Sara Hylton photographs young women for a piece on education for girls in South Sudan.

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) selected 13 journalists from six countries to participate as Fellows with the African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative. A group of six women journalists will cover development and humanitarian issues from South Sudan. Concurrently, seven women journalists will report from Uganda about conservation and sustainable agriculture. Both trips will take place September 15-27, 2016.

All fellows will begin their trips in Nairobi, Kenya for a multi-day orientation and security training before departing for their respective reporting countries. While on the ground, Fellows will have the opportunity to meet with local journalists, collaborate with international peers, and discover sites and sources relevant to their reporting.

Nina Strochlic at the National Archives of South Sudan.

The IWMF designed the African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative to support journalists interested in pursuing stories that go beyond the well-established narratives of political instability, armed conflicts, and humanitarian crisis in the region. “The program builds on the success of earlier IWMF reporting fellowships to Western Sahara and eastern DRC. Since 2014, 91 journalists have covered a wide range of under-reported topics from the Great Lakes region including humanitarian issues, democracy, food security, and development Their work has been produced and published by leading media outlets around the world.

During the next four years, the IWMF will continue to lead groups of women journalists to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. By 2019, more than 250 reporters will have together reshaped traditional media narratives about this complicated and promising region. The IWMF pays for fellowship-related expenses including travel, lodging, meals, and fixers/interpreters unless a selected journalist’s news organization wishes to assume these costs.

Visit our blog for updates from #IWMFfellows on the ground.

South Sudan Fellows

Lisa De Bode | Freelance Journalist


Lisa de Bode is a freelance journalist and writer covering the intersections of people and policy. She is based in New York and is currently reporting on the refugee crisis in Europe, as well as the Brussels terror investigation for CNN, among other outlets. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, Guernica, The Christian Science Monitor, The National, and Al Jazeera America in New York, where she was a staff reporter for three years.

De Bode is fluent in four languages and has lived and worked in 10 countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the U.S., France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium, where she was born and raised. She holds a master’s degree in international relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Mélanie Gouby | Freelance journalist


Mélanie Gouby is an independent journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. She covers East Africa for French newspaper Le Figaro, and has contributed to the Guardian, The Associated Press, Newsweek, France 24, National Geographic TV, and Vice, among others. Her work focuses on conflict, corruption and politics, exploring the impact of injustice on social cohesion and development. From 2011 to 2014 Gouby lived in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, where she covered the rise and fall of the M23 armed group, the latest rebellion in Congo’s protracted conflict, and investigated a British oil company’s illegal activities in the Virunga National Park for the Oscar-nominated documentary Virunga, winner of a Peabody and DuPont-Columbia awards.

Her interest in the African Great Lakes region began when she covered the trials of Congolese warlords at the International Criminal Court in The Hague from 2009 to 2011. Gouby studied politics and international relations at University College London.

Tendai Marima | Freelance journalist


Tendai Marima is a freelance journalist whose work focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa. She splits her time between her native Zimbabwe and South Africa. Her work has been published by Al Jazeera English, the Daily Vox (South Africa), and the Global Observatory, where she contributes opinions on crises and conflicts in the region. She has reported from several countries on the African continent including Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Marima holds a doctorate in comparative literature from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and degrees in literature from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Lorena Rios | Freelance journalist


Lorena Rios is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul, Turkey. She previously lived in Cairo, Egypt, where she covered the upheavals of a society in flux. In Turkey, she covers the Syrian crisis through the experiences of refugees, and Turkish policy. She is particularly interested in telling women’s stories as they counteract their under-representation in public spaces and the media. Rios speaks English and Spanish, is studying Arabic, and hopes to learn Turkish so she is able to explore Turkey’s rich history and where it stands today, both for its 80 million inhabitants and as part of a volatile region.

Mo Scarpelli | Freelance videographer


Mo Scarpelli is an independent documentary filmmaker and director based in Oregon. Her curiosity of humans and underexposed spaces has led her to film and photograph in more 15 countries around the world. Her feature-length documentary FRAME BY FRAME, about four Afghan photojournalists on the forefront of Afghanistan’s fledgling free press, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2015 and has garnered more than a dozen jury and audience awards since. Scarpelli’s reporting and cinematography have been published with the BBC, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and Africa Review. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Julia Steers | Freelance journalist


Julia Steers is a freelance correspondent and producer for international broadcast and print outlets, including CNN International, CBS News, France24, Al Jazeera English, and Radio France Internationale. Her print work has appeared in Time, The Christian Science Monitor, Quartz, Al Jazeera, The Independent UK, The Huffington Post, and Foreign Policy magazine. She is now based in Nairobi, Kenya, but previously worked in New York as the director of social media and a broadcast producer with CBS News. Prior to joining CBS News, Steers spent several years at The Huffington Post, in her last role as a senior editor. She got her start as a writer and editor for the award-winning DoSomething.org website. She completed her undergraduate studies in international relations and government at Georgetown University.

Steers covers east and central Africa with a focus on politics, human rights, and the rule of law. She has covered the African Great Lakes region extensively, primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, where she recently spent months documenting political unrest and human rights violations.

Uganda Fellows

Paula Bronstein | Freelance photojournalist

Twitter: @paulaphoto

Paula Bronstein is a freelance photojournalist represented by Reportage/Getty Images. Based in Bangkok, Thailand, she covers turmoil and conflict throughout the world. Bronstein previously worked at a variety of U.S.-based newspapers including The New Haven Register, The Hartford Courant, and The Chicago Tribune before moving to Asia. From 2002-2013, Bronstein worked for Getty Images as a staff photographer covering news and specializing in stories from Asia. Bronstein’s images have been nominated and recognized for photography contests including Pictures of the Year International and The National Press Photographer’s Association. She was an honorable mention for the 2016 IWMF Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award.

Bronstein earned a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York; she also attended the University of Colorado.

Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Twitter: @durrieB

Durrie Bouscaren is a health and science reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and a contributor to National Public Radio’s newsmagazines. She is based in Missouri. In recent years, she has covered protests in Ferguson, Missouri, the toll of gun violence in America, and local efforts to reduce regional health disparities. Previously, Bouscaren worked as a general assignment reporter for Iowa Public Radio and a freelancer for radio station WRVO in northern New York State. Her work has appeared on National Public Radio, various podcasts, and in print for The St. Louis American. Bouscaren has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and international relations from Syracuse University.

Karen Coates | Freelance journalist

Portrait of author Karen Coates at her home in New Mexico.
Photo ©Jerry Redfern
for AFAR Magazine.

Twitter: @RamblingSpoon

Karen Coates is an independent journalist based in New Mexico who reports primarily in the developing world on issues involving the environment, science, food, health and human rights. She has published four books. Her latest, Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos (ThingsAsian Press, 2013), co-authored with her husband, Jerry Redfern, was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters & Editors Book Award. Coates is a Senior Fellow at Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, and she was a 2010-11 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado. Her reporting has appeared in publications around the world including The New York Times, Al Jazeera America, Slate, Archaeology, Ms., SciDev.Net, The Washington Post online, Columbia Journalism Review, National Geographic Books, and many more. She has received fellowships and honors through the Fund for Environmental Journalism, the MIT Knight Science Journalism Program, the Council for Wisconsin Writers and other groups.

When Coates is not crafting stories, she escapes to the trails (by bike or foot) every chance she gets. She also loves to cook, and was Gourmet magazine’s Asia correspondent for several years. Her food blog is Rambling Spoon.

Hélène Franchineau | The Associated Press

Twitter: @helene_fr

Hélène Franchineau is a French video journalist with The Associated Press based in Beijing, China. She covers social issues, human rights, environment, and politics, in China and Asia. Before joining the AP in 2014, she was based in Hong Kong, where she first worked as a reporter for the South China Morning Post before joining the paper’s new online team a year later as its first video journalist. In 2013 Franchineau became a freelance multimedia journalist, filming mostly for the BBC out of Hong Kong, as well as for The New York Times and the Guardian. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese from Bordeaux University and a dual master’s degree in journalism from Sciences Po in Paris and from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

Franchineau speaks French, English, Mandarin Chinese, and a bit of Cantonese. She is currently learning Arabic. In her spare time, she enjoys running and boxing.

Jennifer Huxta | Freelance photojournalist

Twitter: @jenniferhuxta

Jennifer Huxta is a freelance photojournalist based in California. She was based in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2011-2015, where she covered the recent crisis in Burundi, Pope Francis’s visit to Kenya, and Kenyan elections for Agence France-Presse (AFP). She has completed humanitarian photography assignments for NGOs and foundations throughout east, west, and central Africa, focusing on women’s health, climate change, and youth unemployment. Her editorial work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Le Journal du Dimanche, the Guardian, and the BBC. Last year, she was certified in combat medical first aid by RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues). At A River Blue in Northern Uganda, she created a photo mural with young adults displaced by the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict.

Giuliana Miranda | Freelance journalist

Twitter: @giumiranda

Giuliana Miranda is freelance multimedia journalist based in Lisbon, Portugal, where she most often works with Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. She has reported for Latin American outlets from Qatar, India, Antarctica, Colombia, Chile, the United States, Canada, Poland, and Germany, and from different regions in her native Brazil. She has focused on a wide rage of topics including health, climate change, science, immigration, and politics. Miranda holds a master’s degree in science communication from Campinas State University, and another master’s in political science and international affairs from Portugese Catholic University.

Sally Nyakanyanga | Freelance journalist

Twitter: @nyangasally

Sally Nyakanyanga is an independent journalist based in Zimbabwe whose work has focused on gender equality, human rights, development/humanitarian stories, and bilateral trade between Malawi, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. She has written for Irin News, Africa Renewal, Scidev.net, ChinAfrica magazine, and the Mail and Guardian “Voice of Africa” online publication. Nyakanyanga is an accomplished media trainer; she has taught feature writing, international relations and public relations at a local journalism school in Zimbabwe. During her work at the journalism school, she engineered the formation of a gender forum targeted at female journalism students in order to equip them to become leaders in the media industry.

Nyakanyanga has a degree in media and society studies from Midlands State University, where she is currently pursuing a master’s in development studies. She also has a diploma in journalism and communications from Christian College of Southern Africa.

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