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.

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

She has a skin color that you don't often see in films, fashion or magazines.

Khoudia Diop, a 19-year-old student and model from Senegal, has a hard time coming up with words to describe it. It's so dark, she says, it almost seems blue.

It's what shot her to the social media stratosphere recently. In August, she posed in a photo campaign with black women of all shades for The Colored Girl, a group that challenges society's beauty standards.

Can you find beauty in a life of hardship?

If the photos from the Siena International Photo Awards are any indication, the answer is yes. Last month, the winners and runners-up in 11 categories, including travel, nature, people and portraits, were announced.

Many of those top images were taken in the developing world, depicting lives affected by poverty and adversity — but not in the way you might expect.

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.

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.

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