WORLD VOICE: NovaVeil Introduces Fashion To protect Against Zika

WORLD VOICE: NovaVeil Introduces Fashion To protect Against Zika

 

Three heartbreaking stories of families impacted by the Zika virus were highlighted this week in a Sunday New York Times article.  Although last year’s Zika crisis is no longer making regular headlines, the World Health Organization now considers Zika a continuing health threat along the lines of Malaria or Yellow Fever.  As the babies infected by Zika are getting older new challenges are arising for families, and new babies infected by the virus are still being born. Despite a vaccine in development, pregnant women in at risk areas have to live with the daily fear of exposing their unborn child to the virus.  The founders of Maternova, a company that specializes in women’s health solutions, Meg Wirth and Allison Cote, realized that the world could not just sit around and wait for a vaccine to be developed.  A process that, if successful, can sometimes still take years to get to the public.  Women and babies are most directly impacted by the consequences of the virus, and with nothing on the market  to help women to continue to live their daily lives, a viable everyday solution was needed.

“We realized with the increasing threat of Zika becoming an epidemic in South America and then entering the United States, that this was something that had direct dire consequences for pregnant women and their babies, and there wasn’t anything on the market that proved to be viable and be used everyday in order for these women to protect themselves.”

– Allyson Cote, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Maternova

The duo enlisted Alessandra Gold, a Brazilian-born, Miami-based award-winning designer to create a four piece capsule collection of mosquito repellent, yet fashionable, maternity clothing that women could wear every day. The idea was that the clothing would help to do during the day what mosquito netting does at night. Using a non-permethrin nano-technology patented in Europe the textile used in the garments has repellent embedded into it on a molecular level.

The NovaVeil collection features a dress, a cardigan with a hood, a scarf, and leggings, all designed to be comfortably worn in warm climates. Not only do the garments provide protection from the Zika virus but from other insect born illnesses such as Malaria, Dengue, and lyme disease. The goal was to appeal to and be able to reach women across the economic spectrum, so sales of NovaVeil garments in high end areas will help to subsidizes providing garments in lower income areas. It turns out that the cost per wear of the clothing, which remains effective through 50 wash cycles (and when tested was still 60% effective after 90 washes) will be less expensive than it would be to apply insect repellent every day. It is also better for the woman’s health, and for the environment.

“There is a massive amount of literature on bed nets and protecting women and families at nighttime from Malaria, but there was very little out there about protection during the daytime. In part that’s because this is a brand new technology.”

– Meg Wirth, Co-Founder of Maternova

Maternova partnered with Americares early on by adding a NovaVeil maternity top to anti-Zika mother kits they were already giving to their pregnant patients at a health clinic in El Salvador. The kits also contained condoms, bed nets, skin based repellent, and a water purification method. It is not surprising that a fast acting every-day solution in response to the Zika crisis that puts mothers and babies first would come from a social enterprise owned and run by women. The goal is to continue to offer the NovaVeil line at either no cost or low cost to distribution partners in Latin America in hopes of protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable women, while widening distribution so that pregnant women everywhere can feel safe from the threat of Zika in their everyday lives.

This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay for World Moms network.

Elizabeth Atalay

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.

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WORLD VOICE: Exploring the (he)ART of Haiti

“Dye mon, gen mon.”

I drew in my breath with awe as the beauty of the verdant mountain range came into view. We had Emerged from the congested streets of Port-au-Prince where we watched fathers precariously navigate the heavy traffic holding the tiny hands of their little girls in school uniforms and hair-bows. Street side sellers had perched water or dried plantains atop their heads as they skillfully wove through the crowd. The street art that brightened cement walls was half covered by myriad posters for presidential candidates. Heading out of the city we’d passed glimpses of the ocean peeking through breaks in the tree line or the walls, and then the view opened up to the majestic green mountains undulating off into the distance as far as we could see. Having read that Haiti has the highest deforestation rate of any country in the world with only 2% of it’s original forests remaining, it was greener than I had expected. During my week in Haiti I came to a deeper understanding of the Haitian proverb I had heard , “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, but this was my first literal interpretation. The mountains beyond mountains of this gorgeous view.

We came to Haiti to visit artisans with the Artisan Business Network who create products for the Heart of Haiti line of goods sold on-line and in Macy’s stores in America. Heart of Haiti began it’s partnership with the Artisan Business Network after the 2010 earthquake to aid in economic recovery by providing sustainable jobs and a market for the rich arts culture of the country. Art is everywhere you turn, from the walls of Port-au-Prince lined with steel art and hung with paintings,  graffiti decorated buildings, to the colorful TapTap buses. Each region seems to have a creative specialty and our tour took us to several areas where we were able to watch the artisans at work, and follow their process of creation from start to finish.

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Jacmel

The coastal town of Jacmel is known for it’s arts and charm. Mosaics like the stairs pictured above decorate public areas and historic French architectural influence reminded me of New Orleans. There we visited Paper Mache artists who demonstrated their craft using recycled materials such as discarded cement bags and layers of cardboard boxes which they seemed to magically transform into gorgeous works of art.

Paper Mache heart ornaments

Paper Mache heart ornaments

We met the women of the PWOFAPLAS  soapmaking collective in Mirebalais, who banded together to use their creativity to generate economic opportunities for themselves in an area without many options for women.

making soap

Making soap

In Leogane, which was the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake, we visited the river where soapstone is sourced. We then watched as the Heart of Haiti soapstone carvers transformed the rough rocks by hand-carving them into smooth hearts and bowls.

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Carving soapstone

Carving soapstone

In Croix des Bouquets we were shown how a repurposed steel metal drum was cut, flattened, and worked into a delicately carved metal tray, christmas ornaments or wall art.

Every new area we visited exposed us to a new craft, but the ingenuity was pervasive throughout each art form. The goods created and sold provide economic empowerment through sustainable incomes enabling the artisans to provide for their families and send their children to school. It is inspiring to see that many of them are also teaching the next generation their craft.

Just a few weeks prior to our visit Hurricane Matthew, the strongest hurricane to hit Haiti in fifty years, had barreled down with 145 mile an hour winds.  An estimated 1,000 lives were lost, regions destroyed, homes, livestock, and crops all gone. The rainy season has continued to flood areas affected by Hurricane Matthew, and I realized why the mountains were looking so lush and green at the moment. In Camp Perrin we visited Artisan Business Network embroiderers who were greatly impacted by the hurricane. The damage became increasingly clear as we neared the town and artists we visited had lost roofing and a season’s worth of embroidery work in the storm. When we arrived the artisans we met were eager to get back to work and busy rebuilding their lives, and their homes.

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The Macy’s Heart of Haiti program currently employs 550 artisans, and by extension positively impacts the lives of their families. It is important to know that when you purchase their art and their work you are truly making an impact in the lives of the artisans and their families.

I feel incredibly grateful to have gotten a glimpse into the creative heartbeat of Haiti. It is tough for me to encapsulate the range of emotions upon visiting for the first time. It is such a tenuous time of political and economic uncertainty, compounded by natural disaster, yet seeing firsthand the raw beauty of this country, the richness in creativity and spirit of it’s people, and their passion for their homeland despite it’s flaws, I have to say I kind of fell in love. The proverb “Dye mon, gen mon.”, “Mountains Beyond Mountains” speaks to the peaks and valleys sure to come with life in Haiti, but really could work to some extreme for all of us, no matter where in the world we live.

Jalousie

Have you been to Haiti?

This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Elizabeth Atalay.

Photo Credits: Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay

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.

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WORLD VOICE: International Day of the Girl

WORLD VOICE: International Day of the Girl

Photo by Michelle Amarante

Today we celebrate girls around the world for International Day of the Girl. In 2012 the U.N. declared October 11th as The International Day of The Girl.  In 2016 Girls and women are still dispropotionately  facing discrimination, oppression, and subjugation around the world but a shift is underway.  With girls and women figured prominently into the Sustainable Development Goals as SDG 5, Gender Equality, the world seems to be waking up to the fact that  it is a problem to leave half the population behind. To educate a girl, is to educate a community,   when girls are excluded from the education process, a nation is cheated out of half of its full potential.

“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.” – United Nations

Here are some facts from the UN:

  • About two thirds of countries in the developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education
  • In Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2012, the enrolment ratios were the same for girls as for boys.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.
  • Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. The proportion of women in paid employment outside the agriculture sector has increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to 41 per cent in 2015
  • In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 per cent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber.

Only with equality can a community truly rise to its full potential. Girl are our future, and today we celebrate all girls around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos:  Elizabeth Atalay

This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay for World Moms Blog.

How do you celebrate girls around the world?

Elizabeth Atalay

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.

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WORLD VOICE: The Breast Nutrition

WORLD VOICE: The Breast Nutrition

As parents we can not protect our children from the whole world around us, though we often wish we could. There are some things that we can do to produce the best possible outcome for our children. The first week of August has been designated as World Breastfeeding Week,  finally breasts are getting the global attention they deserve for all the right reasons.  Breastfeeding is being recognized as an important building block to the global Sustainable Development Goals. Having spent nearly a decade either pregnant or breastfeeding my own four kids, I feel like an unofficial ambassador.

My personal commitment to nursing our babies all began with a trip to Turkey. Our first baby was going to be six months old when we would be traveling and with all of the accessories needed for travel with an infant I was feeling overwhelmed. I realized the easiest way to streamline feeding would be to continue to exclusively breastfeed until we returned home. In that way we were able to skip bottles that needed to be sanitized, glass jars of babyfood, and the quest for clean water on the go. The experience taught me how portable babies can be, and the ease that breastfeeding provided in being able to feed them whenever and wherever I needed. Recent research, which inspired  the declaration of World Breastfeeding Week, has highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding beyond the convenience. Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life has been shown to reduce the occurrence of ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory problems in infants, and may even help to prevent obesity in later years. In 2011 the Surgeon General created a call to action to support breastfeeding resulting in the month of August being declared National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

The First Thousand Days: A Crucial Time For Mothers and Children- and the World by Roger Thurow  focuses on the importance of proper nutrition during the time period when a baby’s brain develops most rapidly, the 1,000 days  from conception to the age of two years old. This is when the first breastmilk is so important because it contains colostrum which is rich in antibodies that boosts the newborn immune system.  Breastmilk has been shown to contain all of the essential nutrients necessary to support a baby’s rapid development and in the book the American Academy of Pediatrics is quoted in 2012 as proclaiming:

“given the documented short and longterm medical and neuro-developmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue not only a lifestyle choice.”

-AAP

Breastfeeding on our travels kept our baby healthy throughout, but as we know we only have so much control.  The 7.6 earthquake that hit on our second night in Turkey was a stark reminder of such.  The next morning I thought of all the mothers who had crouched on their beds shielding their babies as I had while the earth shook, feeling the same fear, but who had not been as fortunate to survive.  We can not always protect our children from everything, but by raising awareness with World Breastfeeding Week mothers will know that by initiating  breastfeeding within the first couple of hours after birth a newborn baby is given the best possible start in life.

 

This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Elizabeth Atalay.

Did you find that you had support to breastfeed your baby?

Elizabeth Atalay

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.

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WORLD VOICE: Moms + Social Good Recap 2016 (Updated)

WORLD VOICE: Moms + Social Good Recap 2016 (Updated)

World Moms Elizabeth Atalay, Tes Silverman and Founder Jennifer Burden met up at the 4th annual Moms + Social Good conference last Thursday at the New York Times Center in New York City.  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, 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.

We were impacted by the Save The Children special report this year. Save The Children usually conducts a State of the World’s Mother’s Report released around U.S. Mother’s Day. 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 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.

One of the highlights of the day was World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden’s, interview with Save The Children CEO Carolyn Miles about the report. (More to come on the blog about the interview!)

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

Three years ago at Moms + Social Good we met Gene Gurkoff, Founder and CEO of Charity Miles, an app that lets you donate to the charity of your choice when you work out. We’ve been doing Charity Miles ever since while watching his company grow to do more and more good in the world each year.

Also, we tracked down the US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power after her panel on how they are 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 our contributor, Aisha Yesufu, at the sit in. We were so excited to tell her about our 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.

 

And here is Ambassador Power weeks earlier in Abuja Nigeria with our World Mom, Aisha Yesufu! 

2016 Aisha Yesufu and Ambassador Power 600

As our good friend Ilina Ewen said on her panel, From local to global challenges: Focus on the whole child, “The sisterhood of motherhood is universal.” This is something we know and feel every day at World Moms Blog.

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This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our Managing Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of the USA. It was updated at 11:36am EDT on May 10th, 2016. 

Photo credits to the author. 

Photo credit of Aisha and Ambassador Power to Aisha Yesufu.

Elizabeth Atalay

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.

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