A year-long project from CNN Digital International will explore the challenges faced by women in the least developed nations around the world.

The reporting initiative, called ‘As equals’, launched yesterday (9 January) with stories from Malawi, Haiti, Kenya and Yemen.

The topic has been a point of focus at CNN as discussions around gender inequality have intensified in recent months, Blathnaid Healy, senior editor, CNN International, told Journalism.co.uk.

"We felt we would like to broaden that conversation, and use the global reach that CNN has around the world to bring the conversation to countries where maybe it's less covered."

The reporting project is funded by the European Journalism Centre through its Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme.

The call for applications "galvanised the conversation that has been happening for quite some time," said Healy, and the team came up with the structure and overall aims for the year-long project launched this week.

Headed from the CNN London office by Eliza Mackintosh, the project coordinator, and Healy, the editor, the project will work with CNN staff and freelancers covering the topic all over the world.

The reporting initiative is focused on certain countries, such as Liberia, Rwanda and Angola, but it’s open to stories from other parts of the world.

Its first pieces, written by and about women, include a report from Malawi on how women are being shamed in the streets and on social media; an op-ed on the forgotten war and forgotten women in Yemen; a series of portraits documenting the rape crisis in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake; and a story on Kasiva Mutua, a Kenyan percussionist, the first in a series of reports on women shattering the glass ceiling.

The stories published as part of the initiative are all produced as mobile-first experiences. The dominant visual formats are square and portrait mode, to ensure the photos and videos are fully captivating on mobile devices.

"When we sat down and thought about how we're going to make it very immersive to people, it was quite obvious for us to say it has to be mobile-first.

"Everything in it has to be incredibly intuitive on your phone, when you look at things like the visual branding and identity around the project," said Healy.

Stories from the project will also be published by Swedish media outlet Expressen, which is a CNN affiliate.

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