Every Mother Counts: A Virtual Run

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virtual run

My daughter and I went to the Quincy Music Theatre production of Mary Poppins last night.

I was deeply moved by the scene where Michael Banks and Bert are flying kites. Michael is clearly elated, and at a point where he wants to keep flying the kite,  Bert says something to the effect of, “but I want to fly a kite too!”

Kids and adults want to experience the sheer joy of playing sometimes, don’t they?

Global Goal Five: Gender Equality

When I was at the Social Good Summit in September, one theme that suffused many of the presentations was that of women, girls, and inequity. Girls are forced into human trafficking situations; women can’t provide their children the nutrition, education, health care, or protection from harm they need.

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Goal number 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals is Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. A few of this goal’s targets (edited slightly for brevity) which stand out to me include:

 

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources

Please click here for an unabridged list of the Goal Five targets.

For many women and girls in our world, the mere act of survival is threatened. The spiritual buoyancy of an activity like kite-flying is far out of their reach.

One Way To Help Women Soar – A Virtual Run

Thinking of these women and girls, I have signed up for the Make Yes Happen Every Mother Counts Virtual Race. The below info is from the Make Yes Happen site:

Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. Worldwide, 1 woman dies every 2 minutes from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth – yet up to 98% of these deaths are preventable. With funds raised through an engaged community of individuals and runners, Every Mother Counts is able to support programs that improve access to comprehensive maternity care in Haiti, Uganda, India, Tanzania, Nepal and the United States.

How does running connect to maternal health?

Distance is one of the biggest barriers women face during pregnancy. In some parts of the world, it’s not uncommon for a woman to travel at least 26 miles to reach emergency care, even while in labor. That’s why we run – so that women don’t have to when trying to access the lifesaving care they need during pregnancy and childbirth.

Join us

Register here (a portion of your $25 entry fee benefits Every Mother Counts), then virtually run or walk 3.1 miles around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY by Nov 16th.

Use your Garmin, Fitbit, Runkeeper or manual entry to log your miles and earn Google Street Views of your location.

All participants will receive an Every Mother Counts T-shirt (unisex sizes).

Share your race using #EveryMileEveryMother on social media.

Back to Paula: Please also download Charity Miles and use it during your virtual run, designating Every Mother Counts as your cause. For every mile you run or walk, $0.25 will be donated to Every Mother Counts!!

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Working together, we can help every girl and woman soar!

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(ps – guys, please sign up too! To quote Freida Pinto from the “Are We All Feminists?” Session at the Social Good Summit, “gender equality is not just my fight; it is all the men in the room … this is your fight as well.”)

(pps – that code at the top of this blog is so I can register on Bloglovin. It’s a one-time thing. Follow me on Bloglovin via this link.)

#GlobalGoals: Using What We Have

It’s ridiculous. For our family of five, there are five functional mobile phones in the household (even for the 86 year old with short-term memory issues who has an extremely limited social calendar). In addition to the five functional phones, an inventory of our home would probably unearth another five abandoned phones, set aside in favor of newer technology, more memory, and the ability for Youtube videos of cute kittens to load EVEN FASTER.

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Philippa Kibugu-Decuir of Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa Inc. would be happy with one smartphone per village in Rwanda, East Africa, never mind five per household.

That one smartphone per village would make a difference in a place characterized by lack of knowledge and help-seeking behaviors, as well as fear and poverty. These factors result in many African women presenting their breast cancer at late stages when it is difficult or impossible to treat.

With a smartphone and an educational app, trained volunteer ambassadors can spread information about early detection among villagers. This makes it likely that women will catch signs of breast cancer much earlier than had previously been the case.

The app is currently in English, but Kinyarwanda and Swahili versions are being developed.

In the photos below, Valerie, in the village of Gisozi, Gasabo District, Rwanda, receives a smartphone which she will use to educate women.

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Photo Credit: BCIEA

Philippa says:

We believe we can use what we have to get where we want to be.

Our world needs people like Philippa to achieve Goal 3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal-3

One of the subgoals is: Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks. Philippa is directly impacting this goal, through improving early warning and risk reduction for women in Rwanda as it pertains to breast cancer.

In addition to this goal, the The UN has identified 16 other Sustainable Development Goals which will set the world’s agenda for the next 15 years. The 17 goals will be officially adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, September 25-27 in New York City.

Philippa inspires me to think harder about what I have, to be more creative in how I use it, and to have a more ambitious goal for the change I want to make in the health of the world around me.

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Although I chose to focus this post on the BCIEA project, I want to give a shout-out to some other organizations and individuals who are “using what they have to get where they want to be”:

  • An organization near and dear to me, Shot at Life, which helps ensure children around the world have access to life-saving immunizations. Learn more by clicking here.
  • The Kupona Foundation, which works closely to provide maternal healthcare, disability services, and sustainable health care in Tanzania. Learn more by clicking here.
  • I am also inspired by Jennifer Kate Lovallo. When her travel plans landed her in Budapest at precisely the same time that Syrian refugees were streaming through on their way to (primarily) Germany, exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and disoriented, she arranged an impromptu effort to provide a relief station so the refugees could meet their basic survival needs. That particular situation may be over before the summit even convenes on September 25, but seeing her ability and willingness to initiate such an action on zero notice and to mobilize inspired me. Read more about her efforts here.

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To become more involved in the Global Goals, here are some resources:

Website:     Global Goals

Facebook:  The Global Goals

Twitter:       @UN and @TheGlobalGoals

Instagram:  The Global Goals

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UPDATE: Brenda of 1010 Park Place shared a great profile of Philippa here in October 2016.