World Moms Share Mother’s Day Traditions on @BabyCenter!

World Moms Share Mother’s Day Traditions on @BabyCenter!

2016 Mothers Day Piya 600As part of World Moms Blog’s collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™, our World Moms are writing posts on maternal health around the world. In today’s post, we are celebrating Mother’s Day by sharing photos and thoughts on the holiday from around the world!

“Mother’s Day is a relatively recent practice in India and takes place the 2nd Sunday in May in India, like in the U.S. For me, as a daughter, it’s about calling up my mother and my mother-in-law and wishing them well. We all chuckle over the fact that earmarking only one day for moms seems so inadequate. As for my son, he usually wishes me a Happy Mother’s Day and ropes his father in to cook something special for me. This is a welcome change for me, as here, in India, we cook fresh meals at least every day, if not thrice a day for every meal!” — Piya Mukherjee, India

Read more stories and photos on Mother’s Day around the world in our post, “How families celebrate Mother’s Day around the world“, over at BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™!

And also check out our World Moms Blog Instagram Feed on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8th, 2016!

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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#WorldMoms: Christmas Trees Around the World….

#WorldMoms: Christmas Trees Around the World….

Today on Facebook, we are sharing our contributors’ Christmas trees around the world!

Check out this tree from World Mom, Tara Wambugu in Kenya:

Christmas Tree in Kenya

 

Follow our World Moms Blog Facebook Page for an inside look into our World Moms’ homes and visit our Christmas trees around the world!

Have a tree to share? We’d love to see it!  Have a menorah or other holiday décor to share? Yes, please! Post it in the comments in our World Moms Blog Facebook page!

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Release of 2015 State of the World’s Mothers Report by @SaveTheChildren #sowm #worldmoms #MomsMatter

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Release of 2015 State of the World’s Mothers Report by @SaveTheChildren #sowm #worldmoms #MomsMatter

Photo credit to Save the Children.

Family living in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

Last week, World Moms Blog conducted an exclusive interview with Save the Children’s President and CEO, Carolyn Miles and Vice President of Global Health, Robert Clay at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Our conversation was around the State of the World’s Mothers Report for 2015, released today! Carolyn had recently returned from Haiti, and was enthusiastic to speak about this year’s findings…

Jennifer Burden: The State of the World’s Mothers Report now covers 179 countries, how many years has it existed?

Carolyn Miles: This is the 16th report, and I have been with Save the Children for 17 years. It came about as a connection between the well-being of mothers and children around the world. The report measures the well-being based on 5 indicators: economic, education, maternal health, child survival and the representation of women in government.

JB: The theme of the report in 2015 seems to focus on urban areas. Save the Children is pulling apart statistical averages in cities. Why?

CM: It is driven by getting to the hardest to reach children. Seventeen thousand children die per day. That has halved from 33,000 since 1990. We are answering the question of, “Where are the hardest to reach children?” And the cities are where the world’s population is going. In 2007 there were 51% of people on the planet living in cities. Today that number is 54%, and the city population is rapidly increasing. Cities are where the children, mothers and parents are living.

Families move to the cities looking for a better life, but in the poorest areas, the urban slums, children there are 2 times as likely to die than the richest kids in the same city.

If you look at the averages, the averages in cities are generally better than in rural areas. But, if you break it down, the poorest kids in cities are 2 times as likely to die as the richest kids in cities. And, those kids are also more likely to die than children in the rural areas.

JB: The urban data — when we think of child survival rates and socioeconomic disparities, most may think of cities such as Kampala, Delhi or Rio, but the report hits home, here, in the U.S. Can you tell us about Washington, D.C.?

CM: Yes, we looked at 25 capital cities in high income countries and the infant mortalities, including the deaths of infants under the age of one. Washington, D.C. was at the bottom. When we compared the wealthiest district and the one with the most poverty, children in the district with the most poverty were 10 times more likely to die than children from the wealthiest district.

Inequality is an important issue in the United States.

Urbanization in 2030 is expected to account for 65% of the population and to further increase in 2050.

Also, a key point is that the data is weak. We are looking at the DHS infant mortality rates, and the world needs to do a better job in accounting for this data.

