Tuesday 3 October 2023

Devex: Why a holistic approach is vital to tackling childhood malnutrition

Mam Nodanile lives in a so-called last-mile community in Nomadolo, South Africa. The grandmother cares for 12 grandchildren in a rondavel, a traditional one-bedroomed circular hut.

The parents of her grandchildren have all either died or left the remote homestead for the city. “I struggle to put together food, to feed them even simple porridge,” she told staff from charity One to One Africa, which is addressing cases of malnutrition among the family.

Since 2000, global cases of stunting and wasting — common measures of childhood malnutrition — have reduced. But jointly-researched data from UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank warns alarming rates among children aged under 5 still persist. Stunting affected an estimated 22.3% of children in this age group in 2022 — about 148 million. Wasting threatened the lives of an estimated 6.8% or 45 million.

But beyond the statistics, the reality is that tackling poor early childhood nutrition is highly complex — solving physical deficiencies alone does not address the extent of the problem…

Read the full story on Devex.

Friday 1 September 2023

TVN Warner Bros Discovery and Tygodnik Powszechny


I gave an interview to Polish television channel TVN's Fakty Po Południu about how children in Ukraine are coping during the war, to mark the beginning of a new school year. 

I also spoke to Polish weekly magazine Tygodnik Powszechny about children, you can read the article online (with a subscription). 

"Jestem pod wrażeniem tego, jak dzieci są zmotywowane do nauki, nie pozwalają, aby wojna zmarnowała ich przyszłość." 

"I'm always amazed by how children are motivated to continue their studies, and do not allow the war to ruin their futures."

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Freelancing For Journalists Podcast


I spoke on the Freelancing For Journalists podcast about my work covering how the war in Ukraine is impacting children's mental health and education.

This followed my receiving the Freelancing For Journalists 2023 Best Print Journalist Award. 

You can listed to the podcast here

Monday 12 June 2023

Equal Times - Around the world cities are seeing the benefits of creating more space for children to play


Adriana Quiñones’ neighbourhood on the eastern side of Cali in Colombia, is a mass of irregular vertical housing blocks. Children’s play areas seldom appear among the exposed brick, flat roofs and concrete roads. But the main reason the 16 year old grew up afraid to play outside was the violence.

“My neighbourhood provoked a lot of fear,” she says in a video describing the impact of an initiative to improve the community for children. “Fear of going out and not knowing whether someone would shoot you.”

Read the full article on Equal Times.

Sunday 12 March 2023

iNews: Russian volunteers risking their safety to return kidnapped children to Ukraine

Before his
 country invaded Ukraine, Russian priest Grigory Mikhnov-Vaitenko volunteered in jails with Ukrainian political prisoners accused of pro-Ukrainian activism. Today his work focuses on a different kind of alleged detainee: Ukrainian children...

Read the full story on inews.co.uk.

My regular reporting on Ukraine for iNews is available on my author page

Friday 17 February 2023

Telegraph Comment: Putin's forgotten victims deserve our support

Today, like every day, 16-year old Daria will learn online instead of attending her school

in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. She is undeterred by the fact lessons will likely be interrupted

by air raids. Last Friday, she sheltered in a corridor from 4am for the entire day after

Russia hurled at least 18 missiles in her direction. Alarms in her region have sounded

almost every day since. 

About 4.7 million children enrolled in education in Ukraine live like Daria. Power outages

dictate their schedules. Air raid alarms signal the end of lessons rather than school bells.

But who would know? Children’s new normal – a life of wartime disruption, fear and

trauma – is considered by too many as old news...

Read the full piece on Telegraph.co.uk.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Telegraph Podcast - Ukraine: The Latest


Understanding the struggle for Ukraine's children, after nearly a year of war.

Today, freelance journalist Gabriella Jozwiak told The Telegraph's Ukraine: The Latest podcast about the experience of children in Ukraine, one year on from the start of the full scale invasion.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or YouTube, and the Telegraph website.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Children & Young People Now: Escaping The War In Ukraine: A New Life For Children In Care


Within days of Russia invading Ukraine in February last year, orphanage “mother” Nadiia Kudriavtseva told the nine children in her care to pack a single backpack of belongings and prepare to flee.


“We could hear the explosions and feel the whole earth shaking,” she recalls. “At that moment we decided: it's time to leave.”

