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.

A lot of my free time is spent doodling. I'm a journalist on NPR's science desk by day. But all the time in between, I am an artist — specifically, a cartoonist.

I draw in between tasks. I sketch at the coffee shop before work. And I like challenging myself to complete a zine — a little magazine — on my 20-minute bus commute.

Virginity tests are making headlines in the United States. In November, the rapper T.I. drew a firestorm of criticism after he said during a podcast interview that he requires his 18-year-old daughter to undergo an annual virginity test with her gynecologist.

A protest is mounting over one of the recipients of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Goals Award, to be presented next week in New York City, as part of events surrounding the U.N. General Assembly. The award is given to individuals who have contributed to efforts to improve the lives of the poor.

This week, Pope Francis began a seven-day trip to Madagascar, Mauritius and Mozambique. On his second visit to sub-Saharan Africa, he hopes to offer comfort and rekindle unity in a region struggling with natural disasters, poverty and religious and political tensions.

In October, NPR reported on the efforts of reproductive rights activist Farhad Javid in Afghanistan. He was trying to free girls and women who had been jailed for failing a virginity test, even though such tests are banned by the U.N. Was he successful?

The last time we spoke to Javid, he was about to meet with Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani and his wife, first lady Rula Ghani.

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