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.
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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.
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.
CAPE TOWN] Fear, isolation and stigma are impacting the mental health of Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists say.
By: Laura Owings [CAPE TOWN] As the Christmas and New Year holiday season, and a sense of complacency around safety measures creep in, scientists warn there could be a surge in COVID-19 cases across Africa.
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.
CAPE TOWN] African technology hubs are challenging the dominance of traditional universities as sources of knowledge production, and are becoming better suited to a fast-paced knowledge economy, a study says.
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.
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.
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.
Global trade and monoculture will lead to crop disease pandemics that jeopardise world food systems, experts warn. A healthy wheat crop in Uganda, just weeks from harvest, turns into a tangle of black stems and shrivelled grains.
GENDER & WOMEN'S HEALTH
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.
By: Laura Owings [CAPE TOWN] Organisations involved in funding science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Africa should improve gender diversity in the programmes they support, experts say. By promoting and rewarding the inclusion of diversity and gender analysis in research, collaborating institutions can be agents of change and help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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.
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.
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.
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.