Tag Archives: World Moms Blog

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

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.


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


 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.


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.


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! 

2016 Aisha Yesufu and Ambassador Power 600


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.


Photo credit of Aisha and Ambassador Power to Aisha Yesufu.

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.


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

myPicMonkey Collage

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!

 Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 7.48.24 AM

Health Post At Mosebo Village, Ethiopia

Health Post At Mosebo Village, Ethiopia

Elizabeth Atalay

We had just spent the night at the source of the Blue Nile River. Lake Tana sits in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, and as our caravan of Land Cruisers wove through the countryside from Bahir Dar to Mosebo I took in deep gulping breaths of sweet fresh Ethiopian air. The lush colors of our surroundings looked to me like they had been enhanced in Photoshop in the way that everything seemed to pop.  How could I feel this emotional connection to place that was never mine? A place I had never been?

Though this is my first time in Ethiopia, the verdant landscape brought me back to other rural parts of Africa I’d traveled through in my youth, similar topographies that had stayed with me ever since.  This time I’d returned to the continent as a new media fellow with the International Reporting Project to report on newborn health.  We were heading to one of the villages housing a Health Post which serves the local and surrounding population of approximately 3,500 people.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Mosebo Village is part of Save The Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program, and as such is looked to as a model village in the Ethiopian Government’s plan to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.  Mosebo is a rural agrarian community that produces wheat, teff and corn.  There I met seven-year-old Zina whose mother, Mebrate was about to give birth.  Through our translator Mebrate estimated her age to be around 26, and told us that Zina was her first child.  As we learned from interviewing many mothers along the way, her age estimate was really more of a suggestion, and at times might be a full decade older than the expecting mother’s true age. I suspect this is somewhat the case with Mebrate as well.   She said that for economic reasons she and her husband had waited to have a second child, but again, as we also learned, this might not be the full story. Losing a newborn in the act of childbirth is so common, and almost expected in rural Ethiopia, that it is not spoken of openly.   Almost in the way a western mother might not offer up a miscarriage amongst her healthy born children if asked how many children she has.

When she had Zina, Mebrate had gone to her parent’s home to give birth, as women in Ethiopia often do. It is estimated that 80% of Ethiopian mothers will give birth in their home, often without a trained health care attendant. Towards the end of Mebrate’s first pregnancy she went to live with her parents as her family instructed, until after the baby was born.  In that way her mother could help her deliver, could care for her and the baby, and feed her the traditional porridge after birth. Although there were no complications during her delivery, sadly, many young mothers giving birth at home are not as fortunate. The time period during and around birth are the most vulnerable for the lives of both the mothers and babies. The Saving Newborn Lives Program aims to reduce maternal and newborn mortality beginning with awareness programs and pre-natal care on the local level at Health Posts like the one we visited in Mosebo.

Mosebo Health Post

The Mosebo Health Post and Health Extension Workers

We had met Tirgno and Fasika, the two Health Extension Workers at the Mosebo Health Post earlier that day as they showed us the two room interior, and explained their role in improving maternal and newborn health.  They work to raise awareness in the community about the importance of pre-natal care, and the potential dangers of giving birth at home for both mother and child. Newborn health is interdependent with maternal health, and the most prevalent causes of newborn mortality, infection, Asphyxiation, pre-maturity or low birth weight, and diarrhea can often be avoided with proper care.   These days in Mosebo after receiving pre-natal care at the Health Post women are then referred to the regional Health Center for deliveries.

Zina shyly smiled when we ask her how she felt about having a new sibling, she stood straight and tall listening intently as we asked her mother about the babies’ arrival.  When Mebrate goes into labor this time, with her second child, she will embark on the walk along rural dirt roads for around an hour to the nearest Health Center to give birth.

This story was reported by Elizabeth Atalay from Ethiopia where she traveled as a fellow with the International Reporting Project (IRP). This post is a modified version of one first written for World Moms Blog.

The Social Good Summit in NYC 2013 #2030NOW

The Social Good Summit in NYC 2013 #2030NOW

Elizabeth Atalay at Social Good Summit 2013

 I was enraptured a couple of weeks ago as I soaked in information at the three-day  Social Good Summit in NYC sponsored by Mashable, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 92Y, the United Nations Foundation, United Nations Development Program, and Ericsson .  This to me is what being front row at the Super Bowl or The Oscars would be for others. The summit  coincided with both the United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative, and so the city was abuzz with global leaders, humanitarians, media, and advocates, and the vibe was infectious.

