During her 20-year career in journalism and the humanitarian sector, Challiss McDonough has worked in more than 40 countries on four continents, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.
She spent 10 years working in communications for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), most recently leading communications, advocacy and outreach efforts in the United States from her base in Washington, D.C. For six years,she was WFP’s chief communications officer in sub-Saharan Africa, based in Nairobi, and led WFP’s communications team through a number of devastating humanitarian crises in the region, including famines in Somalia and South Sudan. Challiss began serving with WFP in Afghanistan in 2009. Before that, she was a Voice of America regional correspondent and bureau chief based in Johannesburg and Cairo, covering crises that included the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa, the early years of the war in Iraq, and the 2006 conflict in southern Lebanon.
Challiss attended public schools and universities in Virginia, California and North Carolina. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her fiancé and two adopted Kenyan street dogs.