|An amazing picture from Rikitembizi's Blog|
A large and lovely task connected to writing 100 Under $100 is searching for just the right photos which capture women hard at work, concentrating on their tasks, not posed in groups for the camera, or standing in lines waiting for health care
or emergency feeding. One of the 100 items is sack gardening, utilizing small urban spaces to raise food for local consumption. These farmers, working their sacks, produce impressive yields, improving their own food security and supporting, or at least supplementing their income. As rural folks keep on migrating and cities grow and grow, urban farming is a major answer to food provisioning and urban unemployment.
I was thrilled to find this beautiful photo of a woman sack-gardening in Kibera, said to be the largest slum in Africa. Through the wonders of social media, I was able to track down the blogger via twitter and he has graciously permitted me use of this photo. Thanks, @manjis !
This post also celebrates my 10,000 hits since starting the blog. Who are you all?!
Monday, November 18, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Congrats to SHE on winning the Grinnell Prize! My post on menstrual hygiene strategies and initiatives, which includes them, has has been viewed nearly 1,000 times. This is very important work.
Elizabeth Scharpf is the founder and chief instigating officer of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), and Julian Ingabire Kayibanda is the chief operating officer of SHE Rwanda. A social venture that invests in overlooked ideas that can have a significant positive impact, SHE is increasing women's access to affordable menstrual products by manufacturing low-cost maxi pads using local agro-waste, primarily in Rwanda, but soon globally.
Believed to be the largest prize honoring social justice, the Grinnell Prize is presented annually to leaders under 40 who are making creative innovations in social justice.
SHE is building a supply chain. These two pictures show the sourcing of banana fiber, by a farmer mom - baby on her back, machete in her hand. The bookend photo shows a machinist at the new SHE factory, processing the pulp for the napkins. These are strong women building a better future for themselves and their families.
|Angelique Karidi, a farmer, extracts banana fiber from the trunk of a banana tree.|
|In the new production plant.|
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Sunday, August 18, 2013
|Poster: Guy Godfree for ColaLife, by permission|
Add six T. sugar and ½ t. salt to one liter of clean water. Mix, give to children with diarrhea, and save millions of lives. This is the recipe for Oral Rehydration Salts, a premier health innovation of 20th century. ORS was first tested in 1971 during the Bangladeshi War of Independence. Cholera was rampant and medical treatment scarce. ORS dropped the fatality rate from 30% to 1%.
Further refinements have followed over the years. Developing world clinics provide ORS sachets. Affluent world parents reach for Pedialyte bottles, just a premixed glucose/electrolyte solution. ORS helps the body retain water, combating diarrhea’s lethal weapon: dehydration, for which infants and young children are at especially high risk. Malnourished children's risk is yet higher.
But every year, over a million children still die of diarrhea. How can that be?
Simon Berry, an affable British humanitarian health project manager, worked in Zambia and marveled at Coca-Cola's kiosks located in even the remotest of locations. Was there a way to link distribution of vital medicines to Coke deliveries?
His 1988 epiphany went nowhere. But the idea stuck with him and in 2011 he and his wife Jane posted their vision on Facebook. Combine a reusable, resealable container, 8 ORS sachets, and zinc tablets (an added diarrhea treatment). Add a bar of soap, emphasizing prevention. Calibrate in single doses that toddlers can sip over 24 hours, with a cover to keep away the dirt and flies. Brand and package it attractively and catch a ride with Coke.
People loved their proposal. The resulting Kit Yamoyo (meaning "Kit of Life") fits into the negative spaces between crated Coca-Cola bottles. Designed by PI Global, this award-winning package is showing itself very successful in trials. Vendors purchase them along with Coke, netting small profits on local village retail sales. The first purchaser was a distributor whose grandson had a bad case of diarrhea. Coca-Cola's structure is decentralized; it has supported the project without direct involvement.
Demand is strong. A mom with a sick child wants to know she is doing the right thing. This kit helps her treat the illness more confidently. And who doesn't like coupons, especially since children in the developing world average three diarrhea episodes a year? The kit's retail cost is low, the equivalent of the price of five bananas.
You can follow their carefully designed evaluation trial’s progress on their blog. ColaLife consults extensively with end users. It is a splendid example of co-creation, demonstrating that well-designed, branded, affordable products will save kids' lives.
A bonus: the container is made of PET plastic and may be reusable as a SODIS container.
YOU Donate to ColaLife directly.
IDEA Want to do something major? Take ColaLife to another region. ColaLife is an open source project. Each country needs its own version, connecting NGO's, health ministries, and the national Coca-Cola bottling network.
IDEA How about introducing it in the USA? ColaLife would like to someday subsidize its humanitarian sales by marketing to affluent customers. Its eco-friendly packaging would be greener than the standard bottles, and consumers respond well to cause-related marketing.
Judith Simeon, an organizer with peasant and women’s groups, said that after the Haiti earthquake, “I put together a group of people; we each went and helped others.... I used what I knew with dehydrated people, especially little children and elderly ones who were so weak. I gave them oral rehydration serum with water, salt, and sugar. - Beverly Bell, for WP, 2010
Thursday, August 1, 2013
|This young gardener is using bottles to collect rainwater in an|
ARK project in the Philippines.
Sometimes I think this blog might turn into 100 creative reuses for soda bottles. This one comes from ARK, Advancement from Rural Kids, which is supporting creative, sustainable schools which address malnutrition by including sustainable farming into the curriculum. Looks like it works beautifully! The sustainable school project design is by Elemental Cares.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
|Assata Doumbia and her friend provide Kangaroo care for her twins in Bamaki, |
Mali at a Save The Children care center - photo by Joshua Roberts, with permission
Premature delivery is scary even in the world of a well-equipped NICU, so imagine giving birth to a pre-term baby in a low-resource area. No electricity means no working incubator or specialized equipment. It is estimated that in low-income countries over 90% of extremely early babies (born at 37 weeks or before) die within the first few days of life. While statistics are not listed by gender, it is safe to assume that resources to save baby girls are in very short supply.
Losing a baby is devastating tragedy - one that a mother and her family never get over. The good news is that a simple, low-tech, intuitive technique developed in Bogota, Colombia, boosts survival rates of pre-term babies enormously. For stabilized babies, KMC is comparable to an incubator, and provides added benefits. Save The Children estimates over 450,000 low birth weight babies could be saved every year by spreading this practice.
Frustrated by their lack of resources to care for tiny preemies, in 1983 neonatologists Edgar Rey and Hector Martinez experimented with what they dubbed Kangaroo Mother Care. It worked! Mothers snuggle their babies skin-to-skin, with the baby held in place by a cloth wrapped around mother and baby. The baby wears just a diaper plus hat and socks to conserve body heat, breastfeeding on demand. Fathers, family members, friends or volunteers can serve as kangaroo caregivers, too, minus the breastfeeding.
The rhythm and warmth of the mother's body helps the baby regulate its metabolism. KMC decreases infection and promotes successful breastfeeding and emotional bonding. The mother's heartbeat literally helps the baby's heartbeat to synch. The babies cry less when nuzzled by their mothers, allowing them to expend their energy stabilizing and maturing. Almost like extra time in the womb.
Study upon study has confirmed Kangaroo Mother Care's many benefits, helping infants gain weight faster and even promoting brain development. It has proved so beneficial that it has been exported to the affluent world. It is endorsed by the WHO as a verified, accepted standard of care and is now a standard practice to complement and humanize high-tech Neonatal Intensive Care treatment around the world.
While KMC is free in the sense that it doesn't require equipment, it does require a mother to wear her baby 24/7, so a Kangaroo mom won't be doing much multi-tasking. The first days or weeks of kangaroo caring take place in designated hospital units. Malawi, with very high rates of preterm births, has expanded its KMC program throughout all its 28 districts. Save The Children has been a leader in KMC initiatives, in partnership with USAID. UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also work to extend Kangaroo Care training and practice around the globe.
Grace Ndoto, of Malawi, shares her story. After 9 long years she finally became pregnant, but went into emergency labor in her seventh month. Her daughter weighed 1.8 lbs/820 grams, "Less than a packet of sugar.... When a baby is premature they need three important things. That is heat, food, and love. You provide heat with skin contact. You provide food easily. When the baby is there [on the mother's heart], the love is there." Ndoto has become an advocate and teaches about KMC in her church and community; her daughter is now a beautiful, sturdy three-year-old. - "Living Proof in Mali" Video, Healthy Newborn Network
|Kangaroo Caring Mom with her twins skin-to-skin|
permission: UN Foundation/Talia Frenkel
May 15th is International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
|Huru International distributes locally manufactured, colorful menstrual hygiene|
kits to girls in Kenya. Kits include HIV prevention information.
Misinformation, cultural myths, and taboos kick in with the onset of their periods. Young women use mud, leaves, rags, even newspapers, which are not only ineffective and uncomfortable, but can cause infection. Girls attending school during their periods fear staining, and the resulting humiliation. Without private toilets for changing napkins or receptacles to discreetly discard soiled napkins, girls are subject to public embarrassment.
Innovators are attacking this problem in two complementary ways: designing appropriate menstrual hygiene products and using the presentation of them as an attention-capturing moment to educate girls about their bodies, menstrual management, and reproductive health. This needs to happen in late grade school, so girls are prepared ahead of menarche.
Teaching reproductive health is almost as important as the kits themselves. Imagine not knowing why you were "bleeding" (one girl had thought she might be ill with HIV before we came) or thinking it was a curse due to your doing something wrong. - Days For Girls (This is corroborated by a pilot study on pads and menstrual ed provision for girls in Ghana.)Sanitary napkin initiatives divide into two main options, disposable or RUMPs, reusable menstrual pads. Distribution is likewise developing on two tracks, market enterprise development along with free provision by governments or NGOs. The two tracks merge when napkins purchased from local social enterprises are distributed for free to schoolgirls.
Disposables pads are easier, of course, provided there is a system in place to dispose of them. They require a monthly cash outlay by the government, NGO, or end-users. (This makes them a good business proposition.) Cloth pads must be washed and dried which in some settings is dangerous, since pads hanging on a line publicly announce a girl's status. In damp climates or during rainy seasons, RUMPs can mildew. However, they last for years, making them a nearly free, sustainable solution.
The dearth of affordable menstrual supplies in the developing world, combined with upward mobility and lowered fertility - women with fewer children have more periods over their lifespans - is creating a large potential market. Several enterprises are producing disposable napkins sourced from locally available materials, not only lowering their cost, but providing much needed employment along the supply chain. In Uganda, Dr. Moses Kiiza Musaazi of Makerere University in Kampala has designed napkins made from local papyrus. Many of the MakaPad employees are refugee women. Among their customers is the UNHCR which distributes them in camps and OneGirl, an Australian NGO working with girls in Sierra Leone.
JaniPads, piloted by a group of Swedish design students, are made from water hyacinth, an invasive plant which sucks up water. This absorbency is a virtue in a menstrual product, creating a green, local win-win-win solution. Village Volunteers has taken on the project and is seeking funding.
award-winning invention produces 120 napkins per hour at one third of the cost of imported products. Over 600 machines in 23 Indian states have been deployed, each one generating income and jobs, and improving women's health and quality of life.
|"Education, Empowerment, Employment, Environment" -|
Afripads, where Rose has been tailor since 2009.
Days For Girls has formed over 30 sewing clubs which educate members about the circumstances girls face in the developing world and set to work sewing colorful pad sets which are distributed through NGO partners. DFS has tested and refined designs which include a barrier layer. Their patterns are available at their site. Volunteer seamstresses do not need to belong to a club; they can work independently, like my friend's 80-something year old mother. Programs like this create a network of informed, committed activists and advocates for global women's empowerment.
ZanaAfrica is another initiative working on menstrual hygiene solutions.
|Hutterite girls from the Balder, Manitoba chapter of |
Days For Girls showing off their handicraft.
This just in: a report on menstrual hygiene preferences of school girls in Uganda: they like disposables better, even if they cost more.
Many more resources are available at Menstrual Hygiene Day. Celebrate it on May 28!
Menstrual Hygiene Day creates a united voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence and confront the taboos that often prohibit girls and women from reaching their full potential.
This Just in: