Category Archives: Global awareness

$5.00 Can Save 2 Lives With CleanBirth.org

$5.00 Can Save 2 Lives With CleanBirth.org
$5.00 Can Save 2 Lives With CleanBirth.org

Yes, for roughly the price of your daily Latte Macchiato two lives can be saved.

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I’ve decided to give up 10 of mine, as a grateful mother to four children when I hear the statistics I think “but for chance and place” in which I live that could have been me.  The country of Laos has an extremely high rate of maternal mortality at 470 deaths per 100,000 live births. Often this is simply due to infection from birthing alone in unsanitary conditions. Cultural factors that have rural mothers going into the forest to birth alone play a big role in the problem. CleanBirth.org was founded three years ago to provide Clean Birth Kits and train nurses and midwives in remote villages in Laos to use them. This year alone CleanBirth.org provided nearly 1,200 women with Clean Birth Kits  to safely deliver infection free.

The founder of CleanBirth.org, Kristyn Zalota, is a fellow World Moms Blog contributor. I can not tell you how impressed I have been at the impact she has on so many women’s lives with her mission to provide safe birth in Laos. CleanBirth.org, helps train nurses in Laos and provide Clean Birth Kits for moms. It is in the tail end of a crowd funding campaign to raise $10,000 to help to train and to reach more women.

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The campaign closes on February 12th, so please help us reach as many moms and babies as we can. Really if you think about it, it’s just 1 day without that Latte. Please join us. Us moms have got to stick together!

 

 

Eucalyptus In Ethiopia: The Selfish Tree

Eucalyptus In Ethiopia: The Selfish Tree
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Atalay

Eucalyptus Tree scaffolding

One could not help but notice all of the development as you drove through Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. While there on an International Reporting Project New Media Fellowship in 2014 evidence of the country’s rapid economic growth was displayed by the progress on the roads, buildings, railroads, and homes being built-in, and around the city.  What I noticed most about the “progress”, aside from the Chinese companies working on the roads, were the archaic wooden frames being used as scaffolding on the construction projects. Piles of timber were stacked by the roadside, and carts piled with the thin poles of trees were pulled amidst the traffic often by small boys barely taller than their load.

 

I was told that the scaffolding was Eucalyptus wood.   Compared to the safety standard steel beams that would typically be used for construction projects in Europe or the USA, the tall slim Eucalyptus trees framing construction projects seemed, well, flimsy, and downright unsafe. The amazing thing is that somehow it works! As cement buildings rise from the dusty streets of the city at a rapid pace, I can imagine this is the way construction has happened for many decades along the way.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Atalay

Eucalyptus Scaffolding

Eucalyptus Scaffolding

The ubiquitous evergreen hardwood Eucalyptus trees used for scaffolding are not indigenous to Ethiopia. In the late 1890’s the ruling Emperor Menelik realized they needed quick-growing resources for construction of the “new city”, Addis Ababa. The Eucalyptus tree, or Gum Tree, which is native to Australia, was known to grow quickly and easily, so Emperor Menelik imported Eucalyptus from Australia to Ethiopia, where it has thrived (in its invasive and selfish way).

Boy transporting wood in Ethiopia. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Atalay

The Eucalyptus tree, it turns out, demands huge amounts of water and tends to obscure other plants nearby. In Ethiopia it has come to be known as “the selfish tree”, taking for itself all the water and land around it. With Ethiopia facing the worst draught it has seen for the past 50 years, I wonder about the impact of this resource being used to help build the country, while at the same time robbing precious water from the ground.

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In travel one is constantly reminded that things we take for granted in one area of the world may not exist in others. “Safety precautions” are a big one, a reminder reinforced for me for example while watching a three-year old wield a machete in Borneo. While I stared in horror, mouth agape, the local adults went about their business unfazed. Or in New Zealand where they sent me abseiling down a 100 foot drop to “black water raft” the rapids through caves on an inner tube with a mere 1/2 hour tutorial under my belt.  Again and again in various scenarios around the world I have thought, this would never fly back in the litigious, and bubble wrapped USA.  In most areas in this world you operate at your own risk, and I find myself wondering about all the travel mishaps we’ve never heard about. In Ethiopia I worried for the construction workers working on the tethered timber scaffolding 10 stories off the ground. My hope being that the “selfish tree” will always come through to support them.

Highrise in Ethiopia with Eucalyptus scaffolding

How Kangaroo Care Can Save Newborn Lives In Ethiopia

How Kangaroo Care Can Save Newborn Lives In Ethiopia

This post ran last month through a special collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™ and World Moms Blog to empower women everywhere to have safe and healthy pregnancies and babies. I traveled to Ethiopia in June of 2014 with the International Reporting Project on a New Media Fellowship to report on Newborn Health.

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One of the newborns I met in Ethiopia. Photo: Elizabeth Atalay

I was met by the sweet smell of warmed milk and wrapped in a blanket of an almost stifling heat as I stepped into the ante-chamber of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Photo: Elizabeth Atalay

Through the glass, I could see tiny babies swathed in cloth under the glowing lights of their incubators. Here, in the largest NICU in the country, these fragile lives were living in a fragile system. Frequent power cuts often threatened the stability of the incubators, and thus, the lives of the precious babies whose well-being depended on them.

Here, in Ethiopia, a realization dawned on me. All of the technological innovations in the world do not matter if there is no power to run them. Continue reading on BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development'. Creative Commons License

A mom practicing Kangaroo Care with her premature twins. Photo Credit: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development’.

A Mosebo Village Healthcare worker demonstrated how to properly wrap a baby for kangaroo care. Photo: Elizabeth Atalay

A Mosebo Village Healthcare worker demonstrated how to properly wrap a baby for kangaroo care. Photo: Elizabeth Atalay

The Health Post at Mosebo Village

The Health Post at Mosebo Village

Looking Back on 2015

Looking Back on 2015

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As the first week of 2016 comes to a close I wanted to take a quick look back to savor the fantastic year that was 2015 before moving on. Last year flew by, full of family, work, and travel, and as excited as I am for upcoming 2016 plans, I want to make sure to take the time to pause and savor the highlights, and small successes of the past year before forging ahead.

2015 was an exciting year of travel. Skiing in Aspen. The Nantucket Book Festival. Yoga in Bali.  It will be tough to top! On our family trip we explored a glacier lake in Iceland and climbed crumbling castles in Ireland.  2016 does have a few exciting destinations on the horizon so far, so we will see!

This past year work fulfilled me and helped me grow. I challenged myself by agreeing to do a “media day” of television and radio interviews at the National Press Club in Washington, DC for the United Nations Foundation. As a Shot@Life Champion advocating for global vaccines I was paired up with Dr. Mkope a Tanzanian Pediatrician to do 22 TV and radio interview with stations from across the USA to highlight World Pneumonia Day. In 2015 I continued to work with local non-profit Edesia, the world’s 2nd largest producer of Plumpy’Nut, an amazing product used to treat malnourished children around the globe, and save the lives of nearly a million kids a year. Some of my photography and writing was included in a book put together by ONE.org that went to the US Congressional representatives to support the Electrify Africa Act which was ultimately passed by congress. As a United Nations 2015 Social Good Fellow I attended the Social Good Summit in New York City for the launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals. As Managing Editor of World Moms Blog I attended the United Nations Correspondents Association Award Gala at Cipriani with Founder Jennifer Burden to accept Senior Editor Purnima Ramakrishnan’s UNCA Award for journalism covering a UN topic on her behalf.

As wonderful as the travel and work accomplishments were this year, the moments with family and close friends are my most cherished every year, and there is nothing like being home, especially after an adventure away. I am so grateful to my husband and the supportive women in my life who cheered me on, and provided the incredible opportunities of the past year, and  I’m excited to see what the New Year brings!

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Simple Giving Is The Best Gift Book This Season

Simple Giving Is The Best Gift Book This Season

FullSizeRender-6I believe that is is human nature to want to help others when we can. Two of the biggest hurdles in giving to others are knowing who or what needs help, and then what we, within each of our personal constraints as individuals can do. We also each have our own personal causes and issues we care about. That is one of the reasons that I love sharing stories on my blog of people who make a difference in some way large or small, and hopefully inspire others to do the same. There are so many ways to give, and the book Simple Giving is a perfect guide to how we each can contribute in a positive way to this world.

The book was born from Jennifer’s blog www.anotherjennifer.com and her Philanthropy Friday series. She began to see certain patterns in the types of philanthropy that she featured, and for the book  she breaks them down into six different giving models.

  1. Everyday acts of kindness that can be done everyday for little or no money. An example of this could be as simple as paying someone a compliment.
  2. A new approach to philanthropy which is setting a mindset of giving, even if that amount is small, as a way to make the world a better place.
  3. Shopping with a conscience which has become almost mainstream, consumers want to buy products that give back, are made in an environmentally friendly way, help others to earn a sustainable income, or all three.
  4.  Finding your passion and doing something about it. Start your own non-profit, advocate, be the change you want to see!
  5. Giving as business model, or social enterprise.
  6. Giving it forward means modeling good giving behavior and showing others the way forward.

In Simple Giving Jennifer details case studies for each giving model,  and then lays out a “how to” at the end of each chapter.

I found this book incredibly inspiring, and came away feeling like Simple Giving had given me tools to channel my own philanthropy in new ways. I also now have the desire to give this book to everyone I know as holiday gifts! I think a book like this makes a wonderful present, and just think that when the recipient is in turn inspired by the book it turns into a gift that keeps giving forward. It has been scientifically proven that when we give or help others we feel happier, and  Simple Giving offers each of us a place to start or place to grow our philanthropy in practical ways.

We are in luck that Simple Giving is out in time for holiday giving, and giving back! Get your copy here.

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Author Jennifer Iacovelli

Jennifer Iacovelli is a writer, speaker and consultant. As Chief engagement officer of the Another Jennifer Writing Lab, Jennifer helps entrepreneurs , bloggers, and nonprofits tell their story. She is also the author of  the Another Jennifer blog, and creator of the Simple Giving Lab. She writes for Mom Bloggers For Social Good as part of the Global Team of 200 and is a regular contributor to World Moms Blog and HuffPost Divorce. Jennifer is also contributing author of the book The Mother Of All Meltdowns. Her work has been featured on GOOD, BlogHer, USAID Impact, Feed The Future and the PSI Impact Blog. She is based in Brunswick, Maine.