This past week I was thinking about the time I spent in Nepal with Coca- Cola to see the devastation after the earthquake and the global brand’s response to it. The April 2015 4.5 magnitude earthquake upended lives and left cities in rubble. I saw much of it during our travels through Kathmandu and its surrounding towns.
NGOs worked with their partners in the field to provide basic necessities for families, especially women and girls. And, Coca-Cola helped fund programs to empower women’s lives. One such programs I saw was Coca- Cola’s 5×20 program, a global initiative to empower five million women in its supply chain by 2020. Bottlers Nepal Limited committed to empowering 10,000 women in and around Kathmandu to help reach that milestone.
The 5×20 program had a global goal of empowering five million women by 2020. I recently went to see if that goal had been met last year. I was pleased that it had. In fact, Coca-Cola and its partners had helped six million women in 100 different countries reach economic empowerment.
I was happy to see the 5×20 economic empowerment program up close and am happy for the women who now have their own businesses to lean on.
Today is World Humanitarian Day, the annual day where we celebrate humanitarians all over the world who work every day to save lives even in some of the world’s most dangerous countries. This year the world is celebrating women humanitarians as often they are on the front lines in our world’s worst crises.
We know that it can be especially harrowing to be an aid worker in countries like Syria, Yemen, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. We appreciate all of their efforts to continue to work even in dangerous circumstances. Read 24 hours of stories of women front line humanitarians on worldhumanitarianday.org.
Today, I would like to celebrate an aid worker I met in the Philippines when I traveled with World Vision USA to see their life-saving work after the devastating typhoon, Haiyan. Her name is Mai Zamora and she left an indelible impression on me. She was always upbeat despite the number of families who were in need of everything from food and jobs to housing and clothing. And, she was always available for questions and has personal stories about how she fared during the typhoon. When I met her, she was the definition of an aid worker to me along with her colleagues who are still doing amazing work in the Philippines and around the world.
We often think about poverty and how to fix it. There isn’t one magic bullet that moves people out of poverty. However, there are a few tenets about reducing poverty in families who live in underserved communities that work nearly every time and those are working directly with women and giving them financial tools to empower their lives and those around them.
Kiva, a leading lender in micro-loans financed by everyday people, is celebrating International Women’s Day by highlighting how they facilitate this year’s theme of “Balance of Better”. While women make up 40% of the world’s workers globally, 75% of them do not have access to credit, loans, and savings. To help women-owned businesses, you can give money to finance their businessesand today on International Women’s Day your donation will be matched to fund 10,000 businesswomen. Generous funders will match up to $1.5 million dollars today, March 8.
One woman who has been helped by Kiva, Regina, survived human trafficking – and now her clothing store is also a sanctuary for those affected by it
Regina Evans, Oakland resident, owns a store calledRegina’s Door, a theater and apparel shop that also serves as a community spot and a haven to those affected by human trafficking. In the past, she’s hired survivors of trafficking, and put on in-store programming for survivors including healing circles, improv, spoken word, and poetry. When Regina’s doors first swung open, she had no back stock, working with only 35 pieces of clothing and a 3-month lease. A month later, 193 Kiva lenders supported a $5,000 loan for Regina to purchase stock and buy simple necessities like hangers and an “open” sign. “That was like a million dollars to me,” Regina says of the loan.
Yesterday global women’s and children’s advocates sounded the alarm regarding alleged strong-arming by US delegates at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. The issue at hand was the rights of women regarding their choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding.
According to the New York Times, the US delegation sought to remove the language in a pro-breastfeeding resolution that compelled countries to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” and to remove any restrictions on formula that many global health experts contend is harmful to infants and toddlers.
The US delegation threatened Ecuador (the sponsoring country for the resolution) with devasting trade measures and a reduction in military aid. Ecuador acquiesced as did many more African and Latin American countries until Russia stepped up to sponsor the resolution, a country the US could not threaten.
Lucy M. Sullivan, Executive Director of 1000 Days, tweeted an entire thread about what was happening at the World Health Assembly in May.
Thread. A battle over #breastfeeding has been brewing this week at @WHO headquarters at the #WHA71 where countries are negotiating a resolution on infant and young child feeding #IYCF. 1/
Venezuela sits on the world’s biggest oil reserves, but in terms of GDP growth per capita, it’s now South America’s poorest economy. It is mired the worst economic crisis in its history, with an inflation rate in the region of 500%, a volatile exchange rate, and crippling debts that have increased fivefold since 2006.
The economic crisis is inflaming a longstanding “economic war” between the government and the business sector – and a dangerous cycle of protest and repression is further polarising Venezuela’s already divided society.
In this scenario, violence of all sorts is approaching what could be a point of no return. The very ability of democracy to combine forces of transformation and resistance is at stake.