The UN General Assembly met this week in New York and there were dozens of side events such as the Clinton Global Initiative. Save the Children focused on advocating for more frontline health workers who will help improve the lives of women and children around the world. In this post Carolyn writes about her experience.
It was a pretty crazy way to start my third week as Save the Children’s new President & CEO! To give you a sense of it all, I’ll retrace my steps back to Sunday…
My week started with a drive out from Connecticut to Greentree, a retreat center out on Long Island to discuss key issues around maternal and child mortality and the need for more midwives and community health workers. The sessions’ stars were the health ministers from several African and Asian countries reporting on progress on scaling up health worker programs in countries like Nepal, Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. There were many from the UN agencies like UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF, the World Bank, and a few other NGOs like Save the Children. Frontline health workers are something Save the Children is fighting for more of since they are the ones who save kids and mothers on the ground. Dashed off from there to New York for a dinner with the MasterCard Foundation and many of their partners. They partner with Save the Children on an innovative youth savings program in several countries to help young people learn about how to save very small amounts that they can use for more choices as they get older (like girls choosing to delay marriage.)
Monday started with a breakfast at WIE Women: Women Inspiration and Enterprise. Sarah Brown, Donna Karan, and Arrianna Huffington kicked off the discussion on maternal mortality around the world. We heard from some terrific frontline health workers from the field – the real heroes in saving Mom’s lives in childbirth. Despite some real progress in the last few years, more than 350,000 mothers still die during pregnancy or while giving birth around the world.
I headed back uptown for an interview for the film version of Nick Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn’s book Half the Sky, set to come out next year. If you haven’t read it, highly recommend it! Harrowing stories of what girls and women endure and a strong argument that development depends on making sure half the world’s human capital is not wasted.
A stop at Times Square was next with a “stunt” to try to grab the public’s attention about the need for more health workers around the world.
Our health worker visiting from Sierra Leone, Dr. Joan Shepherd, our International CEO Jasmine Whitbread, and the young actress Alexis Bledel joined me, mothers and babies to bring attention to healthworkers and how they save lives.
The rest of my day was spent meeting with the many partners in town for the events like Coca-Cola, and some of our Board members like Gary Knell, the CEO of Sesame Street.
Tuesday dawned bright and early with another breakfast on mothers where model and actress Christy Turlington Burns spoke, then off to a high level panel at the UN where I shared the platform with UNICEF head Tony Lake, Pepsi’s chief scientist, the head of the World Food Program Josette Sherran, and the head of Helen Keller International. The topic was the SUN (scaling up nutrition) initiative which is a great example of a large scale partnership where UN agencies, NGOs, corporations and governments are working together to combat critical issues – in this case hunger. I spoke on the key issue of nutrition for children and the need to measure results and ensure more Funding goes into making sure no child goes hungry. I also made the argument that the loss of development due to hunger is a heavy cost for developing nations with as much as 3 percent of GDP lost when children are stunted due to Malnutrition.
The rest of the day I met with significant partners such as Intel, Chevron and others before one of the big events of the week, the Every Woman, Every Child reception. More on this in my next post!