We have exciting news at World Moms Blog! Two World Moms Blog Editors, myself and Elizabeth Atalay, have been selected to travel to Ethiopia this June as New Media journalism fellows with The International Reporting Project (IRP). Last April, World Moms Blog Senior Editor Purnima Ramakrishnan of India was a fellow on the IRP’s Brazil trip where she reported on the reduction of poverty and hunger in Brazil, and how it has embraced the Millennium Development Goals to improve the lives of its citizens.
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is based at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the John Hopkins University and the primary goal of the IRP is to provide journalists with the opportunity to report internationally on issues not traditionally covered in mainstream media.
The program was created in 1998, making it a pioneer in the “nonprofit journalism” movement that seeks to fill the gap left by much of the mainstream media’s reduction of international news. The IRP has provided opportunities to more than 400 journalists to report from more than 100 countries and produce award-winning stories.
Elizabeth and I will be two of nine new media journalist fellows heading for a two-week trip to Ethiopia to report on Ethiopia’s efforts to prevent newborn deaths as well as provide an overview of maternal and child health, immunizations, nutrition, communicable diseases, and health care provision, among other topics.
One of the areas that I am most excited to learn about is how Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in Africa, has stunned the world community by achieving Millennium Development Goal number #4 reducing the mortality rates of children under age 5 by two-thirds well ahead of the 2015 deadline.
In a country in which 95% of the population lives outside of an urban center in rural, remote and hard to reach areas and a shocking 90% of women birth at home without a midwife, Frontline Health Care Workers (FHCW) have been the key ingredient to Ethiopia’s success. I am really excited to meet some of these workers and mothers and share their stories. I am sure it will be a life-changing experience.
While in Ethiopia, I will examine Ethiopia’s political, historical, socio-economic and cultural dynamics to report on this misunderstood country, setting the stage to shed light on the massive effort introduced by the Ethiopian government to achieve MDG4 and what the impact has been on other critical areas such as newborn and maternal health, poverty, and other Millennium Development Goals.
Elizabeth is looking forward to seeing first hand and reporting on maternal and newborn health issues, and solutions in Ethiopia that she has previously only written about. There is great optimism coming out of Ethiopia these days and with the success of decreased maternal and child mortality, the next frontier to conquer is survival of newborns. More than half of the child deaths that do still occur take place in that first year of life, the first 24 hours being most critical. Newborn survival is closely tied to maternal health so issues around safe birth and postpartum care, and addressing uncomfortable issues such as fistula are topics she also hopes to report on.
As one of the most diverse populations in the world with over 83 distinct languages and 200 dialects, Ethiopia shares a unique history, society, culture, environment, economy and governance that is unlike her neighbors. We are honored to have been selected as new media reporting fellows for this trip to Ethiopia, and look forward to sharing our newfound knowledge with you during our upcoming trip.
We would love for you to follow along our journey at #EthiopiaNewborns !
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom.