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.

Last November, an aid worker named Steve Dennis filed a claim against his employer for failing to protect him after he was attacked and kidnapped while working at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya in 2012. The Oslo District Court found the Norwegian Refugee Council to be "grossly negligent in regards to the safeguarding of staff." Dennis was awarded $520,000.

What are the biggest social and economic problems the world faces today? And how close are we to ending them?

Those are the questions that the U.N. Economic and Social Council aims to answer in its first report on the Sustainable Development Goals, released this past week.

The SDGs, as they're known, are 17 global goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030. The U.N.'s member states approved them last September.

This past Friday, Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch was murdered in an apparent "honor killing." Her brother Waseem Azeem admitted that he strangled her to death because he disapproved of her provocative social media presence in the socially conservative country.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

The U.S. State Department's Anti-Trafficking Heroes came from very different corners of the world: Cyprus, Pakistan, Russia and Senegal.

Yet all carried the same thing in their pocket or purse: photos of the victims they had rescued from human trafficking, stored in their mobile phones.

The U.S. State Department issued its annual Trafficking in Persons report on Thursday, and the big news is the status of Thailand.

People talk about a flash of inspiration. But Xavier Helgesen's eureka moment came in the dark.

A few years ago, the American entrepreneur was traveling through Malawi to meet with clients for his book-selling company, Better World Books. He stopped in Monkey Bay, a town of about 30,000 people, to spend the night. What made this place unforgettable, he says, was that it was "100 percent off-grid."

"Ca."

When Ranwa Yehia heard her nearly 3-year-old son, Nadeem, making this sound, she got cold shivers all over her body. After three months of saying "cat," Nadeem couldn't say the whole word anymore.

Shortly after, Yehia was told she could no longer bring her son to his nursery school unless the family could get another teacher to shadow him in class.

What was going on with Nadeem?

When I was around 11 or 12, my dad was the general manager of the Hilton Fayrouz in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, a resort town at the tip of the Sinai peninsula. I spent my summers like Eloise, the little girl who lived at the "tippy top" floor of the Plaza Hotel. Like her, I wandered the hotel grounds and made friends with the staff and tourists from Sweden to South Africa. Unlike her, I got to swim and snorkel in the sparkling aquamarine waters of the Red Sea.

There was the seven-member all-male panel discussion on energy and climate at the European Commission in February.

There was the seven-member all-male panel on counterterrorism at the U.N. in March.

And then there was the panel on infrastructure at the World Bank in April: 15 men and one lone woman, in a red blazer, serving as the moderator.

Why are women so woefully underrepresented?

So now we know who Beyonce's favorite poet is: 27-year-old Somali-Brit Warsan Shire.

If there's anything I've learned over the past few days, it's that street harassment takes many forms and happens everywhere. And it makes women feel super icky — not flattered.

After I shared my own experience being catcalled by men when I spent summers in Egypt as a teenager — and even being ambushed by a group of street boys just for wearing shorts — I wanted to know: How do men and boys treat women in public in other parts of the world?

Africa's not the only corrupt continent.

That message is the silver lining for Africans in the Panama Papers scandal — a collection of documents linking 143 politicians (and their family members and cronies) to outrageous sums of stolen cash hidden in a topsy-turvy network of offshore bank accounts and shell companies.

"Ya amar, ya amar."

When I was a teenager, I used to love hearing those words — which mean something like "hey, gorgeous" in Arabic — hissed and whispered at me by men on the street in Cairo, where I spent my summers. I never got that kind of attention in suburban Southern California, where I grew up. But at the Genena Mall in Medinat Nasr on the outskirts of the city, dressed in low-slung jeans and a short-sleeve shirt, I felt like the most beautiful girl in the world.

Finding people's homes in Nigeria is a nightmare.

ZIP codes don't exist. House numbers are random. In poorer areas of the city, there's no such thing as urban planning. Houses are built wherever people can find a plot of land, for example. And many parts of the city aren't mapped out on GPS. Then, of course, there's the traffic.

Just how, exactly, could we wipe out a species of mosquito?

That's the question some of our readers wanted to know after reading our story that pondered the fate of the mosquito that carries the Zika virus, the Aedes aegypti. Would attempting to eliminate them be a good thing, or would it somehow backfire the ways things often do when humans meddle with nature?

They called her Mr. Smith.

When the newly installed USAID chief Gayle Smith was at a conference in Africa recently, the local leaders didn't recognize the gender of her name. So they gave her a "Mr. Smith" tag — which she now has on top of a bookshelf in her corner office at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, D.C.

The nameplate on her desk makes things clear. It says: "GIRL BOSS."

Today is Pi Day, a time to celebrate the never-ending number that helps us calculate the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

On Sunday morning, Americans will "spring forward." With the exception of Hawaii and some parts of Arizona, people will set their clocks ahead to get more light at night.

Not everybody's on board. Sure, Australia and most of Europe join us but most African and Asian nations skip daylight saving time. India and China don't enforce it, for example.

Carolina Chelele is a contestant on a popular reality TV show. It's not about dating, housewives or survival. It's about ... farming. Specifically, farming by females.

Sheryl Sandberg. Hillary Clinton. Malala Yousafzai. Oprah. Even Taylor Swift.

These names pop up when you Google "women changing the world." Depending on your politics and point of view, you may agree that these influencers have broken stereotypes, raised global awareness for critical issues like energy and education, and/or served as role models for girls.

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