Category Archives: Books

Tools For Empowering Global Women; Book Review of 100 Under $100

Tools For Empowering Global Women; Book Review of 100 Under $100

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“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)

Photo by Heidi Reed

Photo by Heidi Reed

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)

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Photo Source CleanBirth.org

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.

global team

The Parenting Book For Global Moms

The Parenting Book For Global Moms

I wish Christine Gross-Loh had written this book about 14 years ago when I was first becoming a mother.  I’m pretty sure it would have been my parenting bible.  There were plenty of  parenting books around back then when I had my first child, but I quickly realized that the philosophies often contradicted each other, and  I would end up following common sense, and ditching the structured advice more often than not anyways. By the time I had my second child I had stopped reading parenting books altogether.  What I like about Christine Gross-Loh’s new book Parenting Without Borders is that it looks at the results, the way kids behave as an outcome of cultural child rearing practices that point to real success in various areas of development.  The author became aware of differing international parenting styles after living in Japan with her small children and then moving back to the U.S.. Suddenly what she would have previously taken as normal parenting, stood out to her as distinctively American parenting, and she realized it wasn’t always the best way to do things. This set off years of international research on parenting styles around the world for her. Eventually it informed her ultimate international patchwork of parenting style with her own kids.

It  makes so much sense, we share best practices in many ways cross-culturally, why not parenting?    Sure, I had done a ton of traveling before having kids myself,  but as a single young woman for most of the time, I can’t say that I was absorbing much parenting advice along the way.  Along with Documama, I write and Edit for World Moms Blog,  a community of bloggers and moms from around the world.  We learn so much, and gain such understanding from each other by sharing our experiences, and advice as technology is making the world a smaller place.

The book illustrates how other cultures can show us how to bring our children up to expect less stuff  like the kids in Japan, be more healthful eaters as in France and Italy, or more independent thinkers like the kids in Sweden. There aspects in which the author believes our American parenting style is superior too.  The point of this book is that we can pull together lessons from around the world for the most balanced possible outcome. Our children, the children of this upcoming generation, will inevitably  be global citizens weather brought up that way or not. We might as well get started!

*I received a free copy of Parenting Without Borders for the purpose of this book review, as always my opinions are honest and my own, and are never swayed by outside influences.

It’s Pi Day!

It’s Pi Day!

“π-Day” (“Pi-Day”) Guest Post Written by Bulent Atalay

Ink drawing by the author, inspired by a Yousuf Karsh photo hanging in the Physics Department at Princeton University

Last year for “π-Day” (“Pi-Day”) I wrote a guest blog for Documama about Albert Einstein, Time Magazine’s choice for the “Individual of the 20th century.” The physicist, whose name has become synonymous with genius, was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14 (3.14) one hundred and thirty-four years ago. Frequently physics students have celebrated the day in homage to the birthday of the venerable scientist, and these days Pi-Day has become a bit more mainstream.

In his “miracle year,” 1905, Einstein had written four papers, three of which could have won the Nobel Prize. It was his paper with the most obscure title of all, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” that he changed the paradigm for physics that had prevailed since Isaac Newton published his masterpiece, the Principia, almost 230 years earlier. Better known as the “Special Theory of Relativity,” Einstein’s theory rejects the three fundamental undefinables of length, mass and time as being invariant, and in their place posits the speed of light as the unique invariant. Length, mass and time could increase or decrease, when the body travels at different velocities. Then ten years later he published his masterpiece, the “General Theory of Relativity,” which offered a refinement to Newton’s theory of gravitation. The Big Bang Theory, stars collapsing into black holes, quasars, pulsars… are all manifestations of the General Theory. Einstein’s legacy is as seminal, and as staggeringly consequential to the physicist’s understanding of physical reality as his theories are inscrutable to the non-physicist.

TEACHING YOUR CHILD π (Pi): 3.14…

π is the symbol for the number representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is a universal constant, the same for all circles and indeed everywhere in the universe. In the language of mathematics, it is also an irrational number, and as such cannot be expressed exactly by the ratio of two numbers. Finally, it is also a transcendental number, that is, not algebraic — not a solution a non-zero polynomial equation with rational coefficients. A ramification of this last statement is that geometrically speaking “a circle cannot be squared,” a circle cannot be constructed with exactly the same area as a specified square using only a compass and a straight edge, and accomplished in a finite number of steps. The proof of this conjecture is so complicated that it was not achieved rigorously until 1882.

What Children are taught in elementary school:

Trick One:

A good approximation and an easy way to remember the number still comes from the mnemonic, “How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics,” 3.141 592 653 589 79… Good to 15 places, it comes from counting the letters in each successive word. (For children, substitute “pepsicola” for “alcoholic”.)

Trick Two:

Again, π is the symbol for the number representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. At first pale, it is roughly equal to 3. Expressed to

photo from March 1926 National Geographic Magazine

two decimal places, it is 3.14. To seven places after the decimal, the correct value of π is 3.141 592 7 As an irrational number, however, π cannot be expressed exactly by the ratio of two numbers; however, elementary school students are often taught 22/7, as a crude approximation. The ratio yields 3.142 857, correct to just two places after the decimal.

