Category Archives: Global awareness

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

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The first week of May I was in New York City for the 4th annual Moms + Social Good conference at the New York Times Center.  When Moms + Social Good come together, great things are bound to happen.  I gathered there with some of my “tribe”, like-minded friends from World Moms Blog, the United Nations Shot@Life campaign, and the Social Good world.  The one day event was hosted by The United Nations Foundation and Johnson & Johnson, with support from BabyCenter, Global Citizen, Fatherly, and Charity Miles. The goal of the Moms + Social event, in honor of Mother’s Day, was to highlight some of the greatest challenges women and children across the globe are facing today.

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The buzz word that came up in almost every panel and topic of conversation, whether the discussion was on the refugee crisis or the importance of global vaccines, was EDUCATION. The importance of education to rise above any circumstance was underlined again and again.

“For refugees we need to focus on quality #education for girls and women.”- Mari Malek

Mari Malek, Model/DJ/Advocate/Founder Stand4Education and former refugee

Mari Malek, Model/DJ/Advocate/Founder Stand4Education and former refugee

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 Save The Children usually conducts a State of the World’s Mother’s Report released around U.S. Mother’s Day, but the surprising statistics on maternal and child health in the USA in last year’s global report (The US ranked number 33 worldwide) inspired the compilation this year of The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight Into The Resilient American Mother instead. The Save The Children special report was especially impactful to us as moms in the USA. The study polled 1000 mothers in the United States of various backgrounds. The findings were surprising.

  • Overall 85% of American mothers polled think that the US is becoming a worse place to raise a child.
  • Despite this alarming finding, almost all moms, also said they are optimistic about their future and their children’s future.
  • 6 in 10 said that the US business culture makes it “nearly impossible” to balance work and family.
  • The top stressors for American moms were bills and expenses.
  • American moms are conflicted whether technology and social media do more good than harm for their children.
  • When it comes to helping kids, American mothers overwhelmingly want the next president to focus on education.

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden had the opportunity to interview Save The Children CEO Carolyn Miles about the report. (go to World Moms Blog to find the interview soon!)

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden, interviews Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children at the Moms + SocialGood event in NYC on May 5th, 2016.

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden, interviews Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children at the Moms + SocialGood event in NYC on May 5th, 2016.

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Gene Gurkoff and Elizabeth Atalay

Gene Gurkoff and Elizabeth Atalay

I first met Gene Gurkoff,, Founder and CEO of Charity Miles, three years ago at Moms + Social Good. Charity Miles is an app that lets you donate to the charity of your choice when you work out, and I’ve been logging in my Charity Miles ever since.  In the mean time it had been exciting to watch his company grow and do more and more good in the world each year.

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US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power led a panel where she spoke about working hard to take out Boko Haram, and the importance of education.  Just last month, Ambassador Powers was in Abuja, Nigeria visiting with the mothers of the Chibok Girls. There, she met fellow World Moms Blog contributor, Aisha Yesufu, at the sit in, and World Moms Blog Founder was excited to get the opportunity to tell her about the connection to Aisha, and our support for the moms in Chibok! 

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power with Jennifer Burden, Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, at Moms + SocialGood in NYC May 5th, 2016.

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power with Jennifer Burden, Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, at Moms + SocialGood in NYC May 5th, 2016.

 

Ambassador Power a few weeks earlier in Abuja Nigeria side by side with World Mom, Aisha Yesufu! 

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As good friend and fellow Shot@Life Champion Leader Ilina Ewen said on her panel, From local to global challenges: Focus on the whole child, “The sisterhood of motherhood is universal”. This is what keeps me coming back to Moms + Social each year. I believe in the power of mothers when we come together for a better future for not jus our own children, but for all the children of the world.

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Photo credit of Aisha and Ambassador Power to Aisha Yesufu.

