Tag Archives: Social Good

The Upcoming Global Newborn Health Conference #Newborn2013

The Upcoming Global Newborn Health Conference #Newborn2013

It had been a while since I had cradled a newborn in my arms, and as I held a friend’s new baby the other day I felt the world fall away. I just sat in awe staring at his sweet face and marveling at the tiny hand wrapped around my finger. I remembered holding each of my newborn babies and getting lost in their innocence. There is nothing so precious or miraculous in my mind than a new baby. It reminded me of how different life is in those early days, as a mother, your focus is just so intent on sustaining the new life that you somehow wondrously brought into this world. I was able to be so child-centric at that time in our lives, virtually unaware of the outside universe.  Now with older children venturing out each day, it is impossible not to look outward from our home, at the world my kids are growing up in.

It is a world where not all mothers get to see their newborn thrive and grow. There is another moment I clearly remember from each of my birthing experiences, and that is the moment right before the baby came, an acute clear panic that something might go wrong, an awareness that one, or two of our lives were at stake. Then, luckily, thankfully, the relief when we both made it through, our baby took its first breath, and was placed in my arms.  It is that neonatal period of the first 28 days of life when a baby is most vulnerable.   Because of this fact there are many cultures in the world where  babies are not even given a name  , in some cases they can remain nameless for up to two months after they are born.  It does not need to be that way, and in this day and age should not be.  Many mothers could be spared the loss of their newborn with simple precautions and shared knowledge that should be commonly available.  We have the resources to ensure that newborn babies do not die unnecessarily, and we need to strive to get awareness and access to all women giving birth.

My Newborns, Four Of The Important Reasons Why I Care About Newborn Health

Saving Newborn Lives is the goal of The Gates Foundation’s Director of Family Health, Dr. Gary Darmstadt, and for 28 days until April 15th, a period that represents the critical neonatal period in a newborn life, he is inspiring an ongoing conversation regarding newborn health to help generate action to prevent the unnecessary loss of newborn lives. The Global Team of 200 has joined up with him for the 28 days leading up to the Global Newborn Health Conference that will be held between April 15 – 18 in South Africa, to engage in conversations and spread the word about global newborn health through social media.

As countries make their final push toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals and beyond, progress in reducing neonatal mortality is essential to meeting the child survival MDG. While progress has been made in addressing childhood illnesses, newborn deaths now account for 43 percent of deaths of children under age 5. Globally, nearly 3 million newborns die each year and 2.6 million babies are stillborn. Four out of five newborn deaths result from three preventable and treatable conditions: prematurity, intrapartum-related complications (“birth asphyxia”) and infections. USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) program, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), with additional support from John Snow, Inc., the Laerdal Foundation, and Jhpiego, will host a four-day conference focused on accelerating the scale-up of high-impact interventions that address these three major causes of newborn mortality. – Global Newborn Health Conference

Dr. Gary Darmstadt is tweeting “Did You Know” facts about newborn health leading up to the conference, and you can join us in the conversation too at #newborn2013.





I 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.

Want to share the #Newborn2013 conversation on Facebook? It’s easy. Click the link below to easily share.

Join the Conversation About Newborn Health

Human trafficking: The Crime That Shames Us All

Human trafficking: The Crime That Shames Us All

Photo By Elizabeth Atalay

I am embarrassed to admit that prostitution was legal in Rhode Island until 2009, but still I remember my disbelief when I heard about the case of four young American women being held against their will as part of a human trafficking ring in Rhode Island last year.  I was driving in my car as the news came over the radio and when they mentioned the age of the girls involved I remember looking in the rear view mirror at my two daughters in the back seat.  They were not that far off from the ages mentioned, and looking at my own daughters’ young faces my chest clenched, these were children they were talking about.  No child should ever end up in that situation. Read the rest of this entry

Half The Sky – The Movement; Guest Post by Nicole Melancon

Half The Sky – The Movement; Guest Post by Nicole Melancon

This is a guest post from my friend Nicole Melancon’s amazing blog Third Eye Mom. She did such a beautiful job introducing The Half The Sky book, movie, and movement that I asked if I could share her post here. I completely relate to her transformation from mom to activist, and that  pull to do more once our eyes are opened by information.



