Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Equal Times - Youth unemployment: “Young people have the right to opportunities”

'Fatin (not her real name) is in her twenties and is unemployed. She lives in the rural village of Al Tireh in the West Bank of occupied Palestine, where few job opportunities exist.

But having received skills training from a local charity, Fatin and some fellow local women are opening a children’s nursery this month and will earn their own money. “We really needed help to make the transition,” she explains. “We want to improve ourselves, village and community. We can make a difference with skills.”

Recent research published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows Fatin’s situation is typical of her region, and increasingly, of young people globally. Its 2016 World Employment andSocial Outlook report states that just over 30 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region are currently unemployed – more than in any other region...'

Read the full story on Equal Times.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Guardian Weekend Magazine - Experience: I escaped from the Moonies

'Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, I was drawn to an alternative way of life. I was the son of a businessman and I wanted to discover the meaning of life beyond materialism; I felt religion may hold the answers. After school, I trained as an accountant, but hated it. My plan was to live in a bread delivery van that I’d converted and offer people handyman services in return for payment in kind.

One day, a man knocked on my van and invited me to join his community for a weekend. They were the Moonies, named after their Korean founder Sun Myung Moon, and they were operating from a farmhouse just outside Reading. The community of 15 was led by a local man and his wife; it was clean, drug-free and essentially Christian, all of which appealed to me. By the end of the weekend, I had agreed to stay for six months...'

Read the full story on the Guardian Online.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Devex - 7 ways to support women and girls who escape abductions

"Nongovernmental organizations working in Nigeria have called for renewed focus on supporting women and girls who escape abduction, as the country marked the second anniversary of the Chibok school kidnappings last week.

Two hundred and nineteen of the 276 girls abducted on April 14, 2014, from their secondary school in northeastern Nigeria by Muslim militant group Boko Haram are still missing. But aid organizations working in the country say concentrating on their rescue is not enough. Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls in the country since 2012, according to estimates from charities International Alert and Amnesty International. Those who return from abduction also need support.

Boko Haram characteristically forces captive girls to marry its members. Many are raped and become pregnant as a result. Devex spoke to Kimairis Toogood, International Alert’s senior peace-building adviser and The Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Nigeria Country Director De Luther-King Fasehun about the best ways to support the women and girls who survive such ordeals..."

Read the full article at Devex.com.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Liberia article up for One World Media award

My article on children and young people living in a Liberian cemetery has made the long list for the 2016 One World Media Awards.

The piece, published alongside photos taken by award-winning photographer Hannah Maule-ffinch, was published in the Independent Magazine.

One World Media will announce the final three nominations for the Press category of the awards in late April.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Winner: Amnesty International Best New Journalist

My reporting of the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia was recognised at the Amnesty International Media Awards last night, where I was handed the Gaby Rado Memorial Award.

The articles published in the Sunday Times, the Observer and the Independent on Sunday sought to highlight the broader impact of the disease on already impoverished communities.

The stories showed how people were dying not just from the virus itself, but from fear and as a result of the government and international community's inadequate response.

They also highlighted the vital role local NGOs played in the response, particularly charity Street Child.

My entry as presented at the awards ceremony by BBC world affairs correspondent Mike Thomson


Part of my acceptance speech


The Gaby Rado Memorial Award recognises the work of a journalist who has been covering human rights issues for less than five years.

Click here for links to the winning articles.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Shortlisted: 2015 Amnesty International Media Awards

I have been shortlisted for the 2015 Gaby Rado Memorial Award by global NGO Amnesty International. This recognises the work of a journalist who has been covering human rights issues for less than five years.

The nomination in particular follows articles I published on Ebola for the Sunday Times, the Observer and the Independent on Sunday.

The other journalists on the shortlist are the Independent’s deputy news editor Rob Hastings and freelance investigative journalist Maeve McClenaghan.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Barbican in central London on Thursday 26th November.

Amnesty’s Media Awards recognise excellence in human rights reporting and acknowledge journalism’s significant contribution to the UK public’s awareness and understanding of human rights issues.

Read more about the 2015 awards here.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Independent Magazine - Displaced young adults are living in a graveyard in Liberia's capital Monrovia

"Anyone would guess it was a prison. Its four-metre-high walls are topped with coiled barbed wire and punctuated with watchtowers. Its tall metal gates are locked. Yet a glimpse through one door, left slightly ajar, reveals its inmates died years ago. The site in Monrovia, Liberia's capital, is an abandoned cemetery where no one has been buried for decades. The walls aren't there to confine the dead, but to keep out the living – people whom Liberian society has forgotten who inhabit its crumbling tombs.

"There was a body there, but I took it out and threw it away," says Junior Toe. A veteran tomb dweller, as those occupying the cemetery are known, he has lost count of his years living among the dead. Standing on the worn edge of an open tomb, he peers into his second-hand bedroom. The empty space, about two-metres deep, is finished with stained green tiles crossed by vines. "When you look for a tomb, the body can't be too fresh," he advises. "It has to be really dead, then you can clear it away into a bag..."

Read the full article on Independent.co.uk.

I made two trips to Liberia to gather material for this exclusive story, which has never been reported before in the UK.

It was only possible with the help of charity Street Child which is supporting the young people living in the cemetery.

The pictures were taken by award-winning freelance photographer Hannah Maule-Ffinch.