Shaping The Narrative Of Global Health

Shaping The Narrative Of Global Health

I was thrilled to be asked to speak at this years United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Summit to a room of almost 200 champions from all over the country. I’ll confess that having never spoken to a group that large I was a nervous wreck, but I love a challenge, and it helps to speak from the heart on an issue you are emotionally invested in, and so this is what I said:

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“Every story begins and ends with a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a girl, a child, . Every story is a birth”….- Ishmael Beah Author of Long Way Gone & Radiance of Tomorrow & UNICEF Advocate

As a storyteller, and a mother to my four children that quote by Ishmael Beah really touches me. Because before I was a mother, I was of course a daughter. And the story of why I am here speaking to you today begins with her. my mother was born in 1922 , she was 45 when I was born, and a polio survivor. She stood all of 5’2” at a tilt, since Polio had left her with one leg slightly shorter than the other.

Eventually I would come to tower over her at 5’9″, and now that I am a mother myself I muse at how odd it must have been to have ended up with a daughter so much taller. While I was still a daughter, and before I became a mother, I was a traveler. I still think about the mothers who approached me as a westerner in my early twenties and held out their babies to me asking for medicine or a cure. If those babies survived they would be in their mid-twenties now, and surely not all did survive. Knowing what I know now I wish I could go back in time with a bag of medical supplies and give them whatever they needed, because the pleading looks in those mother’s eyes haunt me to this day.

I never was a mother and a daughter at the same time. My mother passed away four months before my own first child was born. Though she had told me stories about having Polio as a child it never really resonated with me in the way it did once I became a mother myself. How terrified my grandmother must have been of losing her. And to be honest I hadn’t really reflected on those mothers I met as backpacker in my 20’s until I became a mother myself, and then I remembered that helpless feeling I was left with when I did not know what to do to help them. I was so grateful to join shot@life as a champion and finally have the opportunity to DO SOMETHING. To honor my mother’s legacy as a Polio Survivor, and to help the mothers that I know are out there in developing countries desperate for proper healthcare, for lifesaving vaccines for their children that every mother should have access to.

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As excited as I was to join Shot@Life I have to confess that had I known that I was going to be visiting my government representatives on capitol hill that first year I attended the summit, I may never have joined. I would have been too afraid. Yet, the next thing I knew I was hoofing it around capitol hill (in the wrong shoes…I might add…( definitely take the comfortable shoe recommendation seriously ) advocating for Shot@life with my congressmen and Senators. I brought the messaging back to my community and realized how much work is still to be done just in terms of  awareness alone. There is so much misinformation and lack of awareness out there on vaccines. In this country we take it for granted that our babies will not die from a simple case of diarrhea, but mothers in countries where they lack access to vaccines have lost, or know someone who has lost a baby to a vaccine preventable disease. Every 20 seconds a baby dies from a vaccine preventable disease, mothers will walk for days to get vaccines when they can for their children. I realized there is a huge need to get the message out to the public.

vaccinesSo what can YOU do to make sure every child gets a fair Shot@life no matter where they are born?

  1. Become a United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Champion, as a Champion here are a few ways to reach out to make an impact in your community that can ripple around the globe:
  2. Contact or visit your local representatives and tell them that you care about their support of global health and global vaccines, and ask them to support these programs as well.
  3.  Hold a party to get the word out, if you don’t want to do it in your home there are so many companies that offer fun alternatives. In my community stores like Alex & Ani,  Pinkberry, and Flatbread Pizza will help you have a party on site to fundraise for your event.
  4. Speak to local clubs, a local new neighbors club, Rotary or General Federation of Women’s Clubs
  5. Hold an event at your child’s school or set up a booth during an international fair, take the opportunity to work the importance of vaccines into the broader issue of global awareness.
  6. Use social media as a messaging tool for good with this social toolkit.Write op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, or articles for your local paper or magazine. I had a profile run in my local town Magazine for example.

