Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is NPR's East Africa Correspondent. His reports cover the diverse issues and voices of a region that is experiencing unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. His coverage can be heard across NPR and NPR.org.

Before joining NPR, Warner was a senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where he endeavored to make the economics of American health care vivid and engaging. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnoses on the doctor-patient relationship. He composed a Suessian cartoon to explain why health care job growth policies can increase the national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won the 2012 Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Prior to Marketplace, Warner was a freelance radio producer reporting from conflict zones around the world. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for NPR's Radiolab.

Warner's radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, PRNDI, and a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has twice won Best News Feature from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009 and 2012.

Warner earned his degree in English at Yale University. He is conversant in Arabic.

Pages

6:11pm

Wed December 18, 2013
Shots - Health News

HIV Treatment Keeps A Family Together And Growing In Kenya

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:17 pm

When Benta Odeny was diagnosed with HIV, she started to protect her husband Daniel from the virus by taking antiretroviral medications. The same drugs also helped her give birth to an HIV-negative daughter, Angelia.
Gregory Warner NPR

Daniel and Benta Odeny married late by African standards: Both were in their 30s. And they'd only just hit their third anniversary when Benta started coughing blood.

The cough lasted a couple of weeks. So Benta went to the doctor. She had HIV. But Daniel was still HIV negative.

"She thought it was the end of the world," Daniel says.

Benta thought that Daniel would leave her and she would die alone. She had seen it happen many times to other women in her situation.

Read more

5:07pm

Fri December 13, 2013
NPR Story

Mandela's Home Town Prepares For Thousands Of Visitors

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Nelson Mandela will be buried on Sunday in his childhood village of Qunu. It's in one of the least developed regions of South Africa, on the eastern cape. Thousands are expected to attend the funeral, which has caused some scrambling. The only paved roads in the village are small. One leads to Mandela's home, another to the Mandela Museum.

Read more

3:32pm

Mon December 9, 2013
Planet Money

The Afterlife Of American Clothes

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 am

Bales of imported clothing are wheeled into the Gikombo Market in Nairobi, Kenya.
Sarah Elliott for NPR

This story is part of the Planet Money T-shirt project.

Jeff Steinberg had a maroon and white lacrosse jersey that he wore for years. It said "Denver Lacrosse" on the front and had his number, 5, on the back.

Read more

7:58am

Sun December 8, 2013
Africa

South Africans Celebrate Mandela On National Day Of Prayer

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 3:53 pm

A sea of tributes grows outside the home of former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday.
Matt Dunham AP

The day of prayer and reflection for Nelson Mandela began Sunday morning at the African Gospel Church in Orlando, an area of Soweto, Mandela's hometown.

The anti-apartheid icon died Thursday night of complications from a lung infection. He was 95 years old.

Fleur Nomthandazo has been coming to this church, her great-grandfather's church, every Sunday for the past six months to pray for Nelson Mandela's recovery. Today, she's here to pray for his family.

"We never cry when somebody dies," Nomthandazo says. "We celebrate the life that they lived."

Read more

10:17am

Wed November 27, 2013
Parallels

In Kenya, Corruption Is Widely Seen, Rarely Punished

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 1:20 pm

Video footage shows what appears to be Kenyan soldiers carrying plastic shopping bags as they leave a supermarket at Westgate Mall during a terrorist attack in Nairobi on Sept. 21. Kenya's security forces have long been rated as among the most corrupt institutions in the country, but even jaded Kenyans were shocked by the CCTV footage.
Reuters /Landov

Editor's Note: One out of three Africans paid a bribe in the past year to obtain a government document, get medical care, place kids in school or settle an issue with police, according to a recent survey. Police consistently attracted the highest ratings of corruption, including those in Kenya. NPR's Gregory Warner looks at the impact it has on the country.

Read more

3:04pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Parallels

How One Kenyan Tribe Produces The World's Best Runners

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 8:35 pm

Runners train in Ngong, Kenya, in 2012. The country has produced the world's best distance runners for decades, and most belong to the Kalenjin people.
Michael Steele Getty Images

Kenyan Wilson Kipsang won this year's Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds — an average of 4:42 per mile. It was easily the fastest marathon time ever recorded, an incredible feat for another powerful Kenyan runner.

But perhaps equally remarkable was that his fellow Kenyans also came in second, third, fourth and fifth place in this major international race. On the women's side, Kenyans placed first, second and fourth.

Read more

5:08pm

Thu October 31, 2013
Africa

Protesters Call For Justice In Brutal Gang Rape In Kenya

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 10:50 am

Hundreds take to the streets in Nairobi on Thursday, calling for justice for a 16-year-old girl dubbed "Liz," who was gang raped in rural Kenya. The men were caught by the police and let go after their punishment — cutting the grass at the police station.
Daniel Irungu EPA/Landov

The gang rape of a 16-year-old Kenyan schoolgirl — and the lack of punishment given to the alleged rapists — has sparked outrage in the country and beyond.

The attack was so violent it left the girl in a wheelchair with a severe back injury. She identified some of her attackers, who police apprehended — only to let go after they were ordered to cut the lawn at the police station.

Read more

3:20am

Mon October 14, 2013
Africa

Kenyan President Faced Justice With Help Of Secret Envelope

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 10:32 am

Kenya's deputy president William Ruto is back before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday. He and his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of instigating and financing deadly tribal violence in Kenya after that country's disputed 2007 election.

But their cases might never have reached this stage if not for one Kenyan judge and a remarkable disappearing act.

Read more

10:28pm

Sun October 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Target Of U.S. Raid In Somalia Called A Top Attack Planner

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 12:53 pm

A Kenyan intelligence official says that the "high-value terrorist leader" whose residence was targeted in a Navy SEAL raid Saturday was the senior al-Shabab leader Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, who used the alias Ikrima.

Read more

3:27am

Wed October 2, 2013
Africa

Did Kenyan Soldiers Loot Mall During Fight With Terrorists?

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:00 am

Bullet holes in the glass door of a shop in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rukmini Callimachi AP

More than a week after Islamic militants stormed an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to set up a commission to look into lapses in intelligence and security. At least 67 people died in the four-day siege, which ended with dozens still unaccounted for.

Read more

4:44pm

Fri September 13, 2013
Africa

What A Chatty Monkey May Tell Us About Learning To Talk

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 2:04 am

The gelada monkey, found only in the highlands of Ethiopia, is known as the bleeding heart baboon for the splash of red on its chest. Males of the species have a remarkable vocal agility greater than that of any nonhuman primate.
Gregory Warner NPR

The gelada monkey, also known as the bleeding heart baboon, makes a gurgling noise or wobble sound that scientists say is close to human speech — at least in how much facial coordination it requires.

Read more

5:48pm

Mon August 26, 2013
The Salt

'Braai Day' Aims To Bring S. Africans Together Over Barbecue

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:30 pm

Jan Scannell, former accountant, has taken on a new identity as "Jan Braai," a South African TV show host and media personality promoting the idea of National Braai (barbecuing) Day, celebrated each year on Sept. 24.
Courtesy of Stephanus Rabie

Nelson Mandela is officially "improving," though still in critical condition at a South African hospital. His long battle with a lung infection has South Africans anxiously contemplating their "post-Mandela" future in a still racially divided country. In a unique strategy, one man is hoping to help heal those divisions with a pair of barbecue tongs.

Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: To establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day.

Read more

4:21am

Wed August 7, 2013
Africa

For Ethiopian Women, Construction Jobs Offer A Better Life

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 7:32 pm

Mekedes Getachew, 19, has been working at construction sites in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, since she was 15 years old. Except for the heaviest lifting, she says, the laborers "all do the same work and we don't really say this is a man's job, but when it comes to salary there's a difference." She earns $1.50 a day. Men earn $2.
Gregory Warner NPR

Earlier this summer in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, I heard a complaint from many professionals that they could no longer find cheap house cleaners and nannies.

The apparently endless supply of girls and young women from the countryside who would work for peanuts just for a chance to move to the capital was drying up. It turns out more and more of them are finding work on one of the city's many construction sites.

Read more

2:38pm

Mon July 22, 2013
The Salt

How An Ethiopian Bean Became The Cinderella Of Coffee

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 1:17 pm

Haleuya Habagaro says she always knew her coffee was exquisite. "When I roast the coffee, people come to ask where that strong fruity smell is coming from."
Gregory Warner NPR

As we reported during Coffee Week in April, coffee aficionados pay top dollar for single-origin roasts.

The professional prospectors working for specialty coffee companies will travel far and wide, Marco Polo-style, to discover that next champion bean.

Read more

2:59am

Wed July 17, 2013
Parallels

In Kenya, Using Tech To Put An 'Invisible' Slum On The Map

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 8:56 pm

The Mathare Valley, shown here in an aerial map, is one of the largest and oldest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Residents are using hand-held GPS devices to map the area, which comprises 13 villages and is home to nearly 200,000 people.
Courtesy of Muungano Support Trust and Jason Corburn, UC Berkeley

If you were to do a search for the Nairobi city slum of Mathare on Google Maps, you'd find little more than gray spaces between unmarked roads.

