How World Vision Promotes Breastfeeding in the Philippines

I am always happy when World Breastfeeding Week rolls around each year. It gives me a chance to hear about the latest programs that are working around the world to increase breastfeeding rates. This year I learned about how World Vision is promoting breastfeeding in the Philippines through its 7-11 Core Intervention Framework which includes 7 interventions for women and 11 for children 0 – 24 months of age.

The way in which we discuss breastfeeding is different depending on the country and the context. While in the United States we talk a lot about infant feeding choices, in other countries, especially those that have thousands upon thousands of yearly infant deaths caused by diarrheal diseases, infections, and sub-optimal feeding, the context changes. In these cases, it is nearly always critical that mothers breastfeed their children up to two years of age.

In the Philippines, parents spend $240 million on breast milk substitutes and multinational formula feeding companies spend $100 million on marketing in the Philippines alone. Those numbers account for the fact that only 34% of infants under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed. While providing the best start in life for infants, many mothers are convinced that formula is better and easier for their lifestyles. But, often times women in low-and-middle-income countries like the Philippines do not always have access to clean water for formula. Dirty water can cause deadly diarrheal diseases that kill infants.

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PHOTOS: Women and Water in the Philippines

Across the globe 748 million people still lack access to clean drinking water every day. Dirty water leads to a whole host of waterborne diseases including diarrhea, one of the top three killers of children under the age of five. One of the main challenges that NGOs face when providing clean water to people is that there is rarely a guarantee that when clean water is provided to a village or community it will continue to flow.

World Vision is the largest NGO provider of clean water in low- and middle-income countries. In fact, in 2014, World Vision provided clean drinking water to people in 2,416 villages in Africa. And, because of their work, one person gets access to clean water every 30  seconds.

On a recent trip to the Philippines with World Vision USA I saw some of their water projects in small, rural villages.  AfterTyphoon Haiyan World Vision worked to get clean water flowing  via gravity from springs to villages at the base of mountains. In addition to providing water to the villages, World Vision also provides community awareness programs to also teach the community members about sanitation.

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New homes recreate shattered lives in the Philippines

This post was originally published on the World Vision USA blog.

At everyone’s most basic level, we all want somewhere to lay our head every night. Filipinos living in the path of last year’s Typhoon Haiyan’s early morning storm surge and over 300km/hour winds lost everything within a 30-minute span, including their homes, and many, sadly, lost loved ones.

Those tracking the storm before it hit on November 8, 2013 projected that Typhoon Haiyan would reach the islands by 9 AM, but it sped up and reached landfall around 5 AM, just as everyone was sleeping. No one knew Haiyan would be as powerful as it was.

New homes recreate shattered lives | World Vision Blog
Photo: Jeana Shandraw/SurfandSunshine.com

After the storm, entire families were relegated to living in tents until temporary shelter kits could be delivered. Some live in makeshift and patchwork homes built from scraps even today, and some still do not have homes to call their own a year after Haiyan. And yet, there are some families who have been given the keys to a new home, one that was creatively designed to withstand high winds, rain, and – yes – even typhoons.

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Why We’re Headed to the Philippines With World Vision USA

On November 8, the world will recognize the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, the superstorm that devastated much of the Philippines and claimed 6,300 lives. 1000 people are still reported missing.

It’s difficult to believe that it has already been a year since we were stunned by the horrific photos that raced across the wires of bloated bodies lining the streets, people sitting listless in the middle of rubble, and a huge ship in the middle of Tacloban City. While Haiyan is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines, the 7100 islands country experiences 19 typhoons every year.

Next Monday I will head to the Philippines along with Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member Jeana Shandraw with our partner  World Vision USA to see their recovery work on the ground since Haiyan hit the islands last year. We will see devastated areas that are a part of a “no build’ zone, community savings groups that have helped families rebuild, child trafficking protection programs funded by USAID, health centers, and area development programs. On November 8 we will attend a one-year anniversary vigil.

World Vision distributes food and hygiene kits to families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Bantigui, Ormoc, on 26 November 2013
World Vision distributes food and hygiene kits to families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Bantigui, Ormoc, on 26 November 2013

If you follow my work you know I travel often to see NGOs work on the ground. This will be my first time traveling with and seeing World Vision’s work and am interested to report on its recovery efforts in the Philippines.  To date, World Vision has reached 760,000 people with a goal of reaching 1 million beneficiaries. World Vision has also provided 51,000 temporary shelter kits and is working with the government to ensure homes are built in safer areas among a long list of recovery services it provides.

