Stories: Social Issues

  • After soccer star risked all for Europe, Gambia still wrestles with why she left

    For much of Fatim Jawara’s life, almost her entire world fit here – into a single rambling stretch of dirt road in a rundown beach town at the western tip of Africa. It was here, behind the high green walls of her family’s compound, that her mother, a professional cook, taught her to make akara, black-eyed...

  • Can helping men in Mongolia improve life for women?

    Over green tea at a Western-style cafe in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar in late summer, Temuulen rattles off reasons why Mongolian men need help: poor health, high unemployment and heavy drinking. As vice director of the nonprofit Men’s Association, Temuulen, who, like many Mongolians, uses only one name, has a lot to say about the status of...

  • In push to end FGM, local women offer influential message

    It was the biggest party Aminata Mané had ever been to, a riot of colorful dresses and exuberant dancing. There were enough fluffy piles of rice and roasted sheep’s meat for the entire village to eat until their stomachs hurt – and it was all to celebrate her. But Mrs. Mané, who was 11 at the...

  • Why It’s Now A Crime To Let Cattle Graze Freely In 2 Nigerian States

    Watch Tim McDonnell's accompanying video here. As a cattle herder in Benue, a rural state in central Nigeria, Sale Tambaya's life revolved around his herd of roughly 100 cows and a few dozen sheep. Normally, he would take them out from a pen near his thatched hut every morning to graze freely in the surrounding grassland. But on Nov. 1,...

  • Congo’s quiet collapse

    Far from the international spotlight, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) crisis is silently suffocating its citizens. On a humid morning in Mbandaka — the crumbling provincial capital of the densely forested Équateur province in the DRC — 50-year-old Jerome Bokele sits on a broken wooden chair in the courtyard of his small breezeblock compound....

  • FOR G-D SO LOVED HAITI

    It was a muggy autumn afternoon when I finally managed to squeeze my way to the front of a service at Shalom. I normally preferred to hang toward the back—the only foreigner, curious and awed by the crush of bodies pressed in together, sometimes as many as twenty thousand, though church leaders boasted of crowds twice that size...

  • A Trump-like politician in Brazil could snag the support of a powerful religious group: evangelicals

    SÃO PAULO — Corruption scandals that have landed several of Brazil’s leading politicians in prison have motivated voters to consider dark-horse candidates for next year’s presidential race. One of those, Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who likens himself to President Trump, could find support from a key group: evangelicals, who have become politically powerful in recent...

  • Gay, Out And On The Airwaves In Kinshasa

    Sitting at his desk in a stuffy office with a rainbow flag hanging behind him, 31-year-old Patou Izai says it takes a lot of courage to come out as gay in Kinshasa, the sprawling capital city of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although this vast, volatile Central African nation does not have the harsh anti-gay laws adopted by neighbors such...

  • Meet Ami, Mali’s biggest female rapper

    There aren’t many female rappers in Mali. The West African country is known for the bedouin ballads of Tinariwen, the enduring voice of Khaira Arby, and the new-rock beats of Songhoy Blues. But Mali is not so famous for its rap scene—and even less so for its female rappers. Ami is an exception. “There is...

  • The hero rats of Africa sniff out land mines — and TB infections

    MOROGORO, Tanzania — The grass is still damp with dew as the sun begins to glint over the Uluguru Mountains. It’s only 7 a.m. in Morogoro, Tanzania, but Oprah and Malala and Taylor Swift and the others are already hard at work. They are heroes in the region, literal saviors to thousands of Tanzanians and those in the...