“This post is part of my Social Good Sunday series. “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” is a highly aclaimed book written by Nicholas D. Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn. A compelling four-hour documentary on the book is being shown for the first time on PBS on Monday, October 1 and Tuesday, October 2nd. See below for details.”-Nicole Melancon, www.Thirdeyemom.com 

Women hold up half the sky. – Chinese Proverb

Have you ever read a book that changed your life? Although this is a bold statement to be made, I can truthfully say that I have. “Half the Sky” is a book that changed my purpose in life forever.  It is the book that motivated me to transform from a modern stay-at-home mom to a life as an advocate, activist and a voice for social good and giving back. A path that started three years ago, and has evolved into unimaginable ways. A road I’m utterly excited to be following; a dream I’ve had for years. It is time to give back and there is no time more important than now.

So why did Half the Sky have such a powerful impact me? What is the book about?

The book is about women and girls and the extraordinary things they are doing around the globe to bring about change in the face of severe gender oppression and inequality. The book is not a light read. It is destined to leave anyone with a heart in tears. It is a tragic look into the hidden atrocities that are happening every minute to women and girls around the world. Modern day slavery, sex trafficking, genital mutilation, rape, honor killing, lack of education, maternal mortality, and the impact of fistula (a devastating treatable condition that occurs after childbirth and leaves a woman with incontinence, ridicule and isolation).

Yet despite all the devastation and oppression discussed in each page of this book, there is is hope. For the book is rightly named “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”. Amazing things are happening right now in regards to women’s and girl’s rights. At the Social Good Summit and Clinton Global Initiative 2012 Annual meetings in New York City just this past week, women and girl’s rights were at the forefront of the conversation.

Per Sheryl WuDunn, “In the same way that slavery was a moral challenge for the 19th century and totalitarianism was a challenge for the 20th century, the challenge that women and girls face around the world is the moral challenge of our time”.

This message was reiterated over and over again by several high-level officials this past week in New York City. A message that sparked a global movement to address what WuDunn and Kristof dubbed “the central moral challenge of our time” – ending the oppression of women and girls world-wide.

Although women and girls around the globe face threats every day of their lives, hope and optimism remain that these courageous women are working to turn things around. Non-governmental organizations and powerful individuals are finding ways to increase awareness and provide ways for women and girls to escape the vicious cycle of poverty and abuse they face through initiatives to increase education, reproductive and maternal health care, and economic empowerment.

A four-hour documentary film inspired by the book will be run on PBS this Monday, October 1, 9/8 pm Central (Part 1 of 2) and Tuesday, October 2, 9/8 PM Central  (Part 2 of 2).  Filmed in 10 countries, the film follows Nicholas Kristof and celebrity activists on an inspiring journey to tell the stories of the courageous women working to bring about change to women and girls rights.

The documentary takes an inside look into what is really happening around the globe. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Yet also illustrates some of the inspiring changes that are happening as well, changes that empower women and girls to make a better life for themselves.

“In Cambodia, where 30 percent of prostitutes are children, Half the SKy examines the issue of sex trafficking. Meg Ryan and Nickolas Kristof meet Somaly Mam, herself sold into slavery as a young girl, but who is now a world-renowned leader in the anti-trafficking struggle”.


Besides the documentary, Kristof and WuDunn are taking the book one step further into perhaps unprecedented territory. They have partnered with leading NGO, Games for Change, to use technology as never before. Together they are creating games that change Half the Sky from simply a book to a movement focusing on ways to promote change. Change in attitude and beliefs that will help empower women and drive them out of poverty.

It is an ambitious program like never seen before. Kristof and WuDunn believe that with such a high percentage of the population having access to mobile phones, that now is the time to reach out to a new audience and impact change from the ground up. For example, in one Kenyan slum they visited, 75% of the one million people had cell phones but most did not have a TV. Half the Sky launched a mobile app for youth to learn about critical issues impacting their community such as teenage pregnancy, intestinal worms and female discrimination.  Half the Sky is hoping that gaming will act as a catalyst to impact behavioral changes and empower youth to make change.

To read more about Half the Sky’s upcoming games, click here. It is truly impressive!

To learn more, please visit Half the Sky Movement and see how you can help.

To read more from Nicole Melancon check out www.Thirdeyemom.com