Stories: Social Issues

  • Back Into the Wild

    As the dugout canoe cuts its path through the early morning mist that covers the surface of the Lopori River, Victor Likofata recounts the day in August, 2011 when he was mauled and left for dead by a troop of bonobos, a species of great ape endemic to the Congo Basin. Likofata was part of a small team of trackers with...

  • To Fight Pollution, He’s Reinventing The Mongolian Tent

    It takes the taxi driver three tries to find the neighborhood and at least another three wrong turns on narrow unpaved roads before he locates the company's front gate. Each time he gets turned around the driver reaches for a cell phone. On the other end of the line Odgerel Gamsukh directs the driver to Gamsukh's garage door...

  • Women carry the burden of Ugandan war trauma

    Beatrice Adyero* woke up one July morning in 2002 to news that completely shattered her life. Her husband, four sons, and a daughter-in-law were among 56 civilians abducted and killed by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group. Her youngest granddaughter, only two-years-old, wasn’t spared either. Nearly 16 years after the slaughter of her family, Adyero still struggles to...

  • Russia’s Disappearing Women

    When they were younger, before their son was born, Maria's boyfriend started hurting her. He would place his hands on her neck and squeeze tightly until her skin turned pink and she gasped for air. After her son Andrei came along, the abuse got worse, and her arms were regularly crowded with bruises, her face sore and swollen. Maria...

  • Guatemalan women transform their town one brushstroke at a time

    Lidia Florentino Cumes Cumez greets visitors to her small, bright office with a giggle before grabbing a brochure and launching into a well-honed explanation of what it means to paint this entire town on the banks of Guatemala’s majestic Lake Atitlán.  “These are the base colors,” she said recently, displaying a palette...

  • ‘I Don’t Go Out During the Day’: Inside Senegal’s LGBT Crackdown

    DAKAR, Senegal—Watching as dusk falls on the dusty streets of this city, Marie, a 27-year-old trans woman, explains that she only leaves her house after sunset. “I don’t go out during the day,” she says, flicking back her long red hair. “Only at night. I don’t even want to open my...

  • Inside the EU’s deeply flawed $200 million migration deal with Sudan

    In interviews with over 25 Eritrean and Ethiopian asylum seekers in Khartoum and the eastern city of Kassala, as well as local journalists, and lawyers working on behalf of refugees, IRIN has documented allegations of endemic police abuse, including extortion, violence, and sexual assault. The pattern of corruption and rights violations uncovered feeds into broader concerns over whether the EU&rsquo...

  • In Northern Uganda, Male Mentors Spread the Word on Family Planning

    GULU, UGANDA – When Josephine Lamwaka was growing up, she watched her father abuse her mother almost every day, sometimes even threatening to kill her with a machete. Lamwaka’s father also forbade her mother from using contraception or visiting the local family planning clinic. With her parents as her only model for marriage, Lamwaka, 30, didn’t expect...

  • “If You Have Money, You Can Think Whatever You Want”

    People in Nepal’s Thulopakhar village shudder to hear of a girl going to work abroad. Under their voices, neighbors mutter about sex work, abuse, impropriety. In this village, nestled beneath the Himalayas, some 70 kilometers from the capital city of Kathmandu, boys leave because they have no choice but to earn money for their families; girls need to stay...

  • In Tanzania, mothers learn how to teach the facts of life

    DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — On a warm Saturday in October, a dozen women in the neighborhood of Mbagala Charambe in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, sat together in the open-air waiting area at Samaria Health Centre. On most weekends, women gather here to learn how to talk with their preteen and teenage daughters about puberty, their changing bodies, contraception and...