Neha Wadekar is a video and on-air journalist based in Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya and reporting across Africa. She also has a background in print and has reported for Reuters, the AP, the NYTimes and the Huffington Post.
A new forensic lab launched in central Somalia could transform how the Puntland state government handles cases of rape and gender-based violence, and possibly create a model for the rest of the country to follow. I have the story here, in a multimedia package for Voice of America.
TEXT- Sidian Bank has approved its first car loans to experienced Uber drivers in Kenya, using a model the ride hailing service hopes can be rolled out across countries in Africa where a lack of customer data limits lending.
TEXT- Over the past 20 years, Kenya has slashed its HIV prevalence rate to 6 percent today from 11 percent in 1996 through campaigns to encourage safer sex between heterosexual couples and improved access to antiretroviral drugs. But with heroin use on the rise in East Africa, little has been done in Kenya to reduce the risk to injecting drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men, who together make up more than 30 percent of new infections.
TEXT- In Uganda, sex work is illegal and highly stigmatised, making women vulnerable to unlawful arrest, rape, bribery, beating and murder. Now, a new technology initiative has provided around 1,000 sex workers across Uganda with information-loaded digital memory cards so they can use their phones to learn how to protect themselves against violence, HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.
TEXT- The campaign to track down poachers and protect endangered species in Africa’s embattled reserves is tapping into the technology used in the virtual world of online poker and other computer games. A U.S.-funded initiative is applying artificial intelligence and game theory algorithms to predict the movement of poachers, helping rangers who are testing the new technology in Uganda to find illegal hunters and their animal traps.
VIDEO- Police in Nairobi’s slums face serious dangers when doing their job. For some officers, the risk is too high, leading to underpolicing or overpolicing in some of the city’s most vulnerable communities. Kenya Police Chief Spokesman Charles Owino discusses policing in the slums, and touches on KPS’ response to a rise in informal security groups in these dangerous areas.
VIDEO- Stephen Mwangi grew up in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s most dangerous slums. As a child, he was exposed to police abuse of power, brutality and extrajudicial killings. These experiences led him to become a youth activist with the Mathare Social Justice Center, a group that works towards mobilizing the community to stand up for its rights through grassroots activism.
VIDEO- Issac Muasa used to be a criminal in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s most notorious slums. After a near-death experience, he decided to change his ways, becoming a champion for his community. Believing his community would not be adequately protected by government or police, Muasa started a organization made up of young former criminals who patrol the streets at night as a deterrent to crime.
FACEBOOK DIGITAL VIDEO- Eighty former criminals and young men from one of Nairobi’s most dangerous neighborhoods patrol its dark streets unauthorized, providing protection to a neighborhood largely left behind by police.
BROADCAST- Of the estimated 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, around 20% live in refugee camps set up by the government. I visited one of these state-sponsored camps, and some of the unofficial camps in northern Jordan, to better understand how these refugees survive each day.
BROADCAST- Fadi Hamdan was on his way to Friday prayers in his hometown in southern Syria when a shell landed next to him. He was taken to a hospital in Jordan for emergency surgery. His father waited by his bedside, praying for his son’s recovery, which never came.
BROADCAST- The violence in Syria has left waves of sick and injured on the doorsteps of bordering countries. The Jordanian government is struggling to keep up with the massive demand for healthcare services. I traveled to the Jordanian-Syrian border to document how one organization is trying to help.
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