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.

With so much attention paid to high-profile women in 2016, from Hillary Clinton to Wonder Woman, it's easy to lose sight of lesser-known women who are blazing a trail in low- and middle-income countries. In ways big and small, these women have moved the needle on gender equality by being activists, role models or simply taking a stand.

Here's a roundup of some of the many memorable women we profiled on Goats and Soda in 2016.

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.

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