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From Boots to Baby Brands: 7 Gifts That Give Back With Every Purchase

There is never a bad time to give gifts especially when those gifts give back with every purchase. Here are seven products from boots to baby and kids’ brands and more that have an added component of social good. These companies give back to nonprofits that help kids and even honeybees.

ROMA BOOTS

Price: $12.99-$118

ROMA Boots was founded on fashion and philanthropy to give back to children in need. For every pair of boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need. Their mission is to bring impoverished children hope, love, and lasting change throughout the world through aid and education. Their next mission is to donate 100,000 boots to Ukrainian refugees in 2022 as part of their humanitarian initiative. Their next mission is to donate 100,000 boots to Ukrainian refugees in 2022 as part of their humanitarian initiative. Combining cutting-edge design to create durable rain boots, retail fashion merged with humanitarian efforts to build a charity-based brand that gives back. Available in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes, they range from various styles and fun patterns fit for everyone. Let’s empower impoverished children worldwide to break out of the cycle of poverty and contribute their gifts and talents to society. 

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Jewelry That Gives Back to Oceans

I have been a bit obsessed lately with two Instagram accounts that I absolutely love: @paulnicklen and @Mitty. Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier respectively are prolific underwater photographers and founders of Seal Legacy, an organization committed to creating healthy and abundant oceans for us and the planet.

It’s funny: As much as I love the oceans I don’t really visit them often. Sure, I fly over them often and at long stretches and I take photos of the ocean from a distance like the one above that I took in the Philippines, but I never get up close and personal to the ocean. I would like to change that one day. In the meantime, I live vicariously through Nicklen and Mittermeier. Also, as I sat looking at their work I wondered how I can help the oceans in my own little way and you can, too. Here are jewelry companies that have beautiful bling while also giving back to oceans, ocean clean-ups, reefs, and ocean life.

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World Vision Now Puts Child Sponsorship Into the Rightful Hands of Children

World Vision USA has embarked on a new twist on child sponsorship that is absolutely delightful. Traditionally how child sponsorship works is sponsors pick photos of children who live in poverty and need assistance. But now children get to choose their sponsors giving them a sense of empowerment and becoming a full part of the process.

World Vision USA started their Chosen program in Kenya and documented it in the beautiful video below. In fact, you can be a part of Chosen by signing up to be a child sponsor (it starts at $39 per month) and then uploading your photo. You can also be chosen by a child. Then your monthly donation is put into community programs for children. Sign up by October 6.

I enjoy seeing World Vision’s work in the Philippines when I traveled with them in 2016 and also love the new innovative they are now working with children. In fact, they are in Ecuador with their Chosen program. It’s awesome to watch.

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5 Ways to Help Provide Clean Water During World Water Week

The United Nations doesn’t mince words when it says that water scarcity is one of the world’s biggest challenges. If measurable changes do not happen, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed countries by 2025.

I have seen how water scarcity is already a mainstay for families in rural Africa and southeast Asia. Even here in the United States we know that Americans experience water scarcity in places such as Flint, Michigan and California. And lest we forget, we also need to make sure our oceans are free of plastics and pollutants.

Here are five organizations where you can donate this final day of World Water Week.

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Women Celebrated on This Year’s World Humanitarian Day #WomenHumanitarians

Today is World Humanitarian Day, the annual day where we celebrate humanitarians all over the world who work every day to save lives even in some of the world’s most dangerous countries. This year the world is celebrating women humanitarians as often they are on the front lines in our world’s worst crises.

We know that it can be especially harrowing to be an aid worker in countries like Syria, Yemen, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. We appreciate all of their efforts to continue to work even in dangerous circumstances. Read 24 hours of stories of women front line humanitarians on worldhumanitarianday.org.

Today, I would like to celebrate an aid worker I met in the Philippines when I traveled with World Vision USA to see their life-saving work after the devastating typhoon, Haiyan. Her name is Mai Zamora and she left an indelible impression on me. She was always upbeat despite the number of families who were in need of everything from food and jobs to housing and clothing. And, she was always available for questions and has personal stories about how she fared during the typhoon. When I met her, she was the definition of an aid worker to me along with her colleagues who are still doing amazing work in the Philippines and around the world.

