Thursday, September 11, 2008

Advocating for Women: Stories from the Field

Thank you for joining us today to hear first hand about our experiences in Madagascar, Mexico and Nepal. We look forward to hearing your questions, comments, and your own personal experiences from visits to low income countries. Make your comments below or ask a question in the Post a Comment section below. You'll find out responses there as well!

From Rita Henley Jensen

As I write this, I have around my neck a string of beads and cloth sent to me by the women staying in Ethiopia's Tattered Rose, a resting place for women waiting to undergo fistula surgery. The founder, Rebekah Kiser, has been named a Leader for the 21st Century by Women's eNews. An independent sales consultant for Mary Kay. Rebekah founded Tattered Rose after a trip to Ethiopia. Women’s eNews heard about her and wanted to share the story with a much broader audience.

As Editor in Chief of Women’s eNews my job is to keep asking questions and supplying the answers about the issues women around the world face on a daily basis and the solutions to those challenges. I am delighted to participate in this on-line forum—which will introduce you to three women who change their own communities everyday. I welcome your thoughts and questions.

Jesse Laymon, Dang Valley, Nepal

For a newbie world traveler like me, Dang Valley, Nepal was a series of firsts: first flight on Buddha Air (tiny plane), first ride in a UN jeep along the bumpy roads of a rural outpost, and then, to my utter shock, first ceremonial welcome… Aasmani is an impressive woman by anyone’s standards. Only a few years older than me, 15 years ago she began organizing small groups of Tharu women to pool their money and save it. For years she was resisted by the men in the community, by the local rebel leaders, and even by some of the women themselves. ...READ MORE AND WATCH VIDEOS

Tanitra Partivit, Oaxaca, Mexico

Having travelled frequently to around the world it struck me as strange that before this summer, I had never gone to Mexico. Right across the border, perhaps I always thought that it was too close and not exotic enough…MarĂ­a del Carmen Elu Cayado is a famous social anthropologist who, early in her career, stumbled upon the high maternal mortality rate in Mexico. She has spent the last 40 years getting the Mexican government to include safe motherhood programs in their national health policies…We went to the village of Tlahuitoltepec, which is about three hours into the Sierre Madre mountains. The driver seemed to have our van confused with a Fiat. There was no slowing this man down. ...READ MORE AND WATCH VIDEOS

Joanne Zurcher, Tana, Madagascar

Though I’ve seen the animated movie one too many times with my four-year-old son, I had never thought seriously about visiting Madagascar. But I found myself on my way to visit this African nation and meet Dr. Mathilde Rabary… I was six months pregnant on this trip so this was particularly interