I’m a British writer, journalist, broadcaster and film producer/director, with a Masters degree in Modern Languages and English Literature from University of Oxford.
I’ve been covering human rights issues, international development, human stories and West Africa since 2005, for numerous outlets including Voice of America, The Independent, IRIN, The LA Times and Geographical. My radio documentaries have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and you can hear my regular despatches on BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and From Our Home Correspondent. I also host a monthly podcast, My New Country, featuring conversations with immigrants to the UK about life, belonging, identity and home.
As a stringer based in Dakar, Senegal, I covered stories all over West Africa, and I continue to travel to the region, and all over the world, to produce multi-media stories and packages, working in French and English. For five years I was Global Press Officer covering Africa and emergencies for Plan International. As GRIOT, I also provide creative communications consultancy and multi-media content for major international charities and institutions including Power for All, Plan International, Imperial College London, RNLI and Plan UK.
My Daughters of War documentary, filmed in Liberia with Marc Schlossman, was screened at William Hague and Angelina Jolie’s Global Summit To End Sexual Violence in London in July 2014, and at the @StillMoving Film Festival at Grow Brixton in September 2014. My short film Cinderellas, reporting on trafficking in Togo, was long-listed for a One World Media Award 2016. I was a Guardian Development Journalism Award finalist and the winner of the 2011 BBC Radio 4/Royal Geographical Society Journey of a Lifetime grant, and I have lectured about my travels at the Royal Geographical Society’s Monday Night Lectures.
Funded by a grant from the European Journalism Centre (EJC), and supported by Geographical and BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent, I am currently working in Senegal, Cameroon and The Gambia on a long-term multi-media documentary project called Angels, looking at how West African women and their doctors are determined to shatter taboos around infertility, offering women opportunities for treatment and support. More information here.
My first (contemporary literary fiction) novel, The Chameleon Girl, is currently out on submission. With Senegalese colleagues, I have founded The Little Seahorse Library, a storytelling corner for children in the village of Ngor, Senegal, which we hope to eventually expand into a comprehensive books, learning and literacy service. Please do contact me if you’d like to donate books in the UK or Dakar!
Please DM me on Twitter @janelabous, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to get in touch about your project.