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Louise Donovan

Louise Donovan is an award-winning reporter, working closely with the editorial team of Kenya’s largest newspaper, The Daily Nation, raising awareness of issues impacting women and exposing injustices. Louise manages The Fuller Project’s strategic partnership with The Daily Nation and teams up with Kenyan journalists to cross-publish stories in both African and international outlets.

A European Journalism Centre grantee in 2017 and 2018, Louise was named a ‘30 Under 30’ rising star by the Professional Publishers Association in 2019. That year, she also won the One World Media award for her India reporting. In 2020, Louise’s work examining the deadly consequences of curbing reproductive rights in Kenya was shortlisted for the Anthony Shahid Award for Journalism Ethics.

Louise’s groundbreaking reporting has taken her across the globe. In Kenya, she investigated the issue of dumped foetuses and how restricted access to prenatal care, contraception and reproductive services is leaving women in increasingly desperate situations. Her reporting shone a light on an often overlooked but growing problem.

She embedded with an all-female biker squad who fight sexual violence in Jaipur, North India for a story with ELLE UK. One year after the story’s publication, the local government rolled out seven further women-only police units, created over 400 jobs for female officers and dedicated nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to buy extra equipment. More recently, she reported on a Ugandan woman’s experience of domestic violence during Covid-19 restrictions, which led to a women’s organisation reaching out to offer the single mother support.

She reported on global migrant domestic workers in Saudi Arabia who were kicked out of employers’ homes during COVID-19 and detained unlawfully without regular access to food and water. The reporting, which was published on the front page of The New York Times International Edition, led to a raid on the agency and the women were repatriated Several of the women in the story told Louise that this reporting - and its subsequent impact - had saved their lives. She also reported on the collapse of the global garment industry during the pandemic, directly linking two women on each end of this crumbling supply chain: One in America and another some 10,000 miles away in Lesotho, both laid off when J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy and closed 150 stores in the U.S. and limited orders from its global factories. The story was published by the Associated Press and picked up by more than 100 news outlets globally.

Previously the Deputy Digital Editor of ELLE UK, Louise edited the multiple award-winning Warrior series published in partnership with The Fuller Project. Louise’s work appears in outlets such as CNN, Guardian, Foreign Policy and The Telegraph.

Recent reporting by Louise: 

She Made Jeans for Americans. When They Stopped Shopping, She Turned to Sex Work – TIME

Violence Spikes As Myanmar Garment Workers Say Factories Are Colluding With the Junta – VICE World News

‘I’m one of them’: the FGM survivor providing a lifeline in Leeds – The Guardian

Female migrant workers and the families they support are being abandoned by the money-transfer industry  – Fortune Magazine

Exclusive: Workers in Factory That Makes Kate Hudson's Fabletics Activewear Allege Rampant Sexual and Physical Abuse – TIME

From the Archives: Group that helps FGM survivors wins prestigious UK award. Meet the founder.

Stigma can stop survivors of female genital mutilation from seeking help, but Hawa Bah, who was cut at eight, reaches those suffering in silence to get them the care they need.

‘The smoke enters your body’: A toxic trash site in Kenya is making women sick

As rubbish piles up on a vast dumpsite, the women who sift through it for their livelihood are suffering reproductive health problems that scientists say have been overlooked.

Related: Air pollution’s impact on women’s health is not getting the attention it needs, scientists warn

She made jeans for Americans. When they stopped shopping, she turned to sex work

As the garment sector—one of the Lesotho’s largest employers—crumbles during the coronavirus pandemic, a 30-year-old factory worker turns to sex work to make do.

Violence spikes as Myanmar garment workers say factories are colluding with the junta

With tensions rising in alleged military-linked factories, brands such as Mango and Zara have cut ties in recent months. But at what cost to the mostly female workforce?

Female Migrant Workers And The Families They Support Are Being Abandoned By The Money-Transfer Industry

The flow of money sent home by foreign workers remained resilient in the face of COVID-19. But migrant women—and their home communities—still face significant financial barriers, particularly domestic workers in the Gulf living with ongoing…

Exclusive: Workers in Factory That Makes Kate Hudson’s Fabletics Activewear Allege Rampant Sexual and Physical Abuse

In a joint investigation with TIME, The Fuller Project has spoken to 38 workers who allege instances of abuse and harassment at a garment factory in Lesotho that predominantly supplies Fabletics, Kate Hudson’s athleisure brand.

Domestic Workers in Gulf Countries Vent Woes on TikTok

Foreign employees in wealthy households — most of them women — have been using the video-sharing app to bring abuses to light.

‘It Felt So Freeing’: Why Young Women Are Dropping the Pill

As the pill’s 60th anniversary approaches outside of the U.S., young women and people with wombs are increasingly interrogating the lack of information doctors provide about side effects when prescribing the pill and calling for…

Pandemic crushes global supply chains, workers at both ends

The lives—and livelihoods—of two women some 10,000 miles away from each other have become linked by a global pandemic that has not only crushed one of the world’s supply chains but economies, and millions of…

‘Men’s Violence Will Outlive The Coronavirus’ — Push To End Global Spike In Abuse Against Women Amid the Pandemic

With half of the world’s population living under lockdown, millions of women around the world were trapped with an abusive partner.

‘We know it’s the work of quack doctors’: Pandemic fans the flames of backstreet abortions in Kenya

Anecdotal reports suggest teenage pregnancies are soaring in Kenya, resulting in unsafe late-term terminations and abandoned babies.

COVID-19 has stopped everything except cancer — the cells are still growing

Globally, millions of women have missed breast cancer screening appointments because of paused services during the height of the pandemic in March and April. This means thousands of cancer cases could lie undetected.

Women Were Key to Eradicating Wild Polio in Africa. But Can They Do the Same for COVID?

How do governments and the wider medical community successfully immunise the entire world against COVID-19? The answer might just lie with women, who played an enormous role in eradicating wild polio across Africa.

After Escaping Abuse in the Middle East, Domestic Workers’ Woes Are Far From Over in this Pandemic

The pandemic and resulting economic crises have led tens of thousands of migrant workers around the world to return to their home countries

In Wake of Beirut’s Devastating Blast, Stranded Kenyan Domestic Workers Demand Repatriation

An estimated 30 women - at least three with children - took to the streets to protest. They are sleeping outside the Kenyan consular on mattresses with little food or water.

Seeking a decent life for domestic workers

As the head of the National Domestic Workers Council of Kudheiha, a trade union that advocates for Kenyan workers’ rights, she is the first point of contact for women’s pleas across the country and beyond.

Laid Off and Locked Up: Virus Traps Domestic Workers in Arab States

When the nine African women lost their jobs as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia because of the coronavirus lockdown, the agency that had recruited them stuffed them in a bare room with a few thin…

A Transport Ban in Uganda Means Women are Trapped at Home with Their Abusers

Seconds after Veronica opened her eyes in the hospital, she knew who had put her there. Her body ached; her head throbbed. The night before, the 25-year-old mother-of-five was busy buying medication for her children…
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