Current Fellows

Frederick Lavoie photo crop

Frédérick Lavoie

Frédérick Lavoie is an independent journalist and an author from Quebec. Since 2008, he has lived and worked in Moscow, Mumbai and Chicago. He wrote two narratives published by La Peuplade: Allers simples: aventures journalistiques en Post-Soviétie (2012) (One-way ticket: journalistic adventures in post-soviet states) and Ukraine à fragmentation (2015) (Fragmented Ukraine).

Frédérick’s project:

For his project Dompter les eaux (Tame the Waters), he will travel to rural and urban parts of Bangladesh in order to understand issues linked to water management and their impact on the lives of Bangladeshis. Through water – a resource at times lacking, at times too plentiful, too salty, contaminated or carrying diseases – he hopes to enable the Canadian public to understand the interconnection among the various development challenges faced by countries like Bangladesh.

Because of its geographic, demographic, political and socioeconomic conditions, Bangladesh has to deal with a variety of major global challenges: climate change, migration, natural disasters, access to resources, food security, religious extremism, women’s rights, education, and epidemics. The issues affecting Bangladesh today will likely affect the rest of the world during the decades to come, hence the importance of understanding the current situation in that country.

Jennifer Yang photo crop

Jennifer Yang

Jennifer Yang is an award-winning journalist with the Toronto Star, where she currently writes about identity and inequality. Previously, Jennifer covered the global health beat for four years, writing from Bhutan, Iceland, Japan, Geneva, Malawi and Sierra Leone, where she was the first Canadian journalist to cover the 2014 Ebola outbreak from West Africa. Jennifer is a two-time UN Foundation press fellow and won a National Newspaper Award for her explanatory feature on the 2010 Chilean mining disaster. She was also part of the Star’s breaking news team that won a National Newspaper Award in 2011 for its coverage of the G20 summit. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Jennifer speaks Mandarin Chinese and has previously reported for the Globe and Mail, Edmonton Journal and Metro Toronto.

Jennifer’s project:

Rh disease is the public health success story many Canadians under 50 have never heard of — likely because they’ve never had to worry about the deadly affliction. Caused by a blood incompatibility between mother and fetus, the disease can have serious consequences for newborns: brain damage or even death. Today, Rh disease can be easily prevented, thanks to a prophylactic injection that Canadian scientists helped develop.

While Rh disease has been eradicated in wealthy nations, it persists in lower-income countries, where health infrastructure is poor and an estimated 100,000 newborns are killed every year. For her fellowship project, Jennifer will collaborate with the Global Reporting Centre in British Columbia to profile efforts to wipe out Rh disease and explore why this important public health issue — with a ready-made cure — continues to persist beyond our borders.

2016.02.18 Marc André Sabourin

Marc-André Sabourin

As a freelance journalist, Marc-André Sabourin contributes regularly to L’actualité magazine, covering business and technology. His work has taken him to Cameroon, Russia, and the United States, where he has written on topics such as the legalization of cannabis and the destruction of chemical weapons.
“As an independent journalist, funding a story in a developing country is often difficult. By solving the financial side of the equation, the Aga Khan Fellowship for International Development Reporting allows me to focus on the main topic: the story.”

Marc-André’s project:

Can we teach the same way we make Big Macs? It’s a shocking idea, but this is precisely the avenue chosen by Bridges International Academies, a startup founded by two Americans in Kenya with the aim of tackling the problem of basic education… while making a profit.

For six dollars a month, the company guarantees that a teacher will always be present in class and that the quality of education will be the same for all students – two promises that Kenya’s public school system have not managed to keep.

Over 100,000 students currently attend one of the Bridges International Academies’ schools, a figure that the startup hopes will climb to 10 million by 2025 thanks to its growth in Africa and Asia.

As a journalist covering economic issues, I am intrigued by Bridges International Academies’ approach. International development issues are rarely seen as business opportunities, and the role of the private sector in this field is often the subject of debate.
The Fellowship for International Development Reporting gives me the means to collect the facts directly in the field. This will allow me to investigate the matter more thoroughly and spark public discussion.