Children of Mosebo Village

Poverty is Sexist: How you can make a difference in the lives of women and girls

Global Issues Global Non-Profit Organizations and Social Good Enterprises SOCIAL GOOD Women and Girls

ONE Launches #PovertyIsSexist Campaign to improve the lives of women worldwide


“It’s about time someone said it. Being born female in one of the world’s poorest countries means your life will be harder, simply because of your gender. Unlocking the full potential of girls and women wouldn’t just transform their own lives, or even their families’ – it could help end extreme poverty for good”. – ONE

“Being born female in one of the world’s poorest countries means your life will be harder, simply because of your gender”. I often think about those words. As an American woman, who is healthy, educated and has been blessed with amazing opportunities to see the world, I wonder what my life would be like if I’d been born somewhere else. Like India or Chad or Afghanistan.  Would I just be a number?

The more I see and learn about the world, the more I realize that life is unfair in many ways and on many levels. Some inequities cannot be changed. However, some can. Being born a woman should not mean that you should have less opportunities to reach your potential. Nor should it mean if you are poor, that your opportunities are even more limited. Yet this is the world we live in today. A world in which violence against women and girls persists at “alarmingly high levels” per the UN. A world in which 800 women die each and every day during childbirth just because they are living in the developing world. A world in which boys are much more likely to be fed, go to school, and reach their potential. A world in which I desperately want to change.

Ethiopia has some of the highest levels of child marriage in the world. Furthermore, the number of girls going to primary school in the UK is equal to the number of girls not going to primary school in Ethiopia. 

Faces of Ethiopia

Can it be changed? Yes it can.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th the ONE Campaign has launched “Poverty is Sexist”, a new campaign aimed at pushing world leaders to establish new global goals to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide by 2030. It is a fact that the only way we can end extreme poverty, create peace, security and prosperity around the world is by improving the lives of women and girls around the globe.

Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD Women and Girls
ONE/RED Bracelet

Buy (RED) – A Powerful Way Consumers Can Support the End of AIDS

During my visit to the Social Good Summit in New York City last month, I attended a meeting with a group of bloggers to learn more about (RED), a division of the ONE Campaign that works to eliminate AIDS through consumer activism. (RED) was founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver as a way to engage people and businesses all over the world to fight the greatest challenge of our time – the fight to end AIDS.

(RED) partners with some of the world’s leading brands to offer a changing collection of  iconic (RED) products triggering a unique way of consumer activism:  With each purchase of a (RED) product 50% of the proceeds are donated to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which saves 100,000 lives a month.

Here is an example of how (RED) works on the back end to fight AIDS.

Here is an example of how (RED) works on the back end to fight AIDS.

What is so exciting about (RED) is that they make it so incredibly easy for consumers to give back and support the fight of AIDS. Just simply purchasing a (RED) product starts the process of donating to The Global Fund and every single dollar donated to The Global Fund is donated on the ground meaning there is no overhead. Pretty amazing.

Here is a current list of some of the brands who are going (RED). Remember the GAP collection of t-shirts called Inspi(RED)?

Here is a current list of some of the brands who are going (RED). Remember the GAP collection of t-shirts called Inspi(RED)?

The (RED) Manifesto is a wonderful example at how organizations can inspire people to give back and make a difference in the world. Simply making a purchase of a (RED) product, can help save a person’s life.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.52.41 AM

So why is it important to fight HIV/AIDS and why now? Simply because we have never been so close to seeing an end of AIDS before. It is proven that antiretrovirals work. Today, over 6 million people are being effectively treated with antiretrovirals that have a 96% success rate in not transmitting the disease. With action and urgency, it is possible to see the end of the transmission of HIV from mothers to their newborns. We are so close to eradicating this horrible disease.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.39.04 AM

Fact:  It is also estimated that nearly 30 million people have died from AIDS-related causes since the beginning of the epidemic (UNAID 2010 report).

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.39.19 AM

Fact: AIDS remains a global epidemic infecting 2.7 million new people and claiming 2 million lives each year.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.39.34 AM

Topsy/AIDS Patient’s Dramatic Recovery from AIDS

An inspiring, one-minute video that was shown on World AIDS Day in 2011 marking the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS.