Read more

4:19pm

Sun June 9, 2013
News

Britain Apologizes For Colonial-Era Torture Of Kenyan Rebels

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 6:36 pm

Mau Mau leader Gitu wa Kahengeri, right, poses with British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner at the end of a news conference announcing the settlement last week.
Ben Curtis AP

A 60-year-old wound in Kenya has finally found its recompense.

Last week, the British government finalized an out-of-court settlement with thousands of Kenyans who were tortured in detention camps during the end of the British colonial reign. The historic apology — and the unprecedented settlement — has been years in the making.

Read more

3:31am

Mon June 3, 2013
Parallels

For Young Somali Journalists, Work Often Turns Deadly

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 9:05 pm

Reporter Donna Ali, 18, awaits her turn to go on air. Shabelle hires reporters as young as 15.
Gregory Warner NPR

Shabelle Media is Somalia's largest news outlet — and a very dangerous place to work. Of the 12 journalists gunned down in the country last year, four were reporting for Shabelle.

A number of the reporters are teenagers, some as young as 15. The reporters almost never venture out of the office, which is outfitted with sleeping quarters and a kitchen.

Why are Shabelle's young journalists being targeted more than others?

Read more

5:25pm

Sun May 19, 2013
Parallels

Young Kenyans Build Mobile Apps For Local Use

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 9:59 pm

Kenyans watch a presentation at the "mobile apps garage showcase" this in Nairobi.
Gregory Warner NPR

You're out navigating the jammed sidewalks of Kenya's capital city when you suddenly realize you're in desperate need of a toilet. You crane your neck over the crowds, vainly seeking a McDonalds, a Starbucks — no such luck. What next?

There could be an app for that. Twendeloo, which is Swahili for "Let's Go to the Loo," would allow you to use your phone to locate the nearest public restroom in Nairobi's business district, then give it a rating for cleanliness.

Read more

5:50am

Sun May 19, 2013
Parallels

Escape From An Eritrean Prison

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 8:56 am

Eritrea's human rights record has been widely criticized under President Isaias Afwerki, shown here speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2011.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty

Eritrea's human rights record has long faced international criticism. Located in the Horn of Africa, the country is home to five million people, but so closed to the outside world that individual stories tend to come almost exclusively from those who have fled.

Read more

5:00pm

Wed May 15, 2013
Planet Money

Can Economics Save The African Rhino?

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 10:52 pm

A black dehorned rhinoceros is followed by a calf at the Bona Bona Game Reserve in 2012. South Africa has seen a devastating increase in poaching in recent years as black-market demand for rhino horn has grown.
Stephane de Sakutin AFP/Getty Images

When Duan Biggs was growing up in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, he used to watch elephants and rhinos walking past his bedroom window. He left home to pursue degrees in biology and economics, and when he returned in 2011 the park looked and sounded "like a pseudo war zone," he says.

"There'd be helicopters flying overhead all the time," he says. "I remember one afternoon coming back to my home from a game drive and the bush was crawling with people with assault rifles, from the army, from the police, and from National Parks. They were looking for poachers."

Read more

3:05pm

Tue May 14, 2013
Africa

The Enemy Inside: Rhino's Protectors Sometimes Aid Poachers

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 8:19 pm

Mike Watson (left), CEO of Kenya's Lewa Conservancy, and conservationist Ian Craig identify the carcass of a 4-year-old black rhino named Arthur, whom poachers had killed the night before. The well-armed, well-informed poachers very likely used night vision goggles and a silencer on an AK-47.
Gregory Warner NPR

It says a lot about the state of the war against poachers in Africa that the Lewa Conservancy, a private sanctuary in Kenya with 12 percent of the country's rhinos, recently appointed a CEO who has never studied zoology or biology. Instead, Mike Watson is an ex-captain in the British army.

His training has already come in handy. Take, for instance, a visit to a crime scene earlier this year: a rhino carcass splayed out in the mud.

Read more

5:30am

Sat May 11, 2013
Animals

To Count Elephants In The Forest, Watch Where You Step

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 11:37 am

Elephants gather at dusk to drink at a watering hole in Kenya.
Ben Curtis AP

Imagine you're flying in a two-seater plane over Africa, and, in an effort to see how elephants are faring, your job is to count all the ones you see. Over the savannah, that's easy. But how do you peer into the forests, where all you see is treetops?

