Maximize Traveling for Good While Minimizing Your Footprint

There is a lot of need in the world and it takes a special person who willingly gets on a plane to aid communities that can use a helping hand from added resources (monetary and otherwise) to expertise, to volunteering. While traveling for good is on the proverbial bucket list for many, more thought should go into how simply being present in indigenous communities sometimes leaves unintentional impressions, ecological footprints, as well as unfair travel practices.

Luckily, there are more NGOs, social enterprises, and businesses that are taking better tourism practices into consideration and incorporating them into their volunteering and travel opportunities. One such NGO that is doing this is United for Hope that works in India. United for Hope is an NGO with the mission to transform rural India into a place of opportunity and prosperity through a Smart Village approach.

United for Hope launched their model Smart Village in Tirmasahun, in the District of Kushinagar, in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, and are currently running several projects in the areas of education, social enterprises (including social tourism) and community services.


One of the latest additions to their education projects is menstrual hygiene awareness and gender sensitivity workshops, targeting both girls and boys in 100 Government Schools in the area where they operate.

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Despite Differences in Culture, US and India Fall Short in Childbirth in Similar Ways

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Woman in labor, shown with monitors. 

Neel Shah, Harvard Medical School

After eight years of practicing obstetrics and researching childbirth in the United States, I know as well as anyone that the American maternal health system could be better. Our way of childbirth is the costliest in the world. Our health outcomes, from mortality rates to birth weights, are far, far from the best.

The reasons we fall short are not obvious. In medicine, providing more care is often mistaken for providing better care. In childbirth the relationship between more and better is complicated. Texan obstetricians, when compared to their counterparts in neighboring New Mexico, are 50% more likely to intervene on the baby’s behalf by performing a cesarean section. Nonetheless, Texas babies still have a lower survival rate than New Mexican babies.

I long assumed that our most puzzling American health care failures were idiosyncrasies–unique consequences of American culture, geography, and politics. But a trip to India for the 2017 Human Rights in Childbirth meeting led me to a humbling realization: when it comes to childbirth, both countries fall short in surprisingly similar ways.

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Neel Shah, center, pictured with Jishnu Das, a Lead Economist at the World Bank and Leslie Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives. Neel Shah, Author provided

Human rights in childbirth

I take care of patients in at a well-funded teaching hospital in Boston, where pregnant women seem well-respected and have clear, inviolable rights.

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Our Instagram Takeover With the Liya Kebede Foundation

Last week we partnered with the Liya Kebede Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that supports safe motherhood initiatives, on an Instagram takeover to discuss maternal health in India. I was delighted to share photos from Delhi where I saw Save the Children’s maternal health work in one of Delhi’s slums, Okhla.

Below see the photos and facts about maternal health in India.

https://twitter.com/LKFound/status/648524536804208640

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Kicking Off World Health Worker Week Through Photos and Stories #WHWWeek

To kick off World Health Worker Week (April 5 – 11) we are sharing photos and stories of some of the health workers we’ve met around the world over the years who work tirelessly to keep women, children, and families healthy and most importantly alive.

In the sub-Saharan and Asian countries where we have met these health workers, many of the ailments they treat every day can cause severe illness in their patients and even death. That is why it is important to not only provide the much-needed resources and support health workers need to do their jobs effectively and train many more health workers, it’s also important to thank them for the work they do. That is why World Health Worker Week was started — to celebrate health workers, but also to acknowledge the challenges they face every day and help rally the world’s global health community, civil society, and governments to fix those health worker challenges.

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Photos: Why World Toilet Day Matters

The first time I saw open defecation was in a slum in Delhi. I was taken aback. I had always heard about open defecation, but until that point I had never seen it and couldn’t imagine it happening in an overly crowded urban area. It was also at that moment that I knew I had to learn as much as possible about the ways in which people use the bathroom, if they have one at all.

2.5 billion people lack improved sanitation and 1 billion people do not have access to a bathroom and must resort to the undignified practice of open defecation. There are 7 billion people on the planet.

Women who must defecate in the open and who also have to use the community toilets are at increased risk of violence and rape.

When I visit communities and families in low-income countries I always look for toilets and latrines to see the conditions in which people relieve themselves. Below are some photos of toilets I took in India, Ethiopia, Philippines, and South Africa.

Learn more about World Toilet Day at www.unwater.org/worldtoiletday.

