IRIN director moderates panel on social cohesion in the Arab world
22 May 2017
IRIN Director Heba Aly moderated the panel “Arab World from History to Fiction” on Saturday at the World Economic Forum Middle East & North Africa Summit.
- Marwa al-Sabouni, Syrian architect
- Amr Moussa, Egyptian politician and diplomat, former Arab League secretary-general
- Sheikha Bodour al-Qasimi, chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, founder and CEO of the Kalimat Group
- Eugene Rogan, director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony's College, University of Oxford
Watch the panel and see Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni take on former Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa in a debate on whether the region has lost its identity amid recurring crisis.
“Identity for me is related to accomplishment,” says al-Sabouni. "Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, you could correct me if I’m wrong, we haven’t accomplished anything, and this is manifested in our architecture and in our surroundings. I think the way that we build could be a good place for us to change and for us to start a new phase.”
You can also listen to IRIN Middle East Editor Annie Slemrod tell you more about our work, including some of the humanitarian crises we are focused on at the moment, and the challenges faced by our journalists in this Facebook live interview.
IRIN nominated for two awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia
18 May 2017
Excellence in Video Reporting: Why this Indonesian fisherman risked it all
Shot and produced by acclaimed German filmmaker Florian Kunert, this video powerfully captures the tough position Indonesian fishermen find themselves in. Fish stocks are depleting rapidly, putting pressure on them to find ways to increase their dwindling catches to feed their families. The easiest method is blast fishing, which they do by building makeshift bombs from plastic bottles filled with explosive powder scratched off of matches.
But blast fishing carries huge risks, both in human and environmental terms. It destroys the coral reefs that provide a habitat for fish, and exposes fishermen to mortal danger. Beautifully filmed in markets and villages, on the open water and below the ocean’s surface, this video provides a stark warning about the human costs of destroying fishing habitats.
Excellence in Human Rights Reporting: Myanmar says Rohingya rape and abuse allegations “made-up”, despite mounting evidence
In the face of outright denials by Myanmar’s government, IRIN Asia Editor Jared Ferrie uncovered strong evidence that the military was committing atrocities against the country’s persecuted ethnic Rohingya Muslim community. His story juxtaposes the experiences of survivors against government statements, providing a historical record of both the atrocities and the attempts to cover them up.
As Myanmar refused to allow journalists near the police border posts where the accounts were emerging, Ferrie travelled to neighbouring Bangladesh. His vital reporting there revealed that the number of people who fled across the border was far higher than previously reported and directly challenged the government’s narrative. A spokeswoman for Myanmar’s leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, insists that military operations had been conducted “with very much restraint”. And allegations of rape and ethnic cleansing? “Completely false.” With the evidence presented in Ferrie's story, such denials became impossible to believe.
IRIN begins new project on countering militancy in West Africa
4 May 2017
IRIN is excited to announce the launch of our new in-depth reporting project, “Countering violent extremism in Nigeria and the Sahel”, a partnership with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The general objective of this project is to deepen the discussion around the dynamics of radicalization and to identify interventions that help reduce violent extremism and help build peace.
Our first piece, “Boko Haram: Nigeria winning the battle but losing the war?”, comes just as Nigeria’s spectacularly grisly Boko Haram conflict seems to be coming to an end. The momentum is finally with the military, and for the first time a post-war future is beginning to be imagined.
Key to peace is what happens to the Boko Haram fighters now surrendering. The government’s counter-insurgency strategy involves the reintegration of “deradicalised” ex-combatants back into their communities. The problem is: those communities don’t want them.
For this feature, IRIN’s Africa Editor Obi Anyadike travels to Maiduguri, the home of the insurgency, to talk to men and women who have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram about forgiveness and reconciliation. He finds a fractured and deeply traumatised society that has little trust for the government and its plans, and are prepared to kill to keep Boko Haram out, even while flickers of progress are visible.
Read the piece here.
IRIN film shortlisted for media rights award
30 March 2017
IRIN’s film “Who in the world is Millie Wonder?” has been shortlisted for the One World Media Women’s Rights in Africa Award.
Shot and produced by our multimedia editor, Miranda Grant, the film tells the inspiring story of a rape survivor who gives self-defence training to schoolgirls in a Nairobi slum.
“I used to cry, cry, cry, cry, cry. I wanted, even, to kill myself,” says Wonder. “I’ll continue teaching and teaching and teaching girls even if I don’t get paid... I don’t want to see other girls go through [what I went through]."
Her story is incredibly empowering but also a stark reminder that rape is still common and used as a weapon of war. Many victims – wherever they may be – still face stigma, shame, and silence.
Watch the film here and please promote it on Twitter #OWMAwards
IRIN Vacancy: Director of Finance
6 March 2017
IRIN is hiring a Director of Finance to join our team in Geneva as soon as possible. See the job description.
If you think you have what it takes, please send your CV to [email protected] (subject line: Director of Finance), along with a cover letter outlining why you’d like to work with IRIN in particular. Please note that all candidates must hold a valid Swiss work permit.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Deadline for application: 20 March 2017
IRIN Vacancy: External Relations Internship
6 March 2017
IRIN is hiring an External Relations Intern to join our team in Geneva as soon as possible. See the job description.
If you think you have what it takes, please send your CV to [email protected] (subject line: External Relations Internship), along with a cover letter outlining why you’d like to work with IRIN in particular and how your experience has prepared you for the role. Please note that all candidates must hold a valid Swiss work permit.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Deadline for application: 20 March 2017
IRIN welcomes a new Director of External Relations and Admin and Finance Manager
17 January 2017. Direct link.
IRIN is pleased to welcome two new members to its team: Sarah Noble, Director of External Relations (follow her on Twitter), and Victoria Bytsko, Admin and Finance Manager. These two newly created roles will be based at IRIN’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Sarah Noble brings with her more than one decade of experience in strategic communication in the field of international peace and security. For the past 11 years, she has worked in a variety of positions, most recently as Director of Global Engagement, at the global peacebuilding organisation Interpeace, which, like IRIN, spun-off from the United Nations. She also serves as Head of the Peace Talks, an initiative that highlights inspirational stories of people who are making positive contributions to peace.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better candidate for this crucial position,” IRIN Director Heba Aly said. “Sarah has direct experience in the kind of fundraising, outreach and engagement IRIN needs, but equally importantly, she shares our passion for improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
A member of the management team, Noble is the first Director of External Relations in IRIN’s history. Her recruitment will help IRIN execute its new five-year strategy, which focuses on audience engagement as a core pillar. In the years to come, IRIN intends to be much more visible, distribute its content through more channels and platforms, and better understand and respond to audience needs.
Victoria Bytsko joins IRIN after 20 years in administration, HR and finance at the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières. She has a wealth of experience both in the field – from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola to Indonesia and Pakistan – and in MSF’s head office in Brussels.
After constituting a Swiss association in January 2016, IRIN began running its own independent operations in June. Bytsko is responsible for handling IRIN’s day-to-day finances, donor reporting, annual accounts, HR and general administration.
"Victoria will play a key role in ensuring our new administrative and financial systems are robust, compliant, and support our growing ambitions,” Aly said. "We are so pleased to have her on board as we enter a new phase of operational maturity as an organisation."
More about our team here.
IRIN Vacancy: Social Media & Audience Engagement Officer
16 January 2017
IRIN is hiring a Social Media & Audience Engagement Officer to join our team as soon as possible. See the job description.
If you think you have what it takes, please send your CV to [email protected] (subject line: Social Media Officer), along with a cover letter outlining why you’d like to work with IRIN in particular, an example of an innovative social media outreach/engagement initiative that you conceived of and executed, and a few initial ideas you would bring to IRIN’s audience engagement.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Deadline for application: 29 January 2017
IRIN is pitching for funding from Innovate Africa, as part of an innovation challenge focused on journalism and the news media. With our partners, we are proposing three projects: a new immersive journalism unit to bring our humanitarian stories from Africa to life; a news gateway to highlight African news -- including humanitarian stories -- that’s not being read elsewhere; and a crowd-sourced accountability project highlighting failed aid in African countries. Find out more here, and please share your thoughts on our ideas via social media – remember to tag @irinnews and #innovateAFRICA!
IRIN’s Blue Nile coverage wins an award
3 November 2016
IRIN’s multimedia feature “Blue Nile – Sudan’s Forgotten Front”, published in June, has won second place in the National Press Photographer's Association (NPPA) Quarterly Multimedia Contest and been shortlisted for an Amnesty International Media Award.
The awards recognize excellence in visual journalism and human rights reporting respectively.
With local voices, graphics and audio-visuals, this feature on a remote southeastern province of Sudan offers a unique, immersive multimedia experience from a region where journalists rarely dare to venture. Overshadowed by higher profile conflicts in Darfur and South Sudan, the long-running conflict in Blue Nile that pits the government in Khartoum against rebels fighting for their independence has had immense humanitarian consequences. In March, Amanda Sperber, Will Miller, Alex Pritz and Ashley Hammer crossed the border by road from South Sudan and spent two weeks crisscrossing the province. What they found was a region depopulated by violence, stalked by hunger, and abandoned by the international aid community.
Here is some of the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received on the feature, which has been widely shared on and offline:
“Find the time to read this incredible multimedia piece on a forgotten conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile State.” – Max Bearak, Washington Post
“Gripping multimedia piece on the exhausted war and urgent humanitarian crisis plaguing Sudan’s Blue Nile.” – Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch
“Fascinating report from IRIN on Blue Nile conflict. Also superbly put together.” – Craig Browne, WFP
“This is another very impressive bit of multimedia reporting, from a forgotten conflict: Blue Nile region of Sudan.” – Jason Burke, The Guardian
20 October 2016
IRIN contributor and former BBC correspondent Chris Simpson has died in Dakar, Senegal, aged 53.
He was not only a hugely respected journalist, but a warm, witty, frighteningly intelligent and ridiculously generous man. He has left behind a legion of friends who were made better for knowing him.
Chris began his journalism career at West Africa magazine. He went on to cover the Angolan civil war for the BBC and IPS in the 1990s, where he made his mark. For several years he ran an IRIN radio training project in Côte d’Ivoire, and was more recently a regular contributor for IRIN on the Sahel.
His research for each story was exhaustive, the knowledge of his chosen subject (and many other less relevant things) immense. Chris will always be remembered for his priceless humour and deep humanity.
We miss him terribly.
- Obi Anyadike
IRIN's official opening in Geneva
18 October 2016
On 12 October 2016, IRIN opened its new headquarters in Geneva to a crowd of ambassadors, Swiss authorities, and representatives of diplomatic missions, NGOs, UN agencies, academia and the private sector.
Thank you to all those who joined us at the event and online to mark this new chapter in IRIN's history.
Check this page to catch up with a selection of videos, photos, and more.
IRIN to open its Geneva headquarters
4 October 2016
We will be officially opening our new, independent headquarters in Geneva on 12 October 2016!
See the press release for more details, including the full programme and how to register for the webcast.
IRIN Vacancy: Admin & Finance Officer
3 August 2016
IRIN is hiring an Admin & Finance Officer to join our team in Geneva as soon as possible. See the job description.
If you think you have what it takes, please send your CV to [email protected] (subject line: Admin & Finance Officer), along with a cover letter outlining outlining why you’d like to work with IRIN in particular, and why you are well-suited for a demanding international start-up environment requiring an all-rounder ready to get his/her hands dirty!
We look forward to hearing from you!
Deadline for application: 11 September 2016
IRIN Vacancy: Director of Fundraising and Communications
22 June 2016
IRIN is hiring a Director of Fundraising and Communications to join our team in Geneva as soon as possible. See the job description.
If you think you have what it takes, please send your CV to [email protected] (subject line: Fundraising Director), along with a cover letter outlining initial thoughts on the approach you would take towards IRIN’s business development.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Deadline for application: 17 July 2016
1 June 2016
IRIN welcomes two new board members
IRIN is very pleased to welcome two new members to its governing board: Sara Pantuliano, managing director at the Overseas Development Institute, and Paula Fray, a veteran South African journalist and media trainer (see full bios below). Both were elected during a 12-13 May 2016 meeting of the executive committee, IRIN’s decision-making body, in London, UK.
“Sara and Paula – each leading experts in their fields – bring decades of experience in humanitarian response and journalism on the African continent, dealing with the very issues at the core of IRIN’s mission,” French said. “They join IRIN at an exciting time of growth and renewal, and we look forward to their contributions.”
At a time of unprecedented crises around the world, IRIN spun off from its historic home in the United Nations in 2015 to become an independent, non-profit media organisation specialised in crisis reporting.
IRIN appoints new Director, head of Enterprise Projects
As part of this transition, IRIN has appointed former Managing Editor Heba Aly as its new Director.
Aly was a core part of the team that planned and executed IRIN’s spin-off into an independent, non-profit media organisation. A Canadian-Egyptian multimedia journalist, she first joined IRIN’s West Africa office 10 years ago, and has worked her way through almost every part of the organisation since.
“We’re delighted to announce Heba’s appointment. She has the right drive, talent and vision to take IRIN into the next chapter,” French said. “IRIN’s transformation over the last year and a half would not have been possible without Heba’s dynamism and tenacity, and we know she will apply that same energy and passion in her new role.”
Aly takes over the leadership from IRIN co-founder Ben Parker, who most recently guided the organisation’s successful establishment as an independent entity. Parker will lead a new enterprise unit at IRIN, leading investigative and data-driven reporting on the causes, effects and responses to humanitarian crises.
“Ben’s new unit will allow IRIN to hold the emergency aid industry to account in new and innovative ways, at a time when the sector has recognised the need for increased transparency and accountability,” French continued.
IRIN receives two new funding grants
So far in 2016, IRIN has struck two new partnerships to complement its existing donor base, including a three-year agreement with the Swiss Lottery (Loterie Romande) to support the transfer of its operations to its new headquarters in Geneva.
This funding complements previously-agreed 2016 funding for IRIN from the Swiss Development Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
“With its expanding board, new leadership, and increasing funding base, IRIN is positioning itself for growth in the years to come,” French concluded.
A letter to our readers
16 February 2016
As IRIN celebrates its 20th anniversary, a new website, and a new board of directors, Managing Editor Heba Aly has this message to readers.
16 February 2016
Pulitzer-nominated journalist Howard French heads new board of crisis reporting venture: see the press release.
IRIN contributor Almigdad Mojalli killed in Yemen
17 January 2016
It is with deep regret and sadness that we received news that IRIN’s regular contributor in Yemen, Almigdad Mohammed Ali Mojalli, was killed on Sunday morning at Hammam Jaref, on the outskirts of the capital Sana’a... Read the full statement.
20 years of IRIN coverage
8 January 2016
IRIN turned 20 at the end of last year. Over the last two decades, we have reported from more than 2,200 locations around the world. Take a look:
13 December 2015
In an interview with EmergencyAIDio, UN aid worker Brendan McDonald explains how IRIN's Memento Mori article on the mental health and wellbeing of aid workers inspired the petition to include aid worker health and safety at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in 2016, as well as his Be Well, Serve Well campaign.
Rocky road: Disabled refugees battle through the Balkans
7 December 2015
In an interview with the BBC World Service, IRIN contributor Jodi Hilton explains her photo feature on the dangerous journey through the Balkans for injured and disabled asylum seekers. Her story for IRIN coincides with World Disabilities Day on 3 December.
Our 5 most popular pieces in November
30 November 2015
- NRC Kidnapping: A wake up call for the aid industry
- How bad is the drought in Ethiopia?
- Militancy in Mali: Conflict Map & Context
- Syrian refugees respond to their worst nightmare
- Commentary: A Desert Called Reform
18 November 2015
IRIN was a media partner at this year's AixEx conference in Brussels, where Managing Editor Heba Aly spoke about innovation in aid and chaired a panel about collaboration between the public, private and non-profit sectors. Three IRIN reporters and photographers were also nominated among the eight finalists of the new AidEx humanitarian journalism awards.
IRIN reach and impact
10 November 2015
Since leaving the UN this year, we have grown and diversified our audience. Take a look!
Partnership with EASO
7 November 2015
In a new partnership, IRIN will be providing research to the European Asylum Support Office to help inform its analysis about migration trends in countries of origin.
Nominated for 3 AidEx Humanitarian and Development Journalism Awards
4 November 2015
The majority of today's conflicts take place in Muslim countries or involve Muslim combatants. In this 4-part series, Heba Aly examines the humanitarian provisions of Islamic law, including rules of war, protection of civilians and aid access - as well as how militants and aid agencies alike are interpreting Islamic law for their own ends.
When South Sudan, the world's newest country, descended into civil war, the town of Leer was one of the worst affected. Photographer Jacob Zocherman documented the devastation and near starvation in the town in this shocking audio slideshow.
In 2012, more than 170,000 people were displaced by inter-communal violence between Buddhist ethnic Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar. David Longleath visited camps on both sides of the divide and produced this photo slideshow of how displaced people are surviving in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.
IRIN on Irish Radio
1 November 2015
In this interview with RTE Ireland, the national television and radio broadcaster, IRIN contributor Jason Patinkin describes "All places were dangerous": Civilian voices from a South Sudan front line. This photo feature tells the stories of six civilians who fled fighting in Leer county in South Sudan's Unity State, one of the regions hardest hit since conflict broke out again in December 2013, through powerful portraits and interviews.
Six Months in...
1 July 2015
We've seen great results in our first six months operating independently, outside of the UN. Despite having a smaller team, we've increased our production and grown our audience, all while undergoing changes to our organisational structure, establishing a new legal entity and governance system, and recruiting staff.
We are still in the process of rebranding and you'll be seeing a new name, logo and web platform in the months to come.
Here are the top 20 most popular articles and features published in the first half of this year, as of 1 July:
- What refugees really think of aid agencies
- Why are humanitarians so W.E.I.R.D?
- Psychologists stay home: Nepal doesn’t need you
- Interactive data visualisation: The Humanitarian Economy
- Flat pack shelters for Iraqi’s displaced
- Nepal Earthquake: Live Blog
- Five false assumptions driving EU migration policy
- Refugee Vs Migrant: Time for a new label?
- Thousands of Burundians flee as election tensions rise
- No husband, no home: Migrant wives struggle in Nepal
- Who are the Imbonerakure and why is Burundi unravelling?
- What future for the humanitarian capital of the world?
- Interactive map: Female genital mutilation
- Who celebrity advocates are really targeting. And it's not you.
- Why Bin Laden’s thoughts matter
- Aid workers or journalists: who should report the news?
- The real winners of Greece’s elections
- Long read: The Struggle for Survival on Ukraine's Frontline
- "An almost impossible job" - 10 tips for the UN's next humanitarian boss
- Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean: What can be done?
The animated GIF below shows every location identified in IRIN coverage over the last three months. In just 10 seconds, you're seeing IRIN's geographic range from late February to late May 2015.
IRIN's emphasis on the non-Western world, especially Africa, Asia, and the Middle East is immediately clear on this map, especially its high volume of coverage of areas traditionally neglected by Western mainstream news media. The significant connectivity of Europe as an aid or stability partner with many of these regions is also clear.
Dots are not sized by the volume of news coverage mentioning that location, but the more coverage mentioning a location the brighter it becomes, so very light blue areas indicate locations of high attention in IRIN's coverage over time.
We are pleased to welcome new chief sub-editor Andrew Gully, Asia editor Jared Ferrie, and intern Emmeline Booth to our growing team.
We are striving to bring you a bolder, sharper, more creative and more authoritative IRIN. It's paying off: our articles are generating debate online, being discussed by experts at conferences, and encouraging other media to pick up on forgotten issues. We've been introducing new editorial formats aimed at improving your experience, including cartoons, live blogs, flashy maps, timelines, infographics, curated digests of social media content, guest commentary, and editor analysis. While in transition, we're using this site to test out new products: check out our new multimedia and data visualization pages. We're trying to make our material increasingly interactive, like this map of ICC cases around the world.
Among our new products is the Crisis Brief, a collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute’s Humanitarian Policy Group, piloted in December as a way of filling an analysis gap at the early stages of a crisis. The first Crisis Brief on aid delivery in ISIS-controlled areas of Iraq was one of the most downloaded documents on ODI’s website. The research was widely cited and referenced by other media, including Vox, Business Insider, and the UK’s The Independent. Keep your eye out for the upcoming IRIN-ODI Crisis Brief on aid delivery in Ukraine.
We're flattered to be getting very positive feedback so far about our new content:
“Just wanted to say I've been more and more impressed with the IRIN file recently. Much sharper and bolder in holding the whole sector up to scrutiny. Lots of pieces I wish we'd done ourselves, and I find myself sharing more and more simply because the stories nail it. Nice work indeed.”
- Senior Editor, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Traffic and social media
While traffic on our own website has increased, IRIN is also much more consistently reaching readers and viewers on other platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Storify, Feedly, Medium, Instagram, YouTube and
SoundCloud. We now reach some 35 million people every month on social media, including a relatively young audience on Facebook that is showing increasing levels of engagement.
Our material continues to be extensively used in the media, academic and humanitarian sectors. We have been mentioned, cited and/or republished in Al Jazeera, VICE, USA Today, the Huffington Post, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. When our Editor-at-Large Obi Anyadike made a rare trip to Boko Haram’s stronghold in northeastern Nigeria in January, he was interviewed by Huffington Post Live, Mail & Guardian Africa, and South African TV.
IRIN’s most popular article in the last few months was a piece that brought to light what refugees and aid recipients in the Middle East think of aid organisations. It revealed major discontent with aid agencies - "when you decide to help someone... simply treat them as humans" - and highlighted gaps in accountability, communication with affected communities, and worse – a feeling that they were not treated with dignity. The article reflected the unique role IRIN can play during the World Humanitarian Summit process to bring some “insider” debates to a wider audience: WHS Secretariat Chief Jemilah Mahmood cited it as a call to action and an opportunity to learn lessons.
As always, we continue to share our insights and exchange with others in our space. Our Chief Executive Ben Parker and Managing Editor Heba Aly have participated in panel discussions, expert round-tables and online Q&As at the Frontline Club in London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Guardian Development Network, the annual conference of the NGO consortium ICVA, and the World Humanitarian Summit. They have briefed journalism students and humanitarian practitioners alike.
IRIN continues making unique inroads in humanitarian coverage in other languages, and audiences on Arabic and French social media channels are growing. An Arabic Wikipedia article about Yemen commended our coverage as “one of the best non-security and non-intelligence sources of information that translated statements of Houthi leaders and made it available to the English speaking audience.” Our Arabic articles have been re-produced and cited by Emirati, Yemeni, Libyan pan-Arab and diaspora newspapers and online news outlets. IRIN’s French articles continue to be syndicated by AllAfrica.com as well as other French African news sites, including en-afrique.info, newsforafrica.com/fr, afryka.fr, and realitesafricaines.
IRIN reports from the frontlines of conflicts and natural disasters thanks to funding from Jynwel Charitable Foundation Limited, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the United Nations Foundation.