JB: What was the biggest surprise this year?

CM: It was no surprise that the Scandanavians are always at the top. If we really want mothers and children to have a better life, we should support them.

To give a really specific answer, inequality is killing kids.

I just returned from Haiti 2 days ago. Haiti is in the bottom 10 and hasn’t been there in a long time. Number 1, the country has a very low education rate. Fifty percent of children do not get through primary school. Number 2, the decreased strength in the government slowed progress. I met with a bunch of moms and babies who are getting very basic healthcare, but more has to be done.

(Haiti is tied at number 169 with Sierra Leone in the 2015 Mothers Index Rankings and was just shy of the bottom 10 at number 168 last year in the 2014 Mothers Index Rankings.)

JB: What was the biggest success story?

CM: Panama made a lot of progress this year and has moved up in the rankings. This was driven by education and improvements in the representation of women in their government.

(Panama moved up to number 78 in the 2015 Mothers Index Rankings. That is a jump of 31 spots, from a ranking of number 109 in the 2014 Mothers Index Rankings.)

JB: As I read in the report, Carolyn, you have an interesting “World Mom Moment” that led you to leave the corporate world and work for Save the Children. (According to the State of the World’s Mothers Report 2015, Carolyn was in Manila holding her 6 month old son 20 years ago, and she felt that it wasn’t right that children she saw in poverty would have a very different chance at life than her son. It was that experience that led her to leave the corporate world and join Save the Children.) So, on World Moms Blog, we always ask, “What is your wish for world mothers?”

CM: Yes, I did, in Manila while holding my son when he was a baby! My wish is mostly that every mother has the basics: basic healthcare, that their children can go to school, and in conflict countries that moms and children are protected.

JB: What is the one action you would like us to take and encourage our World Moms Blog community to take to help mothers and children worldwide?

CM: Just one? (laughter) Please go to the Save the Children Web Site!

1) Donate to the programs — there are many choices!

2) Save the Children has a policy ask. To press the US government, a world leader in child and maternal health, to pass the Coons, Graham and Cardin Bill to support global maternal and child health programs. We must keep pushing.

3) In the new UN Goals there is a big focus in inequality. We think that is REALLY important that we ask that these goals are supported in order to reach the most deprived kid. These are the goals that every country will sign off on.

Photo credit to Save the Children.

Photo credit to Save the Children.

JB: Next, we have fielded some questions from our World Moms Blog contributors. First, Cindy Levin, the Anti-Poverty Mom in Missouri, USA asks, “What is the biggest area of opportunity to save kids lives this year…vaccines? nutrition?”

CM: It is hard to pick one. This year it’s important to get the new goals right, and we’re pushing for children to be central to them. In 1980 that is how things were done — one goal would be focused on. But when you only have a vertical lens, you’re not taking advantage of the integration of services.

Now, the focus is on smart integration to meet the demands of the children.

For example, in Nepal, the focus is on nutrition, as well as, water and sanitation. If a child is getting proper nutrition, but is drinking dirty water, then they are going to get sick and the nutrition alone won’t help. They have to work together.

JB: Next, our contributor, Kristyn Zalota of Cleanbirth.org in Connecticut, USA asks, “The largest obstacle moms in Southern Laos have to reaching a clinic is distance and lack of transportation. How common an obstacle is this for women worldwide?”

CM: Very common. Transport is a big barrier for women worldwide. Some of the solutions we are using are to construct mother homes next to clinics to decrease the distance, and her family can join her, like a birthing hut system. Another way to get the pregnant mother to the clinic is by ambulance. We line up the ambulances ahead of time in anticipation of the birth. For example, in Uganda, bicycle ambulances are used, and they have a sled in the back for the mother.

JB: Lastly, Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama of Mummy Tales in Kenya asks, “In societies that are very patriarchal and in communities that still uphold retrogressive cultures (this is so in many African cultures), where a woman’s reproductive health decisions are dictated by men (fathers, husbands, brothers, etc.), how is Save the Children working with men in this regard? Any examples?”

CM: This is a really important question. I’ll give you an example in Uganda, where there are lots of family planning clinics available that are supported by the government. But yet, we found that not all mothers were using them because they had not gotten permission from their husbands. So, sometimes access is not the problem.

