Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Sunday Times - Violence and hunger stalk quarantined ebola slum

"WHEN Titus Nyman, 17, left his home in Liberia’s West Point slum to buy water for his grandmother, he feared being struck down by the deadly ebola virus rather than by gunfire.

"His homeland, together with neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone, is at the centre of an epidemic that has already killed at least 1,400 people across west Africa, and slums such as this one on the edge of the Liberian capital, Monrovia, have been quarantined to stop the disease’s spread.

"On Wednesday, however, an angry mob had gathered to protest against the government’s decision to isolate the community of about 75,000 people. As Titus passed the military blockade, security forces opened fire. He and two other boys were left bleeding on the ground..."

Read the full article on the Sunday Times website

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Observer - Ebola crisis in Liberia brings rumours, hygiene lessons and hunger

"Another day has just broken in Liberia's capital, Monrovia. Outside a block of humble flats on Centre Street, two women in long overcoats jump out of a taxi, avoiding the torrents of rainwater pouring along the gutter as they carry a large plastic bucket. On the porch, a crowd of young homeless men take shelter. They are about to receive a lesson in handwashing, non-contact and recognising symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus. It has killed 249 of their countrymen so far since March, 961 worldwide, and prompted 1,779 reported cases internationally.

"The fact that Ebola is spread through bodily fluids such as sweat and saliva means that reducing physical contact has become a national obsession..."

Friday, 8 August 2014

Channel 5 News - reporting on Ebola from Liberia




While working in Monrovia, Liberia with youth development charity Y Care International I gave a skype interview to Channel 5 News to explain the Ebola situation on the ground.

Y Care International has launched a fundraising appeal to help spread awareness of Ebola. You can read more about the work its doing to combat the disease here.



The Independent - 'Ebola outbreak: Liberia - a country plagued by fear'

"Ebola is real. This is the slogan that permeates daily life in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. It blasts constantly from car radios. It is emblazoned on billboards and a giant banner hanging outside City Corporation HQ. It is printed on A4 paper taped above colourful plastic handwashing buckets outside shops. And it is on everyone’s lips.

"The haemorrhagic fever has so far claimed 255 lives and prompted 468 reported cases nationwide...

Read the article in full on the Independent website.

Friday, 13 June 2014

TES - Hope blooms in Sierra Leone's schools despite lack of support

I wrote this article for TES from Sierra Leone, after visiting schools in the remote northern chiefdom of Tambakha.

The schools were built by charity Street Child. Incredibly, before 2009 when the charity began working in the area, Tambakha had only three schools and two qualified teachers for 9,000 primary-aged children.

Building the schools and training teachers has been an incredible achievement, but the area is struggling to maintain the institutions without government backing.

I was amazed to see how hard locals were trying to support their children's education despite so many barriers. In some classes the children had no books or pencils - they were learning everything aurally.

This piece was written to coincide with a Street Child fundraising campaign. A film shot during my trip explains more about the charity's work in the area.

To read the full article, visit the TES website.

Watch the film at about Street Child's rural schools project.





Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Children & Young People Now: Female Genital Mutilation in the UK

This feature for Children & Young People Now explores how children's services in the UK should act to prevent and support children and women affected by female genital mutilation (FGM).

More than 20,000 girls aged under 15 could be at risk of FGM in England and Wales every year, while 66,000 women living in England and Wales had undergone FGM.

I spoke to representatives of local authority children's services, social workers, health and education professionals and charities to find out how they are dealing with the issue, and what still needs to be done.

You can read the full piece on the CYP Now website (behind a paywall).

Monday, 26 May 2014

Guardian - How to tackle youth unemployment in conflict-affected Senegal

Civil conflict has raged for 32 years in the Senegalese region of Casamance. Yet it is rarely reported on and it's young people - hit hardest by the disruption - have been forgotten.

Following the ceasefire called by rebel leaders, I wrote this piece for the Guardian using previously unpublished research produced by Y Care International.

Y Care International has worked in the region since 2006 alongside YMCA Senegal to support young people back into training or employment.

You can read the full article on the Guardian Global Development Professionals Network

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Independent - One girl's story of survival in a Liberian slum

In this feature for the Independent, I described the tragic story of a girl living in the West Point slum in Liberia's capital Monrovia.

I met Princess and her baby on a trip to the country when I was visiting projects run by charity Street Child. Thanks to Street Child's staff in Monrovia, Princess is safe and on her way to a better future.

I also shot the pictures for this piece.

You can read the full article on the Independent website

Friday, 25 April 2014

BBC World Service - From Our Own Correspondent - Liberia's Decoration Day

I witnessed this unusual public holiday on a trip to Liberia. It was far from the day of honouring the dead I expected.

In this piece for the BBC World Service I describe how celebrations in Monrovia's cemeteries turned into public raves, with dancing, singing and drinking on the graves.

Sadly, I also discovered practices in the graveyards that threaten people's rights to live in clean environments and access safe water.

You can listen to the broadcast on the BBC World Service website.

Graves inches from houses

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Observer Exclusive - plea to Sierra Leone's prodigy athlete

In these exclusive interviews for the Observer, I presented the story behind the case of missing marathon runner Mamie Konneh Lahun and highlighted the plight of Sierra Leonean athletes.

A week after Lahun disappeared following the London Marathon, I spoke to her manager and co-runner Idrissa Kargbo about the events leading up to the race and why she might have absconded.

Their comments revealed the struggle athletes face in a country still recovering from a horrific civil war, and the commitment and talent they have which, if nurtured, could inspire a nation.

Read the full article on the Observer website.