For World Pneumonia Day last November I was paired up with Dr Mkope from Tanzania and at the National Press Club in Washington, DC we did over 20 radio and TV interviews! It was a great feeling knowing that the message of the importance of vaccines, with real life proof of efficacy from Dr. Mkope, was being broadcast so far and wide. At shot@life we say “a virus is just a plane ride away”, and in a perfect example of this ever shrinking world, it turned out that Dr. Mkope is the pediatrician of the one friend I know in Tanzania.

This year might be the last year that Polio is a threat to any child in the world, with only 9 cases on record, and still known to exist in only two countries in the world, the World Health Organization predicts that, with vaccines, it will be eradicated soon.

Every story is a birth, for my mother who survived Polio, for the mothers I met in central Africa with the pleading eyes, for my children and my children’s children, what I have learned as a Shot@Life Champion is that we have the opportunity to shape this narrative on global health, together lets write this story to end with no child dying unnecessarily from a vaccine preventable disease.

#Advocate2Vaccinate #VaccinesWork

 

World Water Day

World Water Day

 

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March 22nd is World Water Day and WaterAid has released a new report:  The Sate of  the World’s Water 2016.

There remain 16 countries in the world where 40% or more of their population does not have access to clean water – WaterAid 

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What many of us take for granted, clean, safe water to drink, cook with, bathe in, and with which to wash our clothes, is an expensive luxury to hundreds of millions of people around the world. The cost is not just monetary.  Access to clean water and sanitation is a key element to breaking the cycle of extreme poverty. Women and girls are most effected by lack of access to water and sanitation. In many areas girls miss out on school because they spend much of their day walking miles to access clean water for their families. Those girls who do make it to school often drop out once menstruation begins if there are no private toilet facilities available. UNICEF reports that 6,000 children die of water related diseases every day. The most susceptible being children under the age of five. Access to clean water is a global humanitarian priority, and world wide awareness of water as a precious resource is needed to tackle the issue. Water is life.

“Clean, affordable drinking water is not a privilege: it’s a fundamental human right. This World Water Day, let’s celebrate the unprecedented progress that’s been made in helping more people than ever before gain access to clean water. But let’s also double down on our efforts so that everyone, everywhere can exercise their basic right to clean water by the year 2030.”-Sarina Prabasi, WaterAid America Chief Executive

Photo Credits: Elizabeth Atalay taken while on a New Media Fellowship trip to Ethiopia with the International Reporting Project to report on Newborn Health.

International Women’s Day #IWD2016 And The #PovertyIsSexist Report

International Women’s Day #IWD2016 And The #PovertyIsSexist Report

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International Women’s Day 2016

In honor of International Women’s Day today ONE has released the #PovertyIsSexist Report  #PovertyIsSexist because there is no where in the world, not even here in the USA or any of the Scandinavian countries, that women have as many opportunities as men. And if you are female poor, and born in one of the countries worst for women, it is all too often a life sentence of inequality, oppression, and poverty. Sometimes even death.

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This year the world agreed on the new set of Sustainable Development Goals and governments are now putting those goals into action. The #PovertyIsSexist Report outlines 10 things that need to happen in 2016 to empower the women of the world and to work towards the end goal of eliminating global poverty by the year 2030.
Read the full #PovertyIsSexist Report to see why these are listed within as the 10 priority investments that need to be made now:

NUTRITION

Governments must commit historic increases in additional funding at the Nutrition for Growth II summit in Rio, and must adopt policies to strengthen data, improve accountability and build global leadership on nutrition.

GLOBAL FUND

Global Fund contributors must raise at least $13 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria at this year’s replenishment round.

LEGAL EQUALITY

All governments must repeal any laws that discriminate against women; and laws that protect the legal, economic and social rights of girls and women — including the right to decide whether and when to marry — must be passed.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS

African Union member states need to prioritise women’s rights as part of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and in order to deliver on existing AU commitments.78

CONNECTIVITY

Girls and women living in the places that are hardest to reach should be connected to the Internet, and should have the appropriate education, technology, access to finance and job opportunities. Reaching girls and women will help to ensure access for all. ONE will launch a report on connectivity for the poorest later in 2016.

ENERGY ACCESS

Efforts to increase access to safe and reliable energy for everyone must continue to be a priority. Innovative financing to bring in the private sector must be combined with regulatory reforms, and support must be given to programmes such as the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s New Deal on Energy for Africa and the UN’s Sustainable Energy For All Initiative, which are aiming to bring power to the world’s poorest people.

DATA REVOLUTION

Governments, businesses and civil society must open up their own data, guarantee that all data is gender- disaggregated (including for the SDG indicators), invest in open data and support national statistical systems.

GENDER INVESTMENTS

The IDA and the AfDB should be fully funded by governments, and both should deliver increased funding targeted at girls and women in order to catalyse the fight against poverty, including through priority areas such as energy, infrastructure and connectivity. Gender markers, to identify whether funding is gender-sensitive, should be introduced by all development finance institutions and delivery organisations.

TRACKING GENDER PROGRESS

ONE commits to work closely with partners to produce a major new accountability exercise each year leveraging international women’s day (IWD) to assess progress made for women and girls through the SDGs by governments, businesses and civil society.

DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE

Governments should use political and economic means to pressure partners to deliver on equality for girls and women in the fight against extreme poverty.

 What can you do about it today on International Women’s Day? Sign the Letter! Because:
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Join Malala and National Geographic

Join Malala and National Geographic

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National Geographic Channel and 21st Century Fox Stand With Malala and You Can Too! On Monday, February 29th at 8:00 EST The Award Winning Documentary He Named Me Malala will air commercial free on the National Geographic Channel. Each time you tweet #WithMalala during the broadcast $1 will be donated to the Malala Fund.

Malala Yousafzai was only 11 when she began speaking and writing on the importance of education for girls and living under the oppression of the Taliban. At the age of 15 the world watched her amazing recovery after she was shot by the Taliban for speaking out. At 17 she became the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history and has shaped policy on the future of education for the children of the world. At this point she has joined the ranks of international celebrities who are known by just one name, Mandela, Bono, Malala.

My daughters and I have watched in awe as her journey has publicly unfolded, she has become almost mythical to us in her bravery, strength, and accomplishments, and even more endearing in her statements reminding the world that she is at the same time a “normal teenager”. Despite her modesty instead of representing “one of us”, she really represents the best of what any of us could become. The possibility of what each of us could achieve with her same vitality and determination.

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My girls!

We can’t wait to view the award-winning documentary He Named Me Malala this Monday night on the National Geographic Channel. It will be aired commercial free at 8pm Eastern Time. This movie is a must see, and my younger daughter will be hosting a viewing party to share the experience with her friends.

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Our Viewing Party Kit!

Malala’s story resonates with so many across various planes. She illustrates the change that just one person can make in the world. As a young woman she is an amazing role model for our daughters.  Her example of bravery, her willingness to fight for the rights of others, and to overcome struggle with triumph is exemplary. In my mind she clearly exposes how fearful some cultures in the world are of an educated woman.  Just imagine the tip of the global power structure that would occur if girls grew up to be women who were as educated as their male counterparts. Imagine the global progress if those currently left out of the equation were included, and educated, and could fully contribute to society in more meaningful ways. At the moment sixty million girls around the world are out of school. In some cultures education is not permitted for females, while in others girls simply don’t have time for school because they must spend the day collecting clean water for their family.

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Whatever the reason, the world is missing out on the contributions and potential of millions of girls. Malala aims to change that. The Malala Fund was founded with the goal to ensure that every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, quality primary and secondary education. Knowledge is power, which is exactly what is so frightening about it to some. It is time to empower the girls of the world with education, and you can help! Each time you tweet using the Hashtag #WithMalala during Monday’s broadcast of He Named Me Malala $1 will be donated to the Malala Fund. If Malala can accomplish so much as just one person, imagine what we can do together!

We received the viewing party kit as a blogger for this campaign.