The children were among more than 50 children and young people aged two to 18 who were helped to leave Ukraine by small Scottish charity Dnipro Kids. They are understood to be the first and only group of care-experienced young people evacuated to the UK...

Read the full story on CYPNow.co.uk.

Monday 19 December 2022

Nursery World: Ukraine kindergartens appeal for help in winter power crisis

Nursery managers in war-torn Ukraine are appealing to UK early education providers for urgent help, as they cope with a crippling power supply crisis over the winter.

Settings across the country have been left without heating, lighting and electricity after Russia’s forces destroyed about half of the country’s energy infrastructure.

Some areas also have no running water as winter brings snow storms and sub-zero temperatures.

Meanwhile missile strikes continue to force people to spend hours taking cover in bomb shelters every day…

Read the full story on Nursery World

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Telegraph Podcast - Ukraine: The Latest


My appearance on the Telegraph's daily podcast to highlight the impact of the war on children in Ukraine.

Listen on YouTube

I made this appearance as part of my work for the 2022 Early Childhood Global Reporting Fellowship at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at the Columbia Journalism School.

Friday 21 October 2022

Equal Times - What impact has the war had on Ukraine’s child-focused workers?

Maryna Mykolayivna’s eyes are hot with tears. She stabs the air angrily with pointed fingers as she describes how on 24 February 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, her employer at an orphanage in the eastern city of Lusychansk told her to immediately evacuate five children to another institution in Lviv – more than one thousand kilometres away.

“I didn’t want to go,” says the assistant educator. “I have two daughters and three grandchildren.” Maryna has been in the western city of Lviv, just 70 kilometres from the Polish border, for nearly eight months now. “I miss my home. I’m living in the orphanage 24 hours a day. I can’t rent my own place – I’m paid, but not enough. You couldn’t understand what I’m going through unless you’d gone through it yourself. I’m on the brink of leaving.”

As she speaks, the shrieking of children in the room intensifies. The group of 11 children aged three to eight years at the Lviv Children’s Shelter are stressed themselves. The state placed these children into institutional care after judging their parents unfit to care for them. They have already suffered domestic traumas; now they are living in a state of war...

Read the full story on Equal Times.

This article was written as part of my work for the 2022 Early Childhood Global Reporting Fellowship at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at the Columbia Journalism School.

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Daily Telegraph - Metal bars, heavy sandbags and air raid shelters – the battle to reopen schools in Ukraine

Back to school preparations have never been more grim. Svitlana Bozhko and her colleagues at the Lviv District Gymnasium spent the summer installing metal bars across windows and blocking others from potential missile blasts with heavy sandbags. Then, the teachers boxed and hauled up the entire school library from its basement to the third floor, to create an enormous air raid shelter.

But despite the risks that lie ahead, Bozhko laughs joyfully at the prospect of the new

term beginning on September 1. “We are really looking forward to it,” she said. “If I

were a teacher in Kharkhiv I wouldn’t be so happy, believe me...”

Read the full story on thetelegraph.co.uk.

And the follow-up piece: Joy and trauma meet as Ukraine’s children return to classrooms.

This article was written as part of my work for the 2022 Early Childhood Global Reporting Fellowship at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at the Columbia Journalism School.

Friday 26 August 2022

Devex - In Ukraine, children and parents are battling trauma; help is elusive

LVIV, Ukraine — Like millions of Ukrainians, Daria — 33 and pregnant — fled her home with her husband and 3-year-old daughter Sofia, whose real name is concealed to protect her privacy, to avoid deadly Russian missiles flying overhead. 

“We decided to leave in March after I saw on television that women were giving birth in shelters and underground stations,” Daria tells Devex, resting her arm on her rounded belly. “I didn’t want that to be me…”

Read the full story on Devex.com. (You'll need to register to read). 

This article was written as part of my work for the 2022 Early Childhood Global Reporting Fellowship at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at the Columbia Journalism School.

Friday 5 August 2022

Nursery World - Finding hope: reporting from Ukraine's war-torn kindergartens

The scene is the same as the start of any sunny June nursery day. Parents drop off their children at the gate. Nursery workers greet them warmly, help them remove their backpacks, check their sunhats are on. And off the children run to play on the trampoline or climbing frame, with a cheerful shriek. But a closer look reveals something different: a pile of sandbags by the kindergarten’s wall. The children’s bags kept nearby in case an air-raid siren goes off. Parents lingering a little longer, perhaps, as they say goodbye. This is wartime early education in Ukraine. And these children, who can still go to nursery, are the lucky ones...

