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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 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.

A few days ago, my dad gave me a call. "When we land in D.C., it's going to be Eid al-Adha," he said. "You know, the one where we eat kharouf."

No, I did not know. I had never observed the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Although my father is a Muslim, my mother is Filipino and a strict Catholic. My parents divorced when I was a child. For most of my life, my dad lived in Cairo while I grew up in Southern California. I'd visit him in the summertime. But the trips never intersected with an Eid celebration.

Ten years ago, Renee Bach left her home in Virginia to set up a charity to help children in Uganda. One of her first moves was to start a blog chronicling her experiences.

Among the most momentous: On a Sunday morning in October 2011, a couple from a village some distance away showed up at Bach's center carrying a small bundle.

"When I pulled the covering back my eyes widened," Bach wrote in the blog. "For under the blanket lay a small, but very, very swollen, pale baby girl. Her breaths were frighteningly slow. ... The baby's name is Patricia. She is 9 months old."

It's not easy giving money to people in need.

In some countries, poor people may not have a bank account where a charity can transfer funds for financial aid. They may not have the ID — say, a birth certificate — required to cash a check at a bank.

And in an emergency situation — say, the aftermath of an earthquake — banks may not even be operating.

Could a single global digital currency — one that can be transferred through mobile phones — be a solution?

Stroll down the menstrual products aisle of your neighborhood drugstore, and you'll see a dizzying array of disposable pads and tampons in dozens of brands, shapes, colors and sizes.

Tucked away on one of the shelves, you might see a lesser-known option: the reusable menstrual cup.

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In June, an unusual email arrived in the inbox of an NPR global health correspondent.

It's a brand new ranking.

Called the Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index, it gives 129 countries a score for progress on achieving gender equality by 2030.

Here's the quick summary: Things are "good" in much of Europe and North America.

And "very poor" in much of sub-Saharan Africa.

In fact, that's the way it looks in many international rankings, which tackle everything from the worst places to be a child to the most corrupt countries to world happiness.

It's a cotton T-shirt. It costs $395. It's from Balenciaga, the luxury brand. And it bears the logo of the World Food Programme, the U.N. agency that provides food aid to disaster zones.

The shirt is part of a line of WFP-emblazoned streetwear, with some of the proceeds going to the charity. The collection, which also includes a $790 sweatshirt and $850 fanny pack, launched last year, and people in the aid community are debating: Is this a good way for a charity to promote itself?

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