Malaka Gharib | KUOW News and Information

Malaka Gharib

Malaka Gharib is deputy editor and digital strategist of Goats and Soda, NPR's global health and development blog. She reports on topics such as the humanitarian aid sector, gender equality, and innovation in the developing world.

Before coming to NPR in 2015, Gharib was the digital content manager at Malala Fund, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's global education charity, and social media and blog editor for ONE, a global anti-poverty advocacy group founded by Bono. Gharib graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and marketing.

International humanitarian aid organizations say the travel restrictions issued by President Donald Trump on Saturday could have a dramatic impact on how they operate.

The Trump executive order temporarily bars all refugees and suspends — for the next 90 days — entry to the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The White House says the order was intended to protect the nation from "foreign terrorist entry."

The World Health Organization's next director-general will inherit an ailing institution with funding problems — and a bad reputation for how it's handled global health emergencies.

It's a shocking statistic that caught the world's attention last week: Just eight men own the same wealth as 3.6 billion people living in poverty — that's half the population of the planet.

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of Americans will be taking to the streets — some to celebrate, some to protest the inauguration and others to demonstrate for issues that the president-elect cares about.

If you happen to be one of those people, you might have this nagging question in the back of your mind: Will any of it make a difference?

Charts can seem dull. But not to data scientist Tariq Khokhar at the World Bank. When he looked through a year's worth of charts, graphs, maps and more, he was excited by the numbers.

For example, although the world's population has increased by 2 billion people since 1990, there are 1.1 billion fewer people living in extreme poverty, under $1.90 a day (highlighted in blue in the chart below). "I'm amazed at the progress," Khokhar says.

It's been used to buy drugs. Guns. Child porn. And to launder money.

But high-profile institutions like the World Bank, UNICEF and USAID think it could be a force for good, helping the poorest of the poor.

It's a technology called blockchain — a global, online ledger that's free for anyone to use and that isn't regulated by any one party.

Maybe you've heard of it. And maybe you don't know exactly what it is.

That's because it's not easy to define.

The world of global health and development loves its buzzwords — a word or short phrase that sums up a problem or a solution, like "food insecurity" or "gender equity." The problem is that buzzwords aren't always clear to the average global citizen. And some folks in the development world don't like them either. Here's The International Development Jargon Detector to prove it.

With so much attention paid to high-profile women in 2016, from Hillary Clinton to Wonder Woman, it's easy to lose sight of lesser-known women who are blazing a trail in low- and middle-income countries. In ways big and small, these women have moved the needle on gender equality by being activists, role models or simply taking a stand.

Here's a roundup of some of the many memorable women we profiled on Goats and Soda in 2016.

Great ideas are a dime a dozen. The question is: How do you get 'em to stick?

No one knows what the Trump administration has planned for U.S. foreign aid programs and other global initiatives that fight poverty and disease.

There are some topics that Donald Trump has not addressed. Global advocacy groups such as the ONE Campaign have tried to get Trump to share his ideas of how to "tackle extreme poverty" on the record. After a year of campaigning, he still hasn't responded.

If I could pick when and where I was born, I'd choose 2016 and Hong Kong, instead of 1986 and the U.S.

That way, I'd have an extra seven years of life — the increase in life expectancy from then until now. As a Hong Konger, I'd have a good chance of living to 84 years old — that society has the highest life expectancy on record. And vaccines for deadly diseases like rotavirus and HPV would have already been invented.

Poorly managed projects. Questionable spending. Dubious claims of success.

That's how an NPR report last year described recovery efforts in Haiti from international humanitarian groups after the earthquake in 2010. That's why NGOs — nongovernmental organizations — helping out in the wake of Hurricane Matthew know they need to get it right this time.

Who will be the World Health Organization's next director-general? In September, the U.N. agency announced the six nominees, four men and two women, ranging from a cardiologist from Pakistan to a former punk rocker from Hungary. Over the next few months, WHO member-states will whittle down the list to one final candidate, who will succeed the current director, Dr.

On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly welcomed Antonio Guterres of Portugal as the new secretary-general of the U.N., replacing Ban Ki-moon.

In a short speech expressing his "gratitude and humility" to the assembly for the five-year term, he highlighted his priorities: humility, empathy for the underprivileged and the "empowerment of women and girls."

Winter clothes, blankets, food and medical supplies. In an act of humanity, a U.N. aid convoy was carrying these precious necessities to a neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, cut off by war. The convoy never made it.

It's a puzzling image — with a crime story behind it.

Women in colorful saris — hot pink, highlighter yellow, teal and royal blue — snake up a dusty gray quarry, carrying baskets of coal over their heads. It's early in the morning; they're stealing from the mine before officials come in for the day.

Flash drive. Laptop. Phone.

If your home was under attack and you had to flee, what would you take with you?

The U.S. has pledged up to $4.3 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years. The question is, will it actually make an impact?

If previous data is any indication, the answer is yes. "The Global Fund has a good track record in terms of impact achieved and funding distributed," says Josh Michaud, associate director of global health at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy research group.

As an Egyptian-American, I had no idea how the rest of Africa felt about my country, or how Egyptians felt about being on the continent — until I saw the Twitter hashtag #IfAfricaWasASchool, which has been trending over the past week.

It made me laugh out loud. Clearly, we Egyptians are a bit snobby.

Can one photo help end a war?

That's what people are wondering about the image of a little Syrian boy covered head to toe in a thick layer of dust, his face bloodied, as he sits in a bright orange chair.

Fu Yuanhui, a Chinese swimmer at the Rio Olympics, made headlines this week for telling the world she was on her period.

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This week, a U.K. citizen named Wes Metcalfe discovered an "unresponsive" worm stuck in the plastic packaging of a cucumber, which he had purchased at Tesco, a British supermarket chain.

Metcalfe and his kids named their new friend William. He then shared a photo of William and a cheeky complaint about the incident on Tesco's Facebook wall.

"I'm no vet, but I think the tight shrink wrap on the cucumber may have squashed and killed William," he wrote.

"Some diseases have Bono or Angelina Jolie as their champions, but hookworm has only Peter Hotez."

That's what scientist and pediatrician Peter Hotez said about himself in a 2010 book, The Imaginations Of Unreasonable Men.

So he's not ... modest. But ask people in the world of global health about his work to end diseases caused by hookworm and other parasitic worms and they'll agree with his self-assessment.

Last week, we asked a question: What does it mean to be a "feminist" in your country? How do your belief systems and cultural traditions shape your view of how a woman should exercise her rights?

In Rwanda, some consider feminism a dirty word, says NPR's Gregory Warner in his Invisibilia podcast. It's shorthand for too aggressive, too liberated, too selfish. Yet women in Rwanda hold 64 percent of the seats in parliament — more than any other country.

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