In Bill and Melinda Gates’ Annual Letter that was released this week, they bet that in 15 years Africa will be able to feed itself. For those of you who have never been to Africa you may think this is an overstretch, but it is entirely true and based on significant data.
Most of the people I have met in Africa are smallholder farmers. Africa is an agrarian continent. Most people have to feed themselves from what they grow, but due to a lack of fertilizer, seeds, crop rotation, and substantial rain, farmers are suffering across the continent.
The Gates Foundation believes that in 15 years Africa can feed itself. This is a big challenge, but because they belive it so much, they fund NGOS that work on food security across the continent.
Each January Bill and Melinda Gates release their Annual Letter. This year they are taking a bet on the world’s future.
15 years ago the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was started and there have been substantial improvements in global health and development since then because of its dedication to the world’s poorest people. Now, Bill and Melinda Gates believe even more can be done in the next 15 years.
More Children Will Live and More Diseases Will Be Eradicated
By 2030 Bill and Melinda Gates bet that fewer children will die from preventable disease and more preventable diseases will be eradicated, Africa will be able to feed itself, millions more will gain access to mobile banking and education will be improved by innovative software.
Today, one in 20 children die from preventable diseases. In 2030, Bill and Melinda Gates bet the number of child deaths will come down to one in 40 children. Decreasing that number will take political will from the hardest hit countries with child mortality, new approaches and programs to keep children and newborns alive, vaccines, better health systems, and funding.
Africa Will Be Able to Feed Itself
It’s mind-boggling to know that Africa imports $50 billion dollars in food annually. Why? Because African farmers do not produce enough food currently to feed the continent. But due to its massive size and large agrarian societies Bill and Melinda Gates believe Africa will indeed be able to feed itself in 15 years . More training, better seeds, improved fertilizers, and crop rotations will lead to more yields across all of sub-Saharan Africa. That will lead to more money remaining in Africa for national and continent-wide improvements, such as increased funds to improve health systems or provide better training to farmers across the board.
More People Will Have Access to Mobile Banking
Currently there are 2.5 billion people who do not have access to a banking account. This means these people aren’t able to keep their assets safe and it proves difficult to borrow money and pay it back seamlessly. Bill and Melinda Gates believes that in 15 years hundreds of millions of people will gain access to a mobile bank account that will change their lives and the way they save, spend, and earn money.
Education Will Improve Due to Software
While more girls are getting an education around the world there are still too many girls who are left out of school. By 2030 that gender gap in education will sharply close. It is important to educate girls for the following reasons:
With innovative technology education will be accessible to millions more helping them leave the cycle of poverty and to improve their lives.
Bill and Melinda Gates are calling on everyone to become Global Citizens and care about these issues. Read 2015 Gates Annual Letter: Our Big Bet for the Future at gatesletter.com.
2014 was a very good year! We partnered with leading NGOs and nonprofits to advance causes that mean the difference between life and death and quality living for the world’s poorest citizens. We traveled around the world to report on water and sanitation, newborns, maternal health, disaster relief, and health workers. We traveled domestically to report on some of our partners’ milestone seminars, conferences, and panels. But most importantly, we kept the momentum going to work collectively as mothers who use social media for good.
We very much look forward to 2015 and what it has in store. Here are our twelve highlight moments of 2014 – in no particular order.
1. Advocated for the Every Newborn Action Plan
We continued to help raise awareness about the importance of quality newborn care and the Every Newborn Action Plan. We partnered with Save the Children and the Gates Foundation to raise awareness among parents about newborns and how they can be easily saved through easy interventions. Read more our 2014 newborn health reporting.
A Community Health Doctor delivers vaccines to a mother and her newborn babies.
Left to right: Health worker Mama Blandina, Jennifer James, Asia, a client of Blandina’s and her son, and Mandy Moore. Photo: Trevor Snapp.
4. Reported on the One Year Anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines With World Vision
We covered the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines with World Vision USA with Social Good Mom member, Jeana Shandraw as well as their disaster relief since the superstorm ravaged the country last year. Read our reports from the World Vision blog.
5. Featured in Matterness: Fearless Leadership in a Social World
Every year Oxfam America joins with its Sisters on the Planetcommunity to honor International Women’s Day. We were honored to be there and look forward to joining Oxfam America this year as well!
10. Partnered with UNESCO on #TeacherTuesday
UNESCO partnered with leading blogs around the world to highlight education and exceptional teachers. We were honored to work with UNESCO on their #TeacherTuesday effort.
