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.

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.

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?

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