Beginning today in Kuala Lumpur the world gathers at the Women Deliver conference, the third global conference to be held focusing on the health and well-being of girls and women. Starting today and running through May 30th International leaders, policymakers, healthcare professionals, NGO’s, youth leaders, corporations, and media outlets recognize the value of girls and women and take on solutions to issues affecting girls and women around the world. It is becoming increasingly clear that the most valuable investment we can make is in girls and women.
With the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline rapidly approaching, the time is now to deliver for girls and women, and Women Deliver 2013 will serve as a global platform for ensuring that the health and rights of girls and women remain top priorities now, and for decades to come.
Luckily we do not have to travel to Malaysia to participate; You can watch the conference livestream or go back to find the sessions that have been recorded that you may have missed. You can chime in or follow using the hashtag #WD2013 on twitter, and get the days re-cap by looking through #WDLive.
The +Social Good community also launched in Kuala Lumpur this week, and was inspired by the Social Good Summit, as a community of innovators, connectors and global citizens come together with the shared vision to make the world a better place. There are many ways to join in on the global conversation this week around women, girls and social good, we’ll see you there!
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.
On Day 3 of our Ugandan adventure we took a detour. We were scheduled to meet with the health staff who were going to be working at the Family Health Days that we were visiting on Sunday, but they were still busy preparing for Sunday. So, we found ourselves with unexpected free time. What better thing to do in Africa when your plans fall through than to visit one of Uganda’s national parks?
Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. Jennifer Burden of World Moms Blog with Jenny Eckton of the blog, Formerly Phread while in Uganda in October 2012 with Shot@Life.
Saturday’s adventure led us to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we went on a river safari cruise on Lake Edward. We saw a multitude of hippos and buffalo, as well as, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys and beautiful birds. We hopped a riverboat and spent the entire time out on the water. I have never seen so many hippos in my life. Apparently, some had been brought to the park in the 1960s, and they’ve been expanding every since! One moment the waters would appear empty, but the next many hippo heads popping up out of the water! Babies followed their moms. They swam around together in groups. Absolutely incredible!
Culture & Signs of Extreme Poverty
The excursion was a fantastic opportunity for our delegation to get a feel of the country’s natural beauty and a great team building exercise. We were bonded going into the next Family Health Day. However, driving through the extreme poverty on the long bus ride through the country really put into perspective how much UNICEF’s efforts were needed.
We saw homes made of only big sticks and mud with reeds or tin for roofs. Although they are great “green” homes for the country’s beautiful African sun drenched days, they are unsuitable when temperatures become very cold at night and there is no running water or electricity.
Ugandan house made of mud and sticks.
Also, children were seen walking long distances in school uniforms, many alone. Women, men and children carried large yellow containers to collect water in and walked for miles home. An image that will never cease to amaze me — the site of an African woman balancing her load on her head and walking on the roadside barefoot.
Woman in Uganda walking on side of road in western Uganda.
Unfinished homes and store fronts were quite common. We were told that owners would save up for bricks and then add gradually to the structure over many years. It was not uncommon to see unfinished storefronts in use or piles of bricks that had been delivered to unfinished residences. Bricks were made of heated, dried mud.
Here is an example of a typical storefront. This one is a bicycle shop and a clothing store. Often times, the storefronts were painted by companies seeking to advertise mobile phones and other products.
Common roadside storefront in Uganda.
We were truly humbled by our trip out to western Uganda. The further we drove away from Kampala, the more common it was to see mud huts. And storefronts were everywhere, often with mothers manning them and children playing outside. Day 3 was a truly memorable day. We captured photos that changed us and that will stay in our advocacy hearts forever. This day was good for our delegation to get to know each other better and prepare for the next round of Family Health Days on Day 4.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.
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.