Latrine - South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa

Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa

Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa

Continue reading “Photos: Why World Toilet Day Matters”

India Launches Massive Scale-Up of Pentavalent Vaccine

This month begins a massive scale-up of Pentavalent vaccine for India’s children. With the largest rate of child mortality in the world, this new, national immunization effort will help reduce the number of child deaths in India. The Pentavalent vaccine combines diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) with hepatitis B (hepB) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Haemophilus influenzae type b kills 72,000 Indian children each year. Currently there are 6.8 million unimmunized children in … Continue reading India Launches Massive Scale-Up of Pentavalent Vaccine

Human Rights Watch Explores the Lives of Indian Women Who Clean Human Waste

Lalibai stands by the entrance to the village cremation grounds. Before she took action, villagers had forbidden members of her community to cremate their dead here. © 2014 Digvijay Singh Can you imagine getting up every morning to clean human waste from dry toilets (those without running water or that are not attached to a septic system) day after day without pay? And, while the … Continue reading Human Rights Watch Explores the Lives of Indian Women Who Clean Human Waste

How One Philanthropist is Changing Lives for India’s Women and Girls – Part II

By Indrani Goradia, founder of Wajood, a partnership between Indrani’s Light Foundation and PSI Yesterday we published How One Philanthropist is Changing Lives for India’s Women and Girls. Today we’re publishing part two of the piece. In this continuation, Indrani Goradia tells the stories of three women she met during her most recent trip to India to launch Wajood, a partnership between her organization, Indrani’s … Continue reading How One Philanthropist is Changing Lives for India’s Women and Girls – Part II

How One Philanthropist is Changing Lives for India’s Women and Girls

By Marshall Stowell, Editor-in-Chief, Impact magazine It’s been just over a week since philanthropist and advocate Indrani Goradia landed in India. She’s been many times before, her husband’s family is Indian and she is from Trinidad and Tobago, of Indian descent. But this is a different trip and fifty-plus years in the making. Not long ago, gender-based violence was viewed as a private, domestic affair. … Continue reading How One Philanthropist is Changing Lives for India’s Women and Girls

[Photos] Motherhood in Tanzania #IRPTZ

Dar es Saalam, Tanzania – Throughout my travels in Tanzania for the past ten days every time I saw a mother and her baby I smiled inside. And I was even more happy to see mothers breastfeeding their babies as breastfeeding has been proven to be a key intervention to keep more children under the age of five alive in developing countries. Tanzania, unfortunately, is … Continue reading [Photos] Motherhood in Tanzania #IRPTZ

Meeting Frontline Health Workers in Delhi

We met them in a perfect spot under a shade tree on a blazing hot morning with temperatures reaching well above 100 degrees even before most headed out for the day. When we arrived at the Okhla community courtyard the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) and Anganwadi health workers had already patiently waited for us with purses on laps and hands crossed talking quietly amongst … Continue reading Meeting Frontline Health Workers in Delhi

Maternal and General Healthcare in India

As we sat with an expecting mothers’ group in Okhla slum in south Delhi with Save the Children India we learned that the government provides a countrywide incentive program for women to deliver their babies in a hospital as opposed to delivering at home. While monetary payment to give birth in an institution would help many poor Indian families particularly those who are migrant workers … Continue reading Maternal and General Healthcare in India

Announcing: New Insight Trip for Summer 2013

I am pleased to announce Mom Bloggers for Social Good’s second insight trip! It is slated for this summer with Elizabeth Atalay (documama.org), blogger, Social Good Mom, and member of the Global Team of 200. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. Our first insight trip to Delhi, India just wrapped with Nicole Melancon, also a Social Good Mom and member of the … Continue reading Announcing: New Insight Trip for Summer 2013

Update on Our First Insight Trip to India

Last week I was in India with Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom. We kept up with all of our photos, videos, and posts on a frequently-updated Tumblr, SocialGoodMomsIndia.tumblr.com. We will continue to update the microsite with more multimedia from our visits with Protsahan, Pratham India, Save the Children and WaterAid. Above is our visit to … Continue reading Update on Our First Insight Trip to India

The Importance of Education for Girls

Much of yesterday’s Women Deliver 2013 conversation centered around education for girls. Without at least a primary education girls in poor and middle income countries cannot properly contribute to their country’s economy nor to their household. Girls who are fortunate to prolong marriage are able to attend school longer than if they are married away by their family. Being married off instead of staying in school … Continue reading The Importance of Education for Girls