Laura Owings Rawden

Freelance journalist & media consultant

South Africa

I'm an internationally experienced media professional working in digital, broadcast, print and radio. I have a talent for turning complex and technical information into engaging, people-led stories that attract audiences.

My specialties include news and feature reporting on science and development, health, technology and agriculture.

I also provide media consulting services, with special focus on social media, public relations and content strategy.

For more information, contact me at: locowings [at]



Asia & Pacific
Feeding the future - Asia & Pacific

COVID-19 disruptions to food supply chains have served to highlight a worrying trend: despite efforts to achieve zero hunger by 2030, hundreds of millions of people worldwide do not have enough nutritious food to eat. And while agriculture is increasingly vulnerable to climate extremes, it continues to be a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and biodiversity loss.

Health body, not trade lawyers, 'should decide patents access'

By: Laura Owings Trade negotiations are dictating access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. But will patent waivers increase access to lifesaving medicines in the global South? Laura Owings reports. Eight months ago, South Africa and India proposed a trade-related waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Research colonialism still plagues Africa - Sub-Saharan Africa

By: Laura Owings [CAPE TOWN] Tokenism, top-down management and inequality still plague African research collaborations with the developed world. In spite of years of talk about collaborative partnerships, African researchers say that they are all too often consigned to the role of field worker or information gatherer despite being leaders in their science.


Sub-Saharan Africa
COVID-19 is independent South Africa's 'gravest crisis' - Sub-Saharan Africa

CAPE TOWN] COVID-19 has presented South Africa with the gravest crisis in the history of its democracy, according to the country's President Cyril Ramaphosa. As South Africa grapples with an already burdened healthcare system, densely populated cities and a stark socio-economic divide, its disease response is under scrutiny.

Daily Maverick
SPOTLIGHT: Covid-19 and HIV: What we can learn from a new WHO report

A report by the World Health Organization shows that people living with HIV have a 30% greater chance of developing severe or fatal Covid-19 than those who do not. It argues that vaccines should be prioritised for HIV-positive individuals. A report by the World Health Organization shows that pe...


Funding Africa's mHealth innovators only half solution - SciDev.Net

Despite increasing use of mobile technologies in African healthcare, key challenges remain, writes Laura Owings. As a community health worker tasked with tracking infant vaccinations in Kenya, Collince Oluoch was overwhelmed by the burdens of the job. He encountered mothers with no record of their children's vaccinations, caregivers who could not remember clinic visits and colleagues who fudged figures.

Helping Africa prepare for 5G

As the fourth industrial revolution becomes part of our future, the University of Cape Town's (UCT) Dr Joyce Mwangama is leading the way with the development of Africa's first 5G testbed. Most people are familiar with the connectivity that comes with 4G cellular network service: swift loading times while surfing, quick transfer of photos and videos, and cloud computing.


Sub-Saharan Africa
Africa's young agri-entrepreneurs nurturing the future - Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa's young agri-entrepreneurs are invigorating agriculture with innovative initiatives, writes Laura Owings. Standing among rows of blooming purple cabbage, Rodgers Kirwa is on his phone - sending a tweet. It is the first of many in the #AgribusinessTalk254 hashtag series he uses to inspire young people about the potential of agri-business.

Tap digital solutions to transform Africa's agriculture - SciDev.Net

By: Laura Owings [CAPETOWN] Despite digital technologies in African agriculture being worth US$2.6 billion and reaching over 33 million registered users, its benefits can only be realised if policymakers and developers put farmers first, a report says.


Sub-Saharan Africa
Women 'use advice apps for sex tips' rather than health - Sub-Saharan Africa

Rather than using apps to seek health information, 20 per cent of African women use them to please their partners, writes Laura Owings. [CAPETOWN] As Ruth Nabembezi, a 25-year-old social entrepreneur, was growing up in an orphanage in Uganda, she became increasingly frustrated about the lack of sex education for African women.

Sub-Saharan Africa
More use of female condom could 'make sex safer for women' - Sub-Saharan Africa

CAPE TOWN] The low uptake of female condom use in South Africa is due to the reluctance of healthcare workers to endorse it for preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, a study says. The female condom can gain more prominence when healthcare workers overcome the reluctance to endorse use.


Humanity at crossroads, biodiversity report cards warn - SciDev.Net

Developing countries that have been pushing for stronger ecosystems protections have been armed with a cache of evidence, released in a series of biodiversity report cards that warn the world teeters at a crossroads. Urgent action is needed to protect food systems and health and mitigate climate change, says the United Nation's latest Global Biodiversity Outlook, published today.

Sub-Saharan Africa
UNAIDS leader to resign next year after review voices "no confidence" - Sub-Saharan Africa

Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, the agency overseeing the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, will step down from his post in June 2019, the agency announced yesterday (13 December). The move comes after the release of an independent panel report, which identified systematic bullying, abuse and sexual harassment under his watch.

Sub-Saharan Africa
US shutdown could deeply hurt African science - Sub-Saharan Africa

By: Laura Owings [CAPE TOWN] African science and research programmes may be at risk if the partial government shutdown in the US continues, experts working with US partners say. They are saying that funding uncertainties could have long-term impact on the continent's development.