curb migration by punishing charity search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, despite repeated warnings - including from the United Nations - that the new rules violate the rights of refugees and rescuers alike.


The EU’s Dirty Work: Violence and Abuse at Europe’s Doorstep is Keeping Refugees Out

 This is not a mistake but rather a cornerstone of the EU’s de facto policy, said Bodo Weber. By preventing people from entering its borders, he explained, the EU is washing its hands of any responsibility for their safety while shifting the burden onto non-EU members.“Keeping as many asylum seekers away from EU territory, by tolerating the profound undermining core values of the EU — human rights and the rule of law — has turned into the core of the EU policy,” Weber said.


Italian cities 'turn back the clock' on women’s reproductive rights

It’s been 40 years since Italy legalized abortion with a landmark vote, but many women still struggle to access the procedure. The very law that decriminalizes abortion, in fact, contains a clause that exempts doctors and other medical personnel from performing a termination if they “have a conscientious objection, declared in advance.”

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The Kenyan Beach Town Malindi Is a Tropical Paradise—With a Mafia Problem

It’s low-season in Malindi, a small town on the Kenyan coast where the Galana River spills its muddy waters into the Indian Ocean. An important port city since at least the 13th century, Malindi has been settled over centuries by Arab traders, the Portuguese (explorer Vasco de Gama met Malindi authorities in 1498 to sign a trade agreement, and the coral pillar he built still stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the ocean), the British, and most recently by thousands of Italians.

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'Leave now, pay later' migration scams lure Somali teens to their deaths

When Hanab Ahmed's 18-year-old son Mohammed did not come home for lunch or answer his phone, she feared that he - like several other teenagers who had disappeared from their neighbourhood - had set off for Europe, risking kidnapping and death.


Displaced, dignified, determined: highly skilled refugees

We meet four among the thousands of Congolese people living in Kakuma refugee camp, a vast expanse of huts and tents in the arid plains of north-western Kenya. Before conflict interrupted life as they knew it, these refugees were doctors, lawyers and peacebuilders. 


Meet the Teenagers Who Started a Film Production Studio in Their Refugee Camp

In 2011, a 19-year-old Congolese refugee named Jean Michelle Batakane returned to the camp after studying at the East African Media Institute in Nairobi. Using his pocket money, a small camcorder and a laptop he was given as a gift, Batakane started Season of the Times Media Productions... VIDEO by Rachel Clara Reed


Somaliland vote: Young people decry clan politics

"The last generation has failed us," agrees Khadar Mariano, himself a youth activist and founder of YEEL Volunteers, an organisation working to improve Somaliland's education system. "But not voting is not an option here."


Five things you need to know about Somaliland's vote

After a seven-year wait, Somaliland will go to the polls to elect a new leader. Here are five things you need to know: 


Breaking Taboos in Zanzibar

Donning brightly coloured kangas and headscarves, several women take their place around a large, bright room, furrowing their brows as they tune their instruments. Vibrant laughter, the quivering sound of the violin, the rhythmic thumps of the percussion and the hypnotic hum of a female voice chaotically compete with each other, until the appearance of Mariam Hamdani in the doorway brings the cacophony to a halt. PHOTOS by Rachel Clara Reed


That time I let myself be taken captive -because I didn't want to be rude

Every woman knows the delicate dance of standing up to pushy men while not coming off as “that bitch.” When I traveled solo in Iran, that mental dance became a nightmare.


How one man is connecting Kakuma refugee camp to the rest of the world

When Innocent fled his native Democratic Republic of the Congo and arrived in the Kakuma refugee camp in 2009, he felt as if he couldn’t have been any further from the rest of the world.


Serafina’s family encouraged her to stay in school. Now she wants other girls to have that chance.

Despite some of the challenges the school faces – lack of funding has resulted in overcrowded classrooms and inadequate facilities – Serafina is grateful to Sud Academy for giving her the opportunity to gain an education, but also for educating South Sudanese students, who she believes will one day help rebuild the country.


Olympic hopefuls bring inspiration to refugee camp

The Kakuma camp residents – who number more than 200,000 – have been gathering nightly to cheer on Team Refugee in the Rio Olympics, the first ever team made up of people displaced by war, famine and persecution. The screens have been streaming live coverage of the Olympics in a collaboration between the UN High Commission for Refugees, FilmAid and Amnesty International.


When less is more

 Eateries in Nairobi’s Westlands area come a dime a dozen, usually housed in clubs with loud music and sticky floors, serving kebabs and chips to late-night revelers. But only a few minutes up the road lies Juniper Kitchen, a newly opened spot that takes patrons a world away from the typical offerings of the neon light–lined Electric Avenue.


Kenya cracks down on foreign NGO workers, citing wage disparity

Thousands of foreign nongovernmental organization workers in Kenya risk losing their jobs after the NGO Board announced a tightening of employment rules late last month. Organizations fear that the move could affect their work in the country, and many have accused the Kenyan government of scare tactics and inflammatory rhetoric.