Let’s take a break for a day or two from over-analyzing the mid-term elections and focus on something that brings us together – helping people living in extreme poverty find effective ways to improve their lives.
America has long had a big heart and acted on its responsibility to others, and the global development community has been targeting its work to the people making the biggest difference in their communities around the world: women and girls. This week in New York City, I have the opportunity to support two important initiatives that focus on women and children’s health and eliminating the transmission of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
Leading one of the efforts is the White Ribbon Alliance, the WIE Symposium, led by Sarah Brown, along with Donna Karan and Arianna Huffington. The gathering will bring together female leaders and speakers from around the world to discuss the important issues facing women today.
In particular, the conference will zero in on women’s global empowerment and the strength that comes from women helping women, for more visit wienetwork.org. This includes the importance of reducing deaths during childbirth and then ensuring that mothers have the information and resources they need to raise healthy babies. The panel I’ll moderate, called “Women in Advocacy,” will feature two very well respected public servants, Secretary Ann Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director from 2005 – 2010 and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE.
In addition, the ONE Campaign, which is dedicated to ending poverty and preventable diseases, will participate in the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Developments Goals. These are eight goals, agreed upon by more than 180 nations to achieve by 2015, and the ONE Campaign is working to help meet those deadlines. With these goals only a few years away, this week’s summit is critical to address the progress so far and the next steps ahead.
The ONE Campaign intends to ensure success by asking the leaders for new, clear commitments to the goals. What’s at stake? Education for young women, mothers who can receive care in childbirth…the list goes on and on. In addition, ONE will release a new PSA, that uses provocative images to challenge us to work together to do what we have the knowledge and tools to do – eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
These events give us a chance to step back from our daily arguments and recommit to helping others.
I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to many places around the world and see first-hand how America’s generosity is not taken for granted, how every dollar is stretched in many of these programs to get the most out of our taxpayer dollars to help others. -- I believe that a focus on helping women will pay more dividends for these countries – and our world – for years to come.
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