The Social Good Summit is a three-day conference where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. Held during UN Week from September 22-24, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges. The most innovative technologists, influential minds and passionate activists will come together with one shared goal: to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place, and then to translate that potential into action.- www.Mashable.com/SGS 

To kick off the conference World Moms Blog founder Jennifer Burden hosted a pre-game dinner party the night before for World Moms Blog editors & contributors in from out-of-town. Wave Bars sponsored our travel into the city the next day and kindly supplied us with a treat basket including a cache of their healthful snack bars for sustenance. To make us feel fully feted the creator of Dragonfly Designs had sent over a basket of gorgeous custom wine glasses, “Eat,Drink,Blog” perfect for our evening, and to get us going the next morning for a packed conference schedule.

Elizabeth Atalay w/ World Moms Blog Crew

Bright and early Sunday morning a Wave bar served as breakfast on the train into NYC to take part in the RUN10FEED10 10K with fellow Shot@Life Champion Myrdin Thompson, and my cherished childhood friend Maria. This was my first 10k and I could not have done it without their company.   I loved the idea that between Maria, Myrdin and I, we started off the morning of the Social Good Summit having donated 30 meals with the run, while providing life saving vaccines, and supporting Parkinson’s Research by using the Charity Miles app we used. All before 9am. I knew that both Gene Gurkoff, Founder of Charity Miles, and Lauren Bush Lauren, Founder of FEED projects (two people I greatly admire!) would be speaking later that week at the summit.Elizabeth Atalay at theRun 10 Feed10

Each day in fact, for the following three days, many of the people whose work I admire most took the stage and elucidated us further on the impact we can all have for social good, on emerging technologies, and best practices leading the way.  The speaker line-up was star-studded (for the humanitarian world) and included  Melinda Gates, Richard Branson, Al Gore and Malala Yousafazai, and tackled ending poverty by 2030, food security, Global health, and how mobile technology is transforming our world.  Speakers ranged from humanitarian celebrities such as will.i.am, founders of inspiring NGO’s and non-profits, representatives from UNICEF and the World Food Program to HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The full list of speakers and their topics can be found on the Mashable site. Each panel offered hope, solutions and actions toward the universal goal of ending extreme poverty by  the year 2030 (hence the hashtag), and tackling the multifactorial root causes collectively.

A couple of my favorite snapshots include the National Geographic photographer Marcus Bleasdale calling us all out for using technologies that have conflict zones minerals in them. With his photographs he documented mineral mines where lives are lost for the necessary elements found in our cell phones, iPads and cameras. He urged us all to be more conscientious consumers, and let companies know that we will not purchase products produced in an environment that is harmful to others. An important message for a room full of social media producers.  Jessica O. Mathews demonstrated the soccer ball that she invented with her company Uncharted Play, Inc., that harnesses power during play. To me her brilliant design was such a hopeful example of how young people are creatively solving the challenges we  face. And Sir Richard Branson pointed out that the choice between saving the planet or saving our economies is a false choice. Al Gore would later expand on that calling the climate reality the most pressing challenge to the survival of human civilization as we know it.

#2030 Now

Jessica O. Mathews, Marcus Bleasdale, and Sir Richard Branson

As electric as the energy was inside the 92Y, some of the highlights for me occurred outside of the summit itself, such as  meeting our World Moms Blog Tanzanian contributor Nancy Sumari. Attending a roundtable lunch session with ONE, the Gates Foundation, and Save the Children focused on the Syrian refugee crisis and tackling the MDG’s.  Joining other bloggers at a dinner meeting with WaterAid where we heard an update on implementing running water in the Madagascar schools several of us have written about.  Attending a ONE.org panel at the United Nations on Millennial Factivism, and an inspiring blogger breakfast with (RED) to discuss upcoming products that help fund the fight against AIDS. Gathering in person with so many of the amazing people that share my passion for raising awareness and striving towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals, and the true possibility of ending extreme poverty by 2030. I am still processing all of the information that came home with me, in what feels like unpacking a duffle bag stuffed with the whole world of issues. One by one I aim to pull them out, and write.

LtoR: WMB Tanzania contributor Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon Third Eye Mom, Jennifer Barbour Another Jennifer, the author, Phil Carroll  of Save the Children

LtoR: WMB Tanzania contributor Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom, Jennifer Barbour of Another Jennifer, the author & Phil Carroll Save the Children Media & Communications