Donate to These 5 Organizations to Help Ukraine

As the Russian military continues to move to take over Ukraine’s largest cities many, some say as high as 870,000, are frantically heading for border countries or are holed up in bomb shelters or in their homes and apartments. Ukraine has said that 2000 civilians have already died since the Russian invasion and long lines at the grocery stores are more common as fears of food and water shortages persist. Sadly, many believe that this is the early stages of the war and that it could last for many months. It’s clear this is the beginning and not the end.

Ukrainians are going to need food, water, and medical supplies for the long haul. Here are five organizations that are already providing aid in Ukraine and across borders.

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Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Is still Under Attack

If you have followed my travels or have read my blog over the years you know that Ethiopia is my favorite country in the world. There is something about the people, the culture, its beauty and the sheer size of the country I love.  Even though I love Ethiopia I have never been under a grand illusion that it is a unified country. There have been mass arrests and killings in Oromia, journalist and freedom fighter imprisonments, and now a civil war with mass atrocities and forced starvation against the people of the Tigray region. In fact, just this week reports of an airstrike on a market near Tigray’s capital Mekele killed at least 64 people and wounded over 100. 

Even as war is still happening in Ethiopia’s northernmost region, its national election officially wrapped on Monday without voting in Tigray, of course. Now, ballots are being tallied across the country with the likelihood that the current prime minister Abiy Ahmend will be reelected.  

Women selling baskets in Hawassa, Ethiopia.
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Why Save the Children Is Uniquely Suited to Help Kids After Hurricane Harvey

I have worked with Save the Children in some capacity for the past five years whether seeing their work around the world, blogging on pro-bono campaigns or partnering as a consultant. That’s why I can personally vouch for the amazing work they do for the most vulnerable children who have experienced psychological trauma from all-too-routine natural and man-made disasters. Many people think Save the Children … Continue reading Why Save the Children Is Uniquely Suited to Help Kids After Hurricane Harvey

5 Organizations to Support During South Sudan’s Famine

In February the United Nations officially declared a famine in South Sudan. What is most disheartening about this most recent famine in the world’s youngest country is it’s largely man-made. Constant infighting among South Sudanese opposition forces and the government makes growing crops nearly impossible. And, the instability in the country continues to drive up food costs. 100,000 people are directly suffering from famine, and … Continue reading 5 Organizations to Support During South Sudan’s Famine

The Troubling Truth About Maternal Mortality in the United States

When everyday Americans think about women dying during childbirth it is probable that their initial thoughts travel directly to Africa where it is quite well known that maternal mortality is rife. Chances are their thoughts never focus on the deaths and near deaths during childbirth that women experience right here in the United States. After all, the overwhelming consensus is that the United States has the best medical care, superior health workers and health system in the world despite some of its inherent challenges. This thinking renders maternal mortality in the US thoroughly inconceivable to many even while data reveal it should not be inconceivable at all. In fact, maternal mortality is on the rise in America having doubled over the past 25 years all while global maternal deaths are steadily declining. Globally, maternal mortality was effectively reduced by 44 percent according to the World Health Organization.

The United States, while not the overall leader in maternal mortality among all countries, it is the leader among all developed nations. The United States ranked number 33 out of 179 countries in Save the Children’s 2015 Mothers’ Index Ranking and 46th in the world due to the rate of women who die from pregnancy and childbirth complications. Compared to other developed countries, the United States’ ranking is abysmal, especially with Norway, Finland, and Iceland ranking in the top three overall. Even countries like Estonia and Belarus, whose GDPs are considerably lower than ours, far outrank America.

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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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Featured Video: Help Your Child Stay Connected During a Disaster

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Did you know that Katrina led to 5,000 reported missing children and it took seven months to connect the last child with her parents? This summer, during the height of the hurricane season Save the Children wants parents and their children to be prepared should disaster strike again. Save the Children is imploring parents to make … Continue reading Featured Video: Help Your Child Stay Connected During a Disaster

Community of Volunteers Creates 3D-Printed Prosthetic Hands for Children

At last month’s IntraHealth International SwitchPoint conference I had the opportunity to put together a 3D-printed hand with e-Nable, a global community collaborating to make free 3d-printed prosthetic hands available to all who need them.

The hand wasn’t easy to put together and I got nowhere close to finishing, but I learned that through a little ingenuity and modern technology even prosthetic hands can be created and customized for those who don’t have one.

The hands all start with a 3D-printed mobile and are put together by strings and screws by volunteers. The hands are intended for children and adults who have who have wrists but no fingers or elbows with no wrists/hands.

e-Nable Hand
Pieces of a 3D-printed hand. Photo: Jennifer James

The hands are meant to do some everyday tasks like picking things up or holding cups, for example. They are not, however, full medical prosthetic hands.

“At $30-$50, they’re cheap enough that parents can order larger ones as their children grow,” wrote Margarite Nathe for IntraHealth International’s VITAL blog. “The hands are customizable, comfortable, and easy to assemble. And—in perhaps their greatest success—they are beautiful in the eyes of their users (who can choose hands in their favorite colors).”

e-Nable Hand
Fingers of the prosthetic hand. Photo: Jennifer James

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Infographic: 2015 Mothers’ Index Rankings

As in years past, the Nordic countries lead the world in being the best countries to be a mother and to raise children. Save the Children’s Mothers’ Index ranked countries based on maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, and economic and political status.

Sub-Saharan African countries and Haiti rounded out the worst places to be a mother, with Somalia being the worst place on earth for mothers and children.

Read the entire report and see the full Mothers’ Index of 179 countries at savethechildren.org/mothers.

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Save the Children Sounds Alarm on Plight of the World’s Urban Poor

When you think about very low- and middle-income countries you might assume that the poor in deep rural pockets in these countries have the highest chance for maternal and infant mortality. That isn’t the case according to Save the Children’s latest State of the World’s Mothers report released today.

The report says that it is the urban poor in countries like Haiti, Somalia, Niger and Mali, for example, who are suffering the most and have less access to health care, nutrition services, sanitation and clean water. Even as child mortality has decreased by 49 percent since 1990, the numbers do not fully tell the entire story. While resources have successfully helped the rural populations, the urban poor continue to suffer from a lack of overall services that will allow them to live and thrive.

“Our new report reveals a devastating child survival divide between the haves and have-nots, telling a tale of two cities among urban communities around the world, including the United States,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children in a statemtn. “For babies born in the big city, it’s survival of the richest.”

New data says there are 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. 860 million people live in urban slums in big cities like Delhi, Nairobi, Rio, and Johannesburg where the disparity between the rich and poor is incredibly stark. In fact, poor children in urban areas are two times more likely to die than their richer peers. In some countries, poor children are up to five times more likely to die before the age of five than their peers in a much higher income bracket.

Slum area - Addis Ababa
Slum area – Addis Ababa

Urban slums continue to grow because poor migrants from rural areas seek jobs in cities. This causes squatter communities and slum-dwelling as well as a perpetual cycle of poverty. These migrants often believe that it is better to live in crowded slums in the city than in their rural home towns because they can at least find work. The tradeoff, however, comes in the form of poor living conditions.

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You’ve Seen the News. Want to Help Nepal? Send Cash!

W10001533_W260-0025-051A 7.9 earthquake hit Central Nepal today. Over 1394 people are reported thus far to have lost their lives in this natural disaster that unfortunately has been predicted by many. Much of Kathmandu’s infrastructure is in ruins, temples have been lost, electricity is out, and thousands are without shelter.

The best way to help in this disaster situation is to donate money to international NGOs that are well-versed in disaster relief. They have entire teams who are trained how to start, ask the right questions, and can deploy emergency shelter, food, water, and everyday necessities. They also know how to provide medical relief and aid and in the long run can help families with work in order to earn money in an environment that has been reduced to rubble.

I saw the wide-sweeping and effective relief efforts of international NGOs  after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines when I visited with a World Vision USA team for the one year anniversary in 2014. I know that because of large NGOs’ experience and coordinated efforts they can help disaster relief rapidly and in tandem with the Nepalese government. In fact, the UN has a coordinated system already in place called Cluster Coordination so that NGOs work together and not in vacuous sylos.

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Justin Forsyth, Save the Children CEO, on Child Migrant Deaths in the Mediterranean

“Whoever makes up the next Government has a moral obligation to work with the EU to restart the rescue. Every migrant child’s death is a stain on Europe’s conscience. How many thousands must die this summer before Europe acts?” – Justin Forsyth, Save the Children CEO. Read more at Save the Children Calls on the EU to Halt Child Deaths in the Mediterranean. Continue reading Justin Forsyth, Save the Children CEO, on Child Migrant Deaths in the Mediterranean

Save the Children calls on the EU to Halt Child Deaths in the Mediterranean

On Sunday, the harrowing news reverberated around the world that hundreds of migrants drowned off the coast of Libya en route to Europe when their boat – not suitable for transport across the vast Mediterranean – capsized. As many as 700 people are feared dead, but the death toll could escalate as more information is attained by authorities.

This is not the first time that hundreds of northern African migrants have died on the perilous seafaring journey to a haven of tolerance and freedom and most of all peace and security for them. As more African countries – particularly Eritrea, Libya, Niger, Sudan, and Somalia – are accused of mistreatment of their citizens or who do not offer their citizens a peaceful way of life – thousands more are taking the chance to live a more peaceful and prosperous life despite the dangerous journey.

Save the Children is calling upon the European Union to “restart the rescues” to ensure that men, women, and especially children reach European shores without the threat of being stranded in the Mediterranean or drowned to death.

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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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Upcoming Events Discuss Ebola in Liberia, Raise Money for Children in Crisis

This week we will collaborate with Save the Children and Children Inspire Design on two important awareness raising and fundraising events.

#EndEbola Twitter Chat

ebola400Join us this Wednesday when we join Save the Children and their Liberia Country Director, Greg Duly. We will discuss the state of the Ebola crisis in Liberia and how it is steadily becoming under control. We will also discuss how Ebola has affected women, children, and entire families.

When: WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2015
What: Twitter chat with Save the Children (@SavetheChildren) and its Liberia Country Director Greg Duly (@greg_duly)
Hashtag: #EndEbola
Why: We will discuss the current state of the Ebola caseload in Liberia as well as Ebola’s effects on women, children, and families.

Want to spread the word? Share this tweet.

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