11. Reported on IntraHealth’s Work in Tanzania
IntraHealth is known for its effective health worker programs. It was a priviledge to report on its Voluntary Male Circumcision Program in rural Tanzania. Read the report from IntraHealth’s VITALS blog.
12. Worked with the International Reporting Project to Plan a Newborn Health Reporting Trip to Ethiopia
Newborn health has been an important topic over the past three years. Noted journalists traveled to Ethiopia to report on newborn and maternal health, reproductive health, and health workers. Two Social Good Moms members were a part of the reporting team. Read more on Journalists Travel to Ethiopia to Report on Newborn Health.
For over a year the wonderful and dedicated community of mom bloggers, both Social Good Moms and the Global Team of 200 members, has spread the word about newborn health and survival to their massive social networks and have blogged tirelessly about why newborn health is important to them. Over these sixteen months as a community of moms dedicated to maternal, newborn, and child health we have reached tens of millions of parents online through our collective personal social networks, via Twitter chats, through photo sharing, and through our blogs. And we have had tremendous support from our friends at the Gates Foundation, Save the Children, Healthy Newborn Network, and Every Newborn. As they say: never underestimate the power of moms with one collective voice.
We’re thrilled that May was fantastic for newborns and even more encouraged that our voices mattered in the run-up to the World Health Assembly. The Every Newborn Action Plan, which has been in the works for over a year, was officially adopted by the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday, May 24. The Lancet published the Every Newborn Series that looks at quality care for newborns and draws upon progress that has been made and is lacking since the first series in 2005. And, finally, Canada pledged an additional $3.5 billion for maternal, newborn, and child health.
We’re taking a look back at the important advocacy our network has done over the past 16 months. Time does go fast when you’re having fun.
We followed the Every Newborn Action Plan negotiations and shared the live tweets and compiled them in a Storify. Updates on the Every Newborn Action Plan received over 500 views.
Social Good Moms tweeted their support of the Every Newborn Action Plan encouraging countries to adopt the plan during the World Health Assembly. We reached nearly 1 million Twitter impacts as a collective voice. See the voices in Mom Bloggers Stand Up for Newborn Health and the impact.
The Social Good Moms who tweeted in support of the report sent out 170 tweets, reached 1.2 million Twitter accounts and garnered 1.7 million impressions.
Every Newborn Action Plan Comments
Also, in February we rallied members of the Global Team of 200 to leave comments on the Every Newborn Action Plan WHO page to engage as concerned citizens of civial society. Some of the many comments left by the team were:
“I think the continuum of care is key. The number of stillborn deaths was staggering to me. Access to skilled health care workers during pregnancy and even preconception can clearly make a big difference. Education around these options will be important, particularly in the harder to reach communities.” – Jennifer Barbour
“There needs to be a minimum standard of care that is provided to each country/organization to ensure the quality of care is comparable and sufficient.” – Julia Gibson
“I strongly believe in expanding the training of midwives and frontline healthcare workers on the ground in each country especially in the rural and remote regions of the developing world. Vaccines are also extremely important and effective at saving lives. They are cost-effective it should be ensured that all children are vaccinated on schedule. Education for women on childbirth, pregnancy planning and caring for their newborn (including safe births, the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of vaccines and regular check-ups) also is very important.” – Nicole Melancon
Social Good Mom and member of the Global Team of 200, Stacey Weckstein, traveled to Indonesia with Save the Children to report on maternal, newborn and child heath. Her updates were fantastic and showed how Save the Children implements programs on the ground.
I along with Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member, Nicole Melancon, traveled to India for the first Social Good Moms insight trip. We visited Save the Children’s work with mothers’ groups in Delhi as well as a mobile unit for maternal, child, and newborn care, Mothers’ groups are one of the key interventions that help save the lives of newborns through education and awareness.
185 moms tweeted their support of #newborn2013 reaching 3.1 million people.
As a a network of moms we crowdsourced ideas about what we thought should go into the Every Newborn Action Plan. See the interactive infographic of our suggestions.It had nearly 1000 views and 2441 tag hovers.
We worked closely with Save the Children to spread awareness about their breastfeeding report, Superfood for Babies: How Overcoming Barriers Will Save Children’s Lives. For 24 hours straight 24 Social Good Moms shared intimate stories about their personal breastfeeding journeys while telling their individual audiences about the important work Save the Children does around the world for mothers and their newborns. We chronicled the entire 24 hours on a tumblr blog, Advocating for the First Hour, so these beautiful stories from moms lived somewhere special online. A global effort, moms from the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, and Nigeria as well as here in the States participated.