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.
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 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™.
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
The Health Post at Mosebo Village
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!
I 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finding your passion and doing something about it. Start your own non-profit, advocate, be the change you want to see!
- Giving as business model, or social enterprise.
- 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.
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.