Read the full cover story in this month's issue of Nursery World, or on NurseryWorld.co.uk

This article was written as part of my work for the 2022 Early Childhood Global Reporting Fellowship at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at the Columbia Journalism School.

Thursday 4 August 2022

Devex - ‘I don’t know where I caught it’: War derails Ukraine’s TB fight

Mikola Zdruk, 53, leans back wearily on the bench outside the shelter for displaced people in a suburb of the city of Lviv, western Ukraine. A bed in a shared room in the basement of a block of flats has been his home for the past four weeks. He fled from the Zaporizhzhia region, eastern Ukraine after Russian forces invaded the country on Feb. 24. 

“I saw explosions and missiles,” he said weakly, between deep, gravelly coughs. “When I arrived in Lviv on an evacuation train, I was sent for an X-ray. The doctors said I had tuberculosis.” 

Read the full story on Devex.com.

Friday 11 March 2022

Devex - Aid organizations rush to protect Ukraine's children from Russia's war


"On Thursday at 11 a.m., two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, the country’s commissioner for human rights Liudmyla Denisova posted on Telegram that 71 children had died and more than 100 had been injured.

This included two children and their mother killed by Russian mortar fire as they fled the town of Irpin near Kyiv on Sunday. And a child was killed Wednesday, when a Russian airstrike hit a maternity and children's hospital in the city of Mariupol.

“For Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, the atrocities of Russian militants, and the violation of all Geneva conventions, Ukraine is paying an exorbitant price — the lives of its children, the future of our people,” said Denisova…"

Read the full piece on Devex.com.

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Equal Times - Why is there a global shortage of midwives and what needs to be done about it?


"Every day about 810 women die in childbirth globally. Every 16 seconds a child is stillborn, and each year some 2.4 million newborn babies die. Midwives can make a difference to these shocking outcomes. But recent research shows their numbers are sorely lacking.

"According to The State of the World’s Midwifery 2021 report (SoWMy 2021), the world currently needs 900,000 more midwives. This represents a third of the required global midwifery workforce..."

Read the full article on Equal Times.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Devex - How clearing up kids’ poop could save lives

“[We have] no proper place to dispose of the poo and the distance from the house to the shared toilet is far.” This is one of the reasons a mother gave to a team of WASH researchers in Bubumala village, Solomon Islands, to explain why she does not dispose of her children’s feces in a “safe” way.

The World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program considers safe disposal for a child’s stools to be in a toilet or latrine. But in the Solomon Islands, parents might leave their child’s poop on the ground where it landed, throw it in the sea, a mangrove, or perhaps in the trash. Later, a child might play in that contaminated area and become seriously sick.

Around the world, child feces management, or CFM, is a complex, neglected issue causing childhood illness and death. While water, sanitation, and hygiene programs seek to tackle open defecation in communities, they have historically addressed children’s toileting habits inadequately. Communities misunderstand the serious outcomes of CFM and societal factors, including gender roles in childcare, affect the problem...

Read the full story on Devex.com.

Monday 5 July 2021

Equal Times: Clinical waste workers: unprotected, untrained, underpaid and undervalued


"It was an accident that could have been avoided. While a waste collector was incinerating infectious waste at Connaught Hospital, Sierra Leone’s principal adult referral centre in the capital Freetown, a spark shot out of the intense furnace into his eye and destroyed it..."

In low and middle income countries, managing clinical waste is a dangerous job. Read the full story on Equal Times.

Thursday 8 April 2021

Devex - The looming waste crisis that will follow COVID-19 vaccinations

By the end of 2021, the COVAX Facility hopes to deliver at least 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries. Laid end-to-end, this amount of single-use syringes and needles could circle the world multiple times. During the COVID-19 outbreak in Hubei Province, China, in 2020, infectious medical waste increased by 600% from 40 to 240 tons per day, according to the Asian Development Bank. 

As countries race to vaccinate their populations, the amount of hazardous, clinical waste they produce will rise. In places where formal waste collection systems are generally poor, experts warn of a looming crisis...

Read the full story on Devex.com.