Kate Holt

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Kate Holt
Kate Holt.jpg
Holt in 2012
Born 1972
Alma mater University of St Andrews
Occupation Photojournalist
Awards St Andrews, University - Exceptional Services Award
Website kateholt.com

Katherine Emily Holt (born 1972) is a British photojournalist.[1]


Holt was born in Zimbabwe in 1972 to British and South African parents. She grew up in Newfoundland and was educated in the UK at St Anne's, Windermere, from the age of eleven. Before going to university, she spent a year working in the Negru Voda Orphanage in Romania with HIV positive and disabled children. She returned there each summer during her years as a student. She completed her studies with a History Masters from St Andrew's University, Scotland and a Post Graduate Diploma in Photojournalism from The London School of Printing, London.

For 10 years, Holt was based in Nairobi, Kenya covering news events throughout East and West Africa. In 2009, she relocated to Kabul, Afghanistan and spent three years covering the ongoing conflict there for a variety of British newspapers including the Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Financial Times. Holt is now based in the UK while travelling throughout Africa and the Middle East to gather humanitarian and development stories for UK and global media and for her media and communications agency Arete.


She began her career with the BBC, working on Breakfast News and BBC News 24. Her first field experiences were in Kosovo, documenting the effects of the conflict on the civilian population. From there she went on to write her first investigative report which uncovered the trafficking of young girls from Eastern Europe into Bosnia and on to the UK[2] This work was published as a cover feature in The Sunday Times Magazine'[3]' and in The Observer.[2] It was the first time the issue of trafficking of women from Eastern Europe for sexual purposes was exposed.[4] At the time the Home Office denied any such trade existed.[citation needed]

In 2001, after the September 11 attacks in the US, Holt travelled to Pakistan and documented the influx of refugees over the border form Afghanistan as US and British troops closed in on the Taliban. Afghanistan is a country she has returned to work in regularly.

In 2003, Holt traveled into Iraq with the first medical convoy to offer support to both Basra and Nazariyah as the coalition troops toppled Saddam Hussein.

Since then, Holt has travelled to document the experiences of refugees and the effects of war and poverty on women and children in conflicts in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti. She photographs for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including UNICEF, Care International, Jhpiego, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Médecins Sans Frontières and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Holt is a regular contributor to The BBC, The Guardian and The Mail on Sunday.[5] Her work has also been published in The Independent, The Times, The Observer, Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and Financial Times.[5]

In February 2012, Holt launched Arete, a media and communications agency specializing in humanitarian storytelling, media strategy and training, and which produces content for NGOs, charities and corporations in order to tell "stories that make a difference".

In 2013, Holt was the first journalist to expose rape as a weapon of war being used by Somali soldiers against women living in refugee camps throughout Mogadishu.[6] The story was published by The Guardian and subsequently numerous human rights groups have become engaged in the issue.[7]

In 2014, Holt was the first journalist to expose the sexual abuse of women in South Sudan following the return to war between South Sudanese Government soldiers and opposition forces.[8]

Sexual exploitation by UN Peacekeepers and the resignation of the High Commissioner[edit]

In 2004 and 2005, Holt uncovered a story of sexual exploitation by United Nations Peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a series of articles for The Independent.[9] The story led to Kofi Annan announcing a 'Zero Tolerance' policy on the issue.[10]

Holt went on to publish an article concerning an apparent cover-up by the UN in New York, of sexual harassment by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Ruud Lubbers.[11] Her article concerned an OIOS report that stated Lubbers had sexually harassed members of his staff. The report, which had later been reviewed following challenges to its verdict, was found to be deficient in reasoning as there was no corroboratory evidence from the other witnesses to the alleged harassment. For this reason, the UN decided not to publish the report. Ruud Lubbers subsequently resigned from his post after Holts article was published due to the negative publicity, although he maintained that he was innocent of any allegations. Kofi Annan, whilst accepting his resignation, also stated that he did so even though the findings that the allegations had no substance were still valid.


In 1996, while at St Andrews, the University awarded Holt a prize for exceptional services to a community for her work in Romanian orphanages.[citation needed]

Holt has been nominated twice for the Amnesty Award for Humanitarian Reporting. Once in 2005 for her series of articles entitled when peacemakers become predators[12] and again in 2010 for a photographic series on Elderly people in Zimbabwe.[13]

She was highly commended by Amnesty International for her coverage of the drought crisis in the Horn of Africa in 2011.[14]


In 2003, Holt traveled to Iraq and photographed the impact of the UK and US invasion on the civilian population in Basra and Nazariah. The work produced was exhibited in London and Angers in France.[15] The exhibition, entitled 'Victory' was supported by the playwright Harold Pinter and Tariq Ali, both of whom supported the anti-war movement. The photographs were used by Amnesty International for their campaign to end the use of cluster bombs and illegal weapons by the Coalition Forces in Iraq.

Between 2010 and 2011, Holt was embedded with AMISOM troops from Uganda and Burundi on the frontline of Mogadishu. As well as producing a body of work on behalf of AMISOM she trained six Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in photography. The results of this training and her own work were exhibited in the Nairobi National Museum, Kenya in October 2011 in an exhibition entitled Brothers in Arms.[16] The exhibition subsequently traveled to the National Museum in Uganda and the UN Exhibition Centre in Burundi and now resides on the AMISOM base in Mogadishu International Airport.[17]

  • 1999: Plight of a People, The White Horse Gallery, London. Photographs of the Kosovan Refugee Crisis 1999 – Solo Exhibition.[citation needed]
  • 2001: Fleeing Afghanistan, The Gold Gallery, London. Photographs of Afghan Refugees taken in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2001 – Solo Exhibition.[citation needed]
  • 2004: Don Bosco, President’s House, Brussels. Portraits of children taken in Don Bosco Orphanage Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.[citation needed]
  • 2004: Victory, The Spitz Gallery London. Solo Exhibition backed by Harold Pinter, Tariq Ali and Human Rights Watch.[15]
  • 2004: Victory, Angers, France. Images of the Aftermath of War in Iraq.[citation needed]
  • 2006: The Human Face of Gun Violence, UN Secretariat, New York. A joint exhibition funded by IANSA and the Human Dialogue Centre to mark the opening of the UN Review Confe:rence on the Small Arms Trade.[18]
  • 2006: Men and Guns, The Dutch Foreign Ministry, The Hague. A joint exhibition, with Heidi Schumann, funded by the Human Dialogue Centre.[citation needed]
  • 2007: Men and Guns, 116th Assembly of Inter Parliamentary Union, Bali. A joint exhibition, with Heidi Schumann, funded by the Human Dialogue Centre.[19]
  • 2007: Human Face of Gun Violence, Museum of Pristina, Kosova. A joint exhibition funded by IANSA and the Human Dialogue Centre.[citation needed]
  • 2008: Old People of Kyrgyzstan, Helpage International Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A joint exhibition with Malik Alymkuloff organized by Helpage International Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.[citation needed]
  • 2008: World Food Crisis Photography Exhibition, New York. Participator in a fund raising exhibition and multi-media event in New York in support of the Nuru Project.[20]
  • 2010: Care International Photographic Exhibition, Thames Path in London. Participator in an awareness raising exhibition on the Thames Path in London[21]
  • 2011: Hidden Faces – Women in Afghanistan, House of Commons, London. Exhibition in the House of Commons to promote awareness of women’s rights in Afghanistan.[22]
  • 2011: Brothers in Arms, Nairobi National Museum. Portraying the role of the African Union in Mogadishu, Somalia. Nairobi.[16]
  • 2012: Brothers in Arms, Kampala National Museum. Portraying the role of the African Union in Mogadishu, Somalia. Kampala.[23]
  • 2012: Brothers in Arms, Bujumbura UN Information Centre. Exhibition in Bujumbura UN Information Centre portraying the role of the African Union in Mogadishu, Somalia. Bujumbura.[23]
  • 2013: Children of Somalia, EU Somali Conference, EU Parliament, Brussels. Exhibition showing photographs taken by Somali Children as part of a Photoclub Project run by Holt in conjunction with UNICEF Somalia, as well as a selection of Holt's work from Somalia to mark the EU Somali Conference[24]
  • 2013: Unseen Enemy Exhibition, National Army Museum in London. Exhibition exploring the use of IED’s in Afghanistan.[25]


  1. ^ "Kate Holt". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  2. ^ a b "Once they were girls. Now they are slaves". 2 February 2002 – via The Guardian. 
  3. ^ “Captive Market,” The Sunday Times Magazine, February 18, 2001, 5
  4. ^ Nikolic-Ristanovic, Vesna (1 January 2003). "Sex Trafficking: The Impact of War, Militarism and Globalization in Eastern Europe". Hdl.handle.net. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  5. ^ a b "Editorial". Kateholt.com. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ ""Here, Rape is Normal"". Hrw.org. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  8. ^ Gilliam, Eva; Hilaire, Eric (2014-06-05). "Sexual violence in South Sudan – audio slideshow". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  9. ^ "A Strategy to Address Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations Peacekeeping Personnel Perspective 39 Cornell International Law Journal 2006". Heinonline.org. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  10. ^ "Sex and the UN: when peacemakers become predators". The Independent. Retrieved 2005-01-11. 
  11. ^ "Harassment, intimidation and secrecy - UN chief engulfed in sex". Independent.co.uk. 18 February 2005. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  12. ^ "Amnesty International Media Awards 2005 shortlists announced". Amnesty.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  13. ^ "Media Awards 2010 shortlists announced". Amnesty.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  14. ^ "Breakdown of Amnesty International UK media award winners - Documents". Documentslide.com. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  15. ^ a b "Into the dead zone". Standard.co.uk. 23 July 2003. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  16. ^ a b "Photographic Exhibition: Brothers in Arms, Oct. 6-16 2011 @ National Museum". Nairobinow.wordpress.com. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  17. ^ "Brothers in Arms exhibition to open eyes on the conflict in Somalia - AMISOM". Amisom-au.org. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  18. ^ Alpers, Philip. "Gun News: Firearm policy and violence, gun law and gun control". Gunpolicy.org. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  19. ^ "FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR 2006" (PDF). Ipu.org. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  20. ^ "Fashion". Pinterest.com. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  21. ^ "CARE International's Street Gallery Photo Exhibition - The London Insider". London-insider.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  22. ^ "Hidden Faces: Women and Girls in Afghanistan". Indepepndent.co.uk. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  23. ^ a b "p.11" (PDF). Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  24. ^ "UNICEF Somalia - Feature stories - Through the Eyes of Somali Youth Exhibition opens in Nairobi". Unicef.org. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  25. ^ "Unseen Enemy exhibition - National Army Museum, London". Nam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 

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