“Women make up half our entire population. When they’re held back, half the world’s potential goes unrealized. But when women and girls are empowered, we’re not just better by half. The world is twice as good.”
-Melinda Gates #BetterByHalf campaign
As we reach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and world leaders set forth a new set of global goals leading up to 2030, it has become increasingly clear that women and girls need to be at the center of development initiatives. Why women and girls? As Betsy Teutsch points out in her new book 100 under $100 One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women It has to do with what is referred to as The Girl Effect. This refers to the fact that when you educate girls they tend to marry later, in turn give birth later, and are able to better contribute to the economy. Research has also shown that when women have economic power, more of those resources are invested back into her family than when men do. Women are also more likely to educate their own daughters. This means the next generation will also contribute more effectively to the nation’s economy.
I was thrilled for the opportunity through Mom Bloggers For Social Good to review the new book 100 under $100 by Betsy Teutsch where exciting change-makers and transformative ideas improving the lives of women around the world to make it a better place are compiled in this one volume. These are exactly the stories of people and ideas that I love to share. It is exciting to see the impact that these simple low-cost solutions to the worlds most pressing problems have on the lives of individuals, and therefore the impact on entire communities.
As far as I am concerned this book is a must have resource for anyone interested in global development, women’s issues, being a global change-maker, or seeing the end to extreme poverty in our world. Many of the solutions highlighted show just how one person can create a huge impact on other’s lives with their ideas and initiative. Extreme poverty and global development dilemmas are often multi faceted and layered with issues, and this book has broken them down into low-cost solutions ranging from free, like promoting Kangaroo care and breastfeeding to save newborn lives, to the cookstoves and bicycles that cost closer to the $100 mark. Each tool is presented in a way that clearly bullet points the ways in which the subject of concern impacts lives, what is not working, and ways the highlighted tool is able to improve lives.
I was excited to see non-profits that I have worked with or written about, and solutions that I have seen being put into practice on the pages of this book. To highlight just a few;
Shot@Life is a campaign with the United Nations Foundation that I have been involved with for several years that promotes, advocates, and educates on the power of global vaccines to save lives. In the developing world every 20 seconds a child will die from a vaccine preventable disease. Most children in the western world have been vaccinated against many of these diseases such as Polio, Measles, Whooping Cough and Rotavirus that causes diarrhea. Vaccines have been called one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children around the globe. (pg. 6)
Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions is a non-profit based in my home state of Rhode Island that treats about 600,000 children a year for malnutrition with Plumpy’Nut and other products that they produce as part of the PlumpyField Network. I have been fortunate enough to work with them as they expand into a larger facility that will ultimately enable them to reach an estimated 2 million children a year with their life saving ready to use food packets. Malnutrition is the leading contributing factor to the majority of child deaths worldwide and stunting from lack of proper nutrition impacts over 100 million children around the globe. It is imperative to proper development to get suitable nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life and Plumpy’Nut has been shown to bring a child from severe acute malnutrition to a healthy weight in just seven weeks of treatment. The cost of life saving treatment around $55.oo per child. (pg. 15 )
CleanBirth.org was founded by one of my co-contributors to World Moms Blog, Kristyn Zalota, and each year we have been involved in supporting, and fundraising to help provide life saving clean birth kits for women in Laos. In 100 under $100 Betsy Teutsch estimates that around 60 million women will give birth at home, mostly on dirt floors each year in developing countries. Sepsis is the highest cause of maternal and newborn deaths in these settings, an infection that is preventable with sterile birth. ayzh, the company that makes the kits provided by clean birth.org, distributes the kits globally to save the lives of mothers and their babies. Clean birth kits provide sterile essential materials that women might even need to provide for themselves birthing in a low-resource medical facility. (pg. 27)
World Pulse is an organization with the goal of digital inclusion for women everywhere, it gives voice and digital access, as a means of empowerment, to those without. I was a “listener” for the World Pulse “Women Weave The Web” campaign, where I interacted online with women all over the world telling their stories, and sharing their experiences, often from low-resource settings in internet cafes or women’s centers. The need for digital access was very clear, as was the resulting empowerment of access to the broader world, and the significance of their ability to give voice to their experiences. (pg. 119)
Solar Sister has to get an honorable mention because this social enterprise that brings solar energy and entrepreneurial opportunities to women in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria was also founded by women in my state of Rhode Island. “Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity.” (pg.37)
100 under $100 One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women written by Betsy Teutsch, and published by She Writes Press, will be available in March of 2015. You can order your copy to read about more innovative ideas, products, resources, companies, and ways to get involved, and further become the global citizen we all need to be.
I received a free copy of this book and wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health. Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.