Tuesday, November 22, 2011

FWD Contest

You might remember FWD Day. Through social media, the day brought 117 million forwards of the online campaign to raise awareness on the famine crisis in the Horn of Africa. Now you have a chance to deepen this impact with your own ideas for the Famine, War, and Drought campaign.

In collaboration with USAID, GOOD and the Ad Council, the contest encourages Americans to submit ideas for raising awareness of the crisis in the Horn of Africa. The individual or group that submits the winning idea will be awarded $5,000 from GOOD to implement the proposal. 

Proposals can be submitted between now and December 2nd at 12noon PST at http://fwd.maker.good.is. Americans will be able to vote on which proposal should be implemented.  USAID and the Ad Council will feature the winning project on their digital and social media networks.

You can view submitted proposals here: http://fwd.maker.good.is/projects

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Visualize: Learning out of poverty

November 13 - 18, 2011 marks International Education Week. As the State Department celebrates the many advantages studying abroad brings to American students, we should also not forget that access to education is still out of reach to many.

Source: USAID

Friday, October 14, 2011

Visualize: The 25 worst countries for child marriage

Last month, The Elders announced their initiative to fight against child marriage. Girl brides are a pervasive problem in the developing world, where every 3 seconds a girl under the age of 18 are married. Here are some of the worst offenders:

Source: TrustLaw

Sunday, September 25, 2011

FYI: Vaccine-preventable diseases

Last week at the Social Good Summit, there were many panels devoted to women-centric issues: Christy Turlington spoke about reducing deaths in women due to childbirth and news anchor Juju Chang covered maternal health in the developing world. In many of these sessions, the story wasn't just a strengthened focus on women issues but also putting women in the seat of the activist, especially moms. Nonprofits are now targeting mothers in America  as a key activist group to impact women and children in the developing world.

An organization that is aiming to utilize this power of mothers' voices is Shot@Life. Launched by the UN Foundation at last week's Social Good Summit, the campaign aims to create awareness on vaccine-preventable diseases and provide children vaccines where they are needed the most. Part of the problem is that many developing nations need to strengthen their health systems to properly store and administer vaccines. The numbers are grim (see below) but expanding access to vaccines can prevent an additional 1.7 million deaths each year.

The numbers:
  • Every 20 seconds a child dies to a vaccine-preventable disease.
  • 1 in 5 children do not have access to life saving vaccines. 
  • Around 1.7 million children in developing countries die each year of a preventable disease like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, and polio.
  • Measles is still a killer with  an estimated 450 people dying to the disease each day.
  • Though polio is almost near eradication, it still remains endemic in four countries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. There has been a resurgence of polio in other countries, such as Angola, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in children. More than half a million children under age five die as a result of rotavirus each year.  Approximately 2 million more become severely ill.
  • Access to vaccines is particularly problematic in some countries:  75% of non-vaccinated children live in just 10 countries -  India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Uganda, Chad, and Kenya. 
Watch the full panel discussion from Social Good Summit:

    Watch live streaming video from mashable at livestream.com

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Social Good Summit: Day 3 Recap

    Day 3 of the Social Good Summit was marked with inspirational words from noted personalities. The day began with the presentation of the Social Good Award to the much deserved President Kikwete of Tanzania. Kikwete has championed social media in his country to create awareness on health issues, including maternal health. "We want to get to a point where not a single woman will die from childbirth," he said. 

    "Social media is taking over the medium of communication all over the world." Tobeka Zuma, First Lady of South Africa
    In a light-hearted but informative session, two First Ladies joined the stage to talk about the power of Twitter. Tobeka Zuma, First Lady of South Africa, and Dr. Ida Odinga, First Lady of Kenya, both alluded to how social media has helped spread awareness about health issues in their respective countries. "Social media helps to network, inform, and educate," Odinga said. The session ended with both ladies tweeting for the first time on the stage on smart phones.

    "I made the choice to work for the poor," Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank
    One of the most inspirational sessions of the Summit was with the father of micro-finance, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, who spoke about the "social business way." This entails starting a business that not only creates profit for the entrepreneur but solves a particular social issue. For example, "you can design a business with the sole purpose of creating jobs for young people," he said. "Pick up one problem that bothers you, refine it, and find a business solution for it," he asked of the audience.

    Yunus also commented on the technology-savvy younger generations. "They have all this power at their disposal but don't know what to do with it. In 10 to 20 years time, all this power will be at our disposal. The question is what do you use this power for." He ended his session with advice for younger generations on starting their own business: "The first thing to learn as an entrepreneur is patience. I have never seen failure as a separate issue. It's part of the process. You fail. You overcome."

    "I fed the entire neighborhood using only the power of the sun." Chef Jose Andres
    FYI: Smoke inhalation from cooking is the fifth largest killer in the developing world. Around 3 billion people around the world are still using methods to cook food that exposes people to harmful smoke. Chef Jose Andres, Ambassador to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, is not only passionate about food but also about using food to solve some of the world's problems, including clean cookstoves. "Food is the most important energy on the earth, not gas. Food should be at the heart of energy talks," he said. Andres advocated for solar cookstoves, which would reduce the loss of trees and protect the soil and farming.

    "Let girl be girls and not brides." Archbishop Desmond Tutu
    A moving session with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson was one of the highlights of the day. Both personalities make up The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who lend their name, voice, and expertise to pressing social issues. The group, founded by Nelson Mandela, have launched a campaign to address child-bride marriages called Girls Not Brides. Ten million girls under the age of 18 are married. This translates to 25,000 girls getting married every day. In order to be successful, the campaign needs to target cultural and religious traditions. "One of the issues that causes girls to feel like a second class citizen is a misuse of religious tradition," Robinson said. "We can end child marriage in a generation and we couldn't have 10 years ago without the technology we have now," she added.

    Tutu also spent some time chatting on hope. "I'm not an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope," he said. "How often over the span of history that good prevails. Even when the stakes are high against us, in the end good wins." And Tutu believes that the younger generation shares in this hope: "I’m glad to see what young people can do. They blow my mind. I’m amazed at how idealistic they are. They believe that poverty can in fact become history." The Archbishop even said that young people are "awesome" and "have oomph!"