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Louise Donovan

Louise Donovan is an award-winning journalist, focusing on investigations and global reporting. She covers human rights, labor exploitation and international supply chains, often at the intersection of climate change or health.

Prior to this, she worked closely with the editorial team of Kenya’s largest newspaper, The Nation, teaming up with Kenyan journalists to cross-publish stories in both African and international outlets.

Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, TIME, The Associated Press, CNN, Foreign Policy and Vice World News, among others.

Louise’s groundbreaking stories have taken her across the globe, from Africa to the Middle East and Latin America. Several have led to systemic changes in garment factories and helped rescue migrant workers in exploitative conditions.

She won a One World Media award for her reporting on sexual violence in India, while her work examining the deadly consequences of curbing reproductive rights in Kenya was shortlisted for the Anthony Shahid Award for Journalism Ethics. In 2021, she won the ILO’s Labor Migration award for reporting on domestic workers in the Gulf using TikTok, published with The New York Times.

Previously the Deputy Digital Editor of ELLE UK, Louise edited the multiple award-winning Warrior series published in partnership with The Fuller Project.

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…

Coronavirus: Over 200% Surge In Links To Child Abuse Material Posted Online

Teams of undercover investigators tasked with identifying and removing webpages containing child abuse material have reported a massive spike.

Sex Workers’ Dilemma amid Covid-19

At 6:30pm every evening, Emelda Ngieno’s alarm clock buzzes her out of a deep sleep. As the sun sets, she gets up, throws on tonight’s chosen outfit and heads to her designated location: Pipeline, a…

Kenya’s Labor Market Wasn’t Made for a Pandemic

NAIROBI—For the past week, every morning, Akonya Shimeseru wakes up in her single-room home that she shares with her two children in Ongata Rongai, a town on the outskirts of Nairobi.

‘You Are Beautiful’: the Kenyan Beauty Parlour Serving Female Heroin Users

Naima Said stands back and studies her handiwork. “Not quite,” the self-taught beauty therapist mumbles, her forehead furrowed in frustration. Then she delicately dabs her client’s eyelid with a squishy makeup sponge. She’s not finished…

Meet Beauty Therapist Saving Female Heroin Addicts

Housed in the Reachout Centre Trust, which helps Mombasa residents fight drug addiction, it opened last year with a view to attracting more female users to its services that include HIV testing, counselling, methadone treatment…

The Movement Tackling Sexual Harassment at Kenya’s Universities

Diana perched on a brown bench in one of Nairobi University's large lecture theatres, twisting her fingers into pretzel-like shapes. She scanned the room. To her left, students waited eagerly to hear her story. To…

Gender Activists in a March Dubbed Usawa Demand Action Against GBV, Youth Empowerment, Women Land Rights

The march dubbed Usawa kicked-off at Uhuru Park’s freedom corner to President’s Uhuru Kenyatta’s office at Harambee House, where they delivered a petition on gender equality.

Trafficked Nepali, Indian Women Repatriated

Five women from Nepal and India who had been trafficked into the country were repatriated to their home countries this week.
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