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Is the Formula Industry Overpowering Breastfeeding?

Yesterday global women’s and children’s advocates sounded the alarm regarding alleged strong-arming by US delegates at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.  The issue at hand was the rights of women regarding their choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding.

According to the New York Times, the US delegation sought to remove the language in a pro-breastfeeding resolution that compelled countries to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” and to remove any restrictions on formula that many global health experts contend is harmful to infants and toddlers.

The US delegation threatened Ecuador (the sponsoring country for the resolution) with devasting trade measures and a reduction in military aid. Ecuador acquiesced as did many more African and Latin American countries until Russia stepped up to sponsor the resolution, a country the US could not threaten.

Lucy M. Sullivan, Executive Director of 1000 Days, tweeted an entire thread about what was happening at the World Health Assembly in May.

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Duracell Distributes $1 Million of Batteries in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Relief

With nearly 84% of Puerto Rico still without power after Hurricane Maria, Duracell has arrived on the island today and will distribute $1 million of batteries as well as charging mobile devices and internet access through its Power Forward initiative. When natural disasters occur Duracell helps to reconnect communities. Puerto Rico will be its largest distribution effort since it launched in 2011. PowerForward will charge mobile devices, … Continue reading Duracell Distributes $1 Million of Batteries in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Relief

2 Innovative Uses of PET Bottles in Low-Income Countries That Benefit Women

PET bottles, one of the most widely used materials in the world, are used to package foods and drinks from soda and juices to salad dressings and cooking oils. It is also completely recyclable. In the United States alone, 1.5 billion pounds of PET bottles are recycled annually.

Throughout my travels to low and middle-income countries I see PET bottles thrown haphazardly in fields and streams clogging waterways and dirtying sidewalks and walking paths. In countries such as Nepal (where I visited last year with Coca-Cola), there are concerted educational efforts by environmentally focused NGOs to change behaviors around discarding PET bottles. There are recycling centers in Nepal, but not enough to completely clean its streets and countryside. It seems to be a sisyphean battle to combat PET bottle waste, but there are some who are using the bottles in innovative ways.

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Double Your Donation Today By Giving to World Vision #GivingTuesday

When I travel to low-income countries I am most interested in learning about and reporting on maternal and newborn health. As a mother of two daughters it is my biggest passion. Today on Giving Tuesday I am proud to work with one of my favorite international nonprofit organizations: World Vision USA. I had the distinct opportunity to travel with them to the Philippines a few years … Continue reading Double Your Donation Today By Giving to World Vision #GivingTuesday

Why We’re Traveling to Nepal With Coca-Cola #NepalNow #5by20

Last year I remember exactly where I was when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. I was on my way to Haiti to report on maternal health, and really good friends of mine from the International Reporting Project had been in Nepal for a very short time on a reporting trip when the quake hit. I remember tweeting them to see if everything was okay. Thankfully they were and wrote amazing, insightful articles from their harrowing experience on the ground. Even though I wasn’t in Nepal, knowing people who were and reported once the quake happened brought the crisis close to home.

The way in which countries respond to disasters varies. One thing is certain: governments cannot shoulder massive disaster relief alone. I learned this once I saw the coordinated one-year disaster relief in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Relief, I’ve learned, is always a combination of public and private partnerships that work in tandem to benefit citizens that have been hardest hit. Sometimes it is not easy and the coordination may be a bit slow-going, but the truth is private companies that have apositive, established footprint in countries with an excellent track record can benefit government and NGO partners with logistics support, private enterprise expertise, and most importantly finances.

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How We Can Help American Children in Poverty Learn

Infographic_21It may sound cliché, but a child’s future deeply rests on their ability to learn and to be educated. It starts early and it doesn’t matter where a child lives whether it’s in Kenya or the Philippines or right here in the United States.

Oftentimes we see children who live in impoverished countries who desperately need books, schools that are close to their homes, and just the simple right to an education and we are compelled to help. In the United States, too, there are also many poor children who long for books and don’t have access to them. In fact one in five American children live in poverty and do not have one book in their home. This is heartbreaking because books really hold the keys to one’s future, creativity, imagination, and ability to be a productive adult.

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