My dear friend, Jeannine Harvey at The ONE Campaign shared this beautiful story below on the hope that anti-retrovirals can provide to a child born with HIV/AIDS.
I leave you with the story of Motselisi. (RED) first met Motselisi in the rural Nyakosoba Village in Lesotho when she was 11 months old, frail and weak without access to medication. Motselisi was put on anti-retroviral (ARV) medicine, and 90 days later, she had been brought back to life and was a healthy, happy baby. Hers is a true story of the Lazarus Effect and the life-saving power of HIV/AIDS treatment, treatment that costs around 40 cents a day in sub-Saharan Africa. 
Photo credit ONE

(RED) is a division of The ONE Campaign. Learn more at

About The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.40.13 AM

December 1st marks World AIDS Day

Every year, in the days and weeks leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1st, (RED) partners with premiere artists and leading brands to shine a global spotlight on the epidemic.  To date, (RED) has raised over $215 million for the elimination of AIDS.

Related Posts and Links:

World AIDS Day 21/1: The Beginning to the End of AIDS? 

Philanthropy Friday: Buying (RED) via Another Jennifer

(RED) is a division of The ONE Campaign. Learn more at
Global Non-Profit Organizations and Social Good Enterprises SOCIAL GOOD

Electrify Africa

On a recent flight I was reading an article on Martin Luther King Jr. in the Delta Sky magazine in which they interviewed some of Atlanta’s top civil rights activists in honor of the 50th anniversary of his famous speech “I have a Dream”. One comment made by Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA, an international humanitarian organization, stood out. When asked which words of Dr. King’s speech resonated with her the most she said, “I’m often asked why should I care about people in other countries. And I refer back to his quote, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. If we turn a blind eye to injustice anywhere, we’re giving in to that here as well. There is no divide between them and us“. (Delta Sky Magazine, August 2013).

Children living in Sub-Saharan Africa (photo credit: Wikipedia free commons)

Global Non-Profit Organizations and Social Good Enterprises SOCIAL GOOD

The Power of Music to Change the World

Music has been used for centuries to give people a voice to tell stories, entertain and inspire. Perhaps it is the emotional feelings one gets from listening to music that allows so many of us to connect with it. Music can bring us back years ago to an exact time and place within our hearts. Who can forget the words and rhythm of their first dance? Or the music you used to blast in your car during the summer with your windows rolled down? 

The power of music has also been brilliantly used as a voice to garner support of the masses and impact societal change. Protest songs decrying great human injustices such as slavery, apartheid, violence and war, have become powerful tools by musicians to push politicians and governments to making the world a better and more just place.


ONE, a global advocacy organization created by Bono and backed by 3 million members worldwide to fit against global poverty and hunger, has launched a new music campaign called agit8, as a way to use music to push change. Agit8 will inspire people to take action and leaders to make big commitments on figthing chronic malnutrition during the upcoming G8 meeting in Northern Ireland June 17-18th. 


Interview with Dr. Hawa Abdi of “Keeping Faith Alive”

“Dr. Hawa Abdi is the fiercest, most compassionate frontline humanitarian and doctor on the planet. The story of her extraordinary life, which defies imagination, instills courage in each of us” – Eliza Griswold, journalist and author of Tenth Parallel


Portrait of Dr Hawa by Pieter Hugo.

Last week I received an email from ONE Moms, a nonpartisian group I work with as a Community Partner to advocate against extreme poverty, that an inspiring humanitarian, doctor and human rights lawyer was coming to town. Dr. Hawa Abdi known as “The Mother Teresa of Somalia” and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee was coming to Minneapolis to speak on the release of her recent book co-authored by American writer Sarah Robbins, “Keeping Hope Alive” which is an incredibly moving memoir about how Dr. Hawa along with her two daughters has helped 90,000 of her fellow Somalis remain safe, healthy and educated for over 20 years during a time of intense turmoil, violence and destruction in Somalia.

I had never heard of Dr. Abdi or her work before yet I was immediately fascinated. The thought of one woman saving so many people’s lives by building a hospital and a community of over 90,000 people in her backyard during an extremely dangerous civil war seemed unfathomable. I had to hear her story.


Outside a popular Minneapolis bookstore where I heard Dr. Abdi speak on her moving, unbelievable memoir.

CULTURE Global Issues Global Non-Profit Organizations and Social Good Enterprises Poverty SOCIAL GOOD

Gifts that Give: The perfect gift for Mother’s Day

Back in the fall, I had written a piece about a fabulous organization that I’m honored to be a part of as an advocate and ONEMom Community Partner, ONE.


ONE is a non-partisian advocacy organization that is backed by over 3 million members who work with government leaders to support proven, cost-effective solutions that save lives and help build sustainable futures.

Part of ONE’s advocacy is strengthened by the creation of ONE Moms, a group of powerful women bloggers, writers and other prominent advocates to help spread the word of ONE’s mission. These women have dedicated their time, energy, enthusiasm and passion for helping moms around the world have happier, healthier lives.

During the ONE Moms/Mums trip to Ethiopia last fall, the women visited fashionABLE, a nonprofit that works to empower women and create sustainable business in Ethiopia. Most of these women were rescued from prostitution and have been helped by fashionABLE to live a productive, healthy life for themselves and their children.


FashionABLE is a beautiful success story.

A few months ago, a competition was held by  ONE | fashionABLE | ALT challenge / contest where the Alt community was challenged to design a scarf to be voted on by conference attendees and then handmade in Ethiopia for an exclusive ONE | fashionABLE Mother’s Day Scarf. Fast forward to early April and the winning Mother’s Day scarf is now hitting the markets in the US.  Each handmade scarf takes three days to make and is named The Genet after one of the amazing women who helped produce it.

Here is how the new scarf all began….



On Thursday, April 4th, there is a Pre-Sale of the scarf offering two full days of free shipping (in the US only). After April 5th the pre-sale will continue with regular shipping. All scarves ordered will be shipped on April 17th in time for Mother’s Day. The scarf is absolutely stunning and has quite a special meaning as well.


Why its important? Genet and her child have been lifted out of poverty and into a sustainable life. 

The scarves will be available for pre-sale beginning on April 4 at: TheONE Store: and fashionABLE:

Retail Price: $65 US.


Check out this cool YouTube video of the ONEMoms visit to Ethiopia and fashionABLE where they got to help make scarves.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

The impact of the good old Sweet Potato on Global Health

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 4.31.23 PM

Today I am honored to be collaborating with a group of women bloggers on behalf of ONE, a non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable diseases, to increase awareness about world hunger.

ONE asks:

“How can it be that 40% of Africa’s children are so chronically malnourished by the age of five that they will never fully thrive, physically recover or mentally develop – and this has not improved in two decades, despite so much other development progress?



  • In 2010, 171 million children under the age of five had stunted growth (chronically malnourished)[1]
  • Every year, malnutrition causes 3.5 million child deaths – or more than one third of all deaths of children under the age of five[2]
  • More than 600,000 children die each year from vitamin A deficiency[3]
  • 2 billion people are anemic, including every second pregnant woman and an estimated 40% of school-aged children — contributing to 20% of all maternal deaths[4]
  • The economic toll of malnutrition causes the loss of 2-3% of GDP in affected countries and more than 10% of productivity over a person’s lifetime[5]

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 4.32.17 PM

Global Health Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD

Be the Change

I recently subscribed to the WordPress Daily Prompts to see what kind of inspiration I could find on expanding my writing. I briefly read the prompts but never wrote one until today when I saw one that struck a chord in my heart. I read it and I filled with joy and excitement. I felt like the words were talking exactly to me.

“What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world”. 

I read these words and thought, isn’t this why I am writing my blog in the first place? To use my voice to share my experiences of what I’ve seen in the world, what I’ve learned and most importantly of all, how we can all give back?

I have talked about my voice time and time again in my blog. But today I’d like to share with you what I’m hoping to change in the world with my blog.


How all moms are ONE Moms

This week I’ve been actively following a group of amazing women who are part of the ONE Moms/ONE Mums delegation to Ethiopia. Today these women are flying home to the United States and the UK where they will continue to use their voice in sharing the stories and photographs of what they learned and saw during their week long journey in Ethiopia.