Save the Children is encouraging and having “family discussions”, a way of bringing men into the discussions. We give them stats, economics, etc. that leads to the the better health of children and family spacing.

Robert Clay: Save the Children also works with adolescents on this topic. We are bringing boys and girls into the discussions before they are having children, and we talk to them about their roles and responsibilities.

Another example of how I have seen this work is through my prior work with USAID. We had soccer games for the boys with an additional afternoon discussion around sexuality. At the beginning, most of the boys only wanted to play soccer and made it clear that was what they preferred to do. Many were hearing for the first time factual information about sex, their roles as men and how to establish responsibility early on. Then, as they attended more discussions, the boys spoke of their preference to spend more time in the discussions than playing soccer!

Additionally, there is a women in government piece to this question. Societies with more women in decision making roles pass policies that are friendly to women and children. And when it comes to economics, when women have money they invest in their children.

Thank you to both Caroline Miles and Robert Clay for this exclusive interview. After the interview, there was a press conference at UN Headquarters including information on the 2015 State of the World Mothers Report. Look out for a follow up post on WorldMomsBlog.com about the press conference.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA. 

Updated May 5th, 2015. Carolyn had her “World Mom Moment” in Manila, not Hong Kong, as previously stated. 

 

Jennifer Burden, Founder of World Moms Blog with Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children at the United Nations, April 30, 2015.

Jennifer Burden, Founder of World Moms Blog with Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children at the United Nations, April 30, 2015.

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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WORLD VOICE: 10 Takeaways from the @WorldBank’s #SMCSO15 Meetings #WorldMoms

WORLD VOICE: 10 Takeaways from the @WorldBank’s #SMCSO15 Meetings #WorldMoms

#WorldMoms Panel #SMCSo15 500

This week, World Moms Blog was invited to take part in the World Bank/IMF Civil Society Meetings in Washington, DC. I had the opportunity to be there Tuesday and Wednesday, and World Mom, Cynthia Levin, took over for Thursday and Friday.

The World Bank has a long history of lending since Breton Woods in 1944 when it was established after World War II. But, over the years it has also lended to projects that have had a negative impact on the local people in developing nations. And after years of protesting the World Bank, anthropologist and Partners in Health cofounder, Dr. Jim Kim, has been at the helm of the bank as President for the past 3 years.

The protests have now been brought off the streets and members of the public have been invited inside around the World Bank and IMF fall and spring meetings to represent the people in the countries where the bank lends. So, all is perfect now, right?

Development isn’t easy. There are still challenges when it comes to lending and looking out for the societies receiving the loans. The topics are intricate in the bank’s mission to end poverty and are reflected in over 50 different panels that are being presented at the meetings.

Here are my top 10 takeaways about the first two days of the Civil Society Meetings…

1) Not everyone here is from DC. The Civil Society Meetings attract and bring in a host of civil society members across continents to come and join in the conversations around poverty. In fact, a large portion of the meeting panels were pitched by civil society members. They are helping carve out the bank’s future practices (safeguards), providing new points of view by representing the people from their home countries and networking with their counterparts abroad to trade best practices and solutions.

2) Dr. Kim, World Bank President, says that the world can end extreme poverty by 2030. In 1993 41% of the world’s human population was living in extreme poverty (under $1.25 per day). With the help of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (Do you remember our #Moms4MDGs campaign last year?) that percentage has been reduced to 14% in 2014 (data is still coming in to confirm this projected number). Statistics are according to the World Bank.

3) Some of the people on the planet who may be most affected by climate change know nothing about it. In the Pathway to Paris working panel on climate change, civil society members from Hoduras and Bolivia explained that when your focus is that you need to eat, climate change is not on the minds of people, but how to get food is. And they stated that when people are aware of the climate change problem, they expect that it is a problem to be dealt with by the developed world.

4) The consequences of radicalization and violent extremism in fragile societies is a popular emerging topic of interest among civil society members. There was a packed crowd (think Tokyo subway car) in the panel on the consequences of radicalization and violent extremism, and I didn’t get in! I really wanted to listen in on the conversation, but noted it was a high priority on civil society’s agenda as something that needed to be changed.

5) To reach the goal to end extreme poverty faster, the World Bank sees the importance in partnering with faith-based organizations. There were several panels on Wednesday, including a flagship event, that included members of the world’s largest religions discussing their motivations to help the poor from their faith. The key takeaway was that although the World Bank is a secular organization, there are benefits to ending poverty faster by working together with faith based organizations.

6) Human rights has not been written in as part of the World Bank’s safeguards and civil society is protesting. A man from the LBGT community, chased out of his home country of Uganda, asked the World Bank executive directors why they continue to lend to countries who do not value the rights of their people. Also, during a round table discussion with executive directors from the World Bank and the IMF, a woman from South Africa asked for a moment of silence for children who had died from the impact of a World Bank development project (I do not know the details of the project she was referring to.). Afterwards, a group of civil society members stood in unity with her wearing or holding yellow shirts demanding human rights be written into the bank’s safeguards. Civil Society members are standing up for their rights and joining the conversation to try to change bank policy.

7) The smallest member of the World Bank Group is MIGA. MIGA stands for Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and has only about 33 employees and lends in the the most fragile states. For example, they were lending in Afghanistan when bullets were flying!

8) The official twitter feed for the IMF/World Bank Civil Society Meetings is “SMCSO15”. This is according to the postings in the meeting rooms at the World Bank. Twitter also self-populates with another hashtag being used, “SMCSO2015.” The twitter feed picks up on the flagship panels that are broadcast live to the public, which makes the online conversation awesome around ending poverty. You can check out our post from earlier this week on those flagship panels that have live feeds.

9) The open meeting policy at the World Bank allows the bank to hear and anticipate the effects of their lending in ways they haven’t in the past. Could you imagine if every business had this type of open meeting policy where civil society could pitch panels on the way in which it lends to better society? Although born out of unfair lending practices and people protesting the streets of the past, this model is ground-breaking. And the world needs ground-breaking when it comes to getting people out of extreme poverty and achieving the sustainable development goals of 2030.

10) World Moms Blog’s panel on grassroots advocacy and social media in support of universal education is a go! On Friday, April 17th at 11am ET, World Moms Blog’s Cynthia Levin (USA & also of RESULTS), Aisha Yesefu (Nigeria) and myself, Jennifer Burden (USA), will team up with Allison Grossman of RESULTS and Kolleen Bouchane of A World at School to discuss ways in which civil society members can ignite change in getting more children into the classroom. Today, over 57 million children of primary school age on the planet are not being educated. The topic is vital and also very timely with the passing of the 1 year anniversary this week of the capturing of the Chibok Girls of Nigeria. We hope you will join us on Twitter under the hashtag #WorldMoms and #SMCSO15.

We agree that civil society should be a part of the conversation to effect change. You can join the World Bank Live Feed this week, too.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden in the USA. The World Bank has provided funding for Jennifer and Cindy to attend the meetings this week to help engage more members of civil society in the global discussions to end poverty, but has not directed our voice. 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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WORLD IMMUNIZATION WEEK: Reinventing the Party

WORLD IMMUNIZATION WEEK: Reinventing the Party

World Moms Blog contributors and friends at the inaugural “GAVI Global Tea Party” to raise awareness for life-saving vaccinations for children in the developing world.

In January of this year, my friend, Jen Burden, the founder of World Moms Blog, invited me to attend the very first grassroots advocacy party for the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign at her house, here, in New Jersey. The theme of the party was “Around the World” and featured international food served in shot-sized glasses which we purchased for a $1-$3 donation.

Now, as a stay-at-home mom of two young boys, I jump at any opportunity for a fun night out with my friends! But I soon realized this night would be very special. How often do you know your actions are actually saving a child’s life?

Shot@Life seeks to “educate, connect and empower Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.” The money raised at this party went directly to purchasing vaccinations to immunize children against four deadly diseases: pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio. $20 is all that is needed to fully vaccinate one child, but sadly, 1 in 5 children around the world still lack access to these life-saving vaccinations.

Jen spoke that night about why she became a Shot@Life Champion. (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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