For years, the zoologists who tried to do this just guessed. But in the late 1980s, conservationist Richard Barnes devised a method to take an elephant census in the densest of forests.

Read more

2:09pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Africa

With Robocalls, Eritrean Exiles Organize Passive Resistance

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki, shown on a visit to Libya in 2010, has been widely criticized by human rights groups. Eritrean exiles have organized passive protests, calling on people to stay home Friday.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Tucked in the northeast corner of Africa, Eritrea is one of the most closed societies in the world, so much so that it's sometimes dubbed the "North Korea of Africa."

President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media. The Internet is restricted. Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.

Read more

4:47pm

Fri April 26, 2013
Africa

787 Dreamliner Could Mean Big Things For Africa's 'Air Wars'

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 5:06 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The Dreamliner is coming back. FAA regulators have approved a fix for the Boeing Dreamliner 787, which was grounded around the world out of safety concerns. The first redesigned plane could retake to the skies as soon as this weekend out of Ethiopia. NPR's Gregory Warner explains what the world's most modern aircraft means to the cradle of humanity.

Read more

4:46pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Africa

Western Money, African Boots: A Formula For Africa's Conflicts

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia prepare to advance on the central Somali town of Buur-Hakba.
Stuart Price AFP/Getty Images

For the past six years in Somalia, Western countries have been putting up the cash and African nations have been supplying the soldiers, a formula that has pushed back al-Qaida-linked militants and allowed Somalia to elect it's first democratic government in 20 years.

"We can fix our problems in Africa," says Brig. Michael Ondoga, a contingent commander with the African Union Mission in Somalia or AMISOM. "All we need is your support."

It's not at all hard to see why this plan is so agreeable to the American government.

Read more

5:34pm

Tue March 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Will Congolese Warlord's Weirdly Civil Surrender Get Fellow Rebels A Free Pass?

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 6:19 pm

Gen. Bosco Ntaganda addresses a news conference in Kabati, a village located in Congo's North Kivu province, on Jan. 8, 2009. He showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali on Monday and asked to be transferred to The Hague where is wanted on war crimes charges.
Abdul Ndemere Reuters /Landov

Bosco Ntaganda, the Congolese warlord and rebel leader wanted by the International Criminal Court, showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali on Monday in a taxicab. He was apparently unexpected.

"We did not have any prior notice or consultations with him to indicate that he would do that," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. "He was a walk-in, in the truest sense of the word."

She said the U.S. is now "working to facilitate his request" to be transported to the Netherlands to stand trial.

Read more

3:03pm

Sat March 9, 2013
All Tech Considered

How Kenya's High-Tech Voting Nearly Lost The Election

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 5:10 pm

An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission official carries closed ballot boxes to be counted in Mombasa.
Ivan Lieman AFP/Getty Images

It was supposed to be the most modern election in African history. Biometric identification kits with electronic thumb pads, registration rolls on laptops at every polling station, and an SMS-relayed, real-time transmission of the results to the National Tallying Center in Nairobi.

Ambitious? Of course. Only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.

Read more

1:33pm

Wed March 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Guys, Your Colorblindness Might Be Messing With Kenya's Elections

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:44 pm

Kenyan election observers and voters in the mixed slum of Kiambiu — where the first fires started in Nairobi after the disputed presidential election of 2007 — vote in this year's elections. Could something as innocent as the color of the ballots and ballot boxes be contributing to voting "irregularities"?
Gregory Warner NPR

In Kenya, colorblindness may be contributing to more than just questionable sartorial combinations. Some observers say it may have something to do with the hundreds of thousands of spoiled ballots — a term for disqualified or invalidated votes — in Monday's presidential election, adding new delays to declaring a winner and raising the possibility of a costly and contentious runoff election in April.

Read more

5:49am

Sun March 3, 2013
Africa

In Kenya, Political Puppets Give Voice To Satire

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 3:22 pm

In this screengrab, three puppets debate one another on The XYZ Show's presidential debate, which aired in February.
The XYZ Show YouTube

4:32pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Africa

Fearing Election Turmoil, Kenyans Seek A Tech Solution

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 8:22 pm

Kenyan authorities are trying to guard against fraud and violence when they hold a presidential election on March 4. Here, voters register on biometric equipment last December in Nairobi.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it's trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence.

Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst.

Last time around, a text message came on Dec. 31, 2007, four days after a presidential election that many people in the Kalenjin tribe thought was rigged.

Read more

Pages