The Ancient Egyptians building the Great Pyramid about 4600 years ago had the value of π to two decimal places, 3.14. After laying out a circle (points equidistant from a center), they measured its radius. Then they physically “squared the circle,” presumably by having four groups of workers pulling in four directions, with four equal sides and two equal diagonals. (This is not “squaring the circle” in the mathematical sense discussed in the last paragraph. The perimeters of the two figures are equal, but the areas encompassed by the two are not.) After the square base of the pyramid was laid out, then the radius of the original circle served was adopted as the height of the pyramid, 455 ft (139 m). The Great Pyramid, essentially a man-made mountain serving as a mausoleum for Pharaoh Khufu, rises at 52° relative to the plain of the base.

Trick Three:

Take the six integers 1 2 3 4 5 6, and subtract from them 0 1 0 1 0 1. Thus

1 2 3 4 5 6

 —0 1 0 1 0 1

1 1 3 3 5 5                                                                                                                                                             

Dividing the last three digits by the first three, 355/113, the ratio is obtained as 3.141 592 9. This is good to six decimal places.

 

EPILOGUE

About 1940 the π was computed to ten thousand significant figures.

In 1960, a computer was used to apply an algorithm to calculate π to one million decimal places, where it was found to terminate with 5.

In 2011, a most determined Japanese gentleman, Shigeru Kondo, collaborating with the Northwestern University graduate student, Alexander Yee, computed π to ten trillion places, where its value was found to be 5 again. This, however, is nothing more than a happy coincidence!

Bulent Atalay

 

Bulent Atalay is my brilliant father-in-law and a retired physics professor. He is also the author of two books, Math and The Mona Lisa, and Leonardo’s Universe. You can find out more about the amazing man my kids call Buyukbaba (Turkish for grandfather ) at his website  and on his blog for National geographic.

 

Feed The Mind & Feed The Hungry With Ann Hood

Feed The Mind & Feed The Hungry With Ann Hood

An Event With Ann Hood & Her Newest Book The Obituary Writer

Author Ann Hood is one of the most charming speakers!   Not only can she tell a great story, but she is engaging and funny while doing it.  At another fabulous event organized by Robin Kall, donations for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank were collected, and Ann Hood read from her latest book The Obituary Writer . It was an event where we could feed our minds and help to feed the hungry at the same time.

A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.

On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.- The Obituary Writer By Ann Hood

I can not wait to dive into my signed by the author copy  of this book from this great evening!

Ann Hood Reading of The Obituary Writer

Signing Books

Robin Kall & Leah DeCesare of www.motherscircle.com

Collections for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank

Elizabeth Atalay & Ann Hood

Your Next Big Thing; Book Review

Your Next Big Thing; Book Review

 Having a birthday in February on the heels of  the start of a new year, gives me an annual sense of renewal.  The month in between I tend to reflect on my hopes and goals for the year to come.  This year around that time my friend Laura Rossi asked me to join up with a team of bloggers to write about the new book YOUR NEXT BIG THING By Dr. Ben Michaelis,  and what each of us might be doing to make and sustain real change in 2013.  I jumped at the opportunity to get the blueprint for success in this book that could give me the tools to help me to achieve what I want this year to bring.

Your Next Big Thing provides a series of quizzes and exercises to guide you through plotting the changes you would like to make in your life, and then gives you tools to see them through.  This book is best suited for anyone who has ever woken up in the morning feeling unsure of where their day—or life—is going. If they’d ever wondered what else might be out there, and thought: What’s next?  The tools in the book can also come in handy  to help set ,and focus on clear goals for even minor life enhancements, like a commitment to good health, or honing in on career decisions.

Dr. Michaelis is a clinical psychologist who is a graduate of Columbia and New York Universities. He has been in private practice in Manhattan since 2004, and  has been published in both academic and popular press as a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post and PsychologyToday.com.

In his new book Dr. Michaelis outlines the three essential elements that form the core of his philosophy, which are PLAY, PURPOSE, and WORK.

He tells us that Imaginative PLAY allows us to dream up possibilities, connecting with your higher PURPOSE gives us meaning, and WORK gets us where we want to go. The “Ten Small Steps” he gives us in YOUR NEXT BIG THING are tangible, and sensible ways to connect to all three of these essential elements, but he emphasizes that commitment is key for making and sustaining real change in your life. His premise is that a true commitment to personal change requires the following three things:

Vision: It’s wonderful if you know exactly what you’d like the changes you wish for to look like, but Your Next Big Thing says it’s not necessary. All that that you need is to be open to imagining yourself and your life as different than they are now. You can explore the particulars along the way.

 Promise: When you commit to change you implicitly make a promise. The promise is not to your husband, your sister, or even your kids. The promise you make is to yourself.

Energy: Energy and work mean purpose. When you truly believe in something, when you are moving with purpose, you are throwing your energy at something you believe in to make a change and to make it the way you want it to be.

In the book he will further guide you towards finding your true purpose, improving your life and reaching your goals. If you would like  to take part in Your Next Big Thing Blog Hop, please link up to my post and the other bloggers here.

http://www.simplymommies.blogspot.com/

http://dodgingacorns.wordpress.com/

http://www.mysocalledsensorylife.com

http://www.Dontlickthetrashcan.com

 

*I received a free copy of Your Next Big Thing for the purpose of this book review, as always my opinions are honest and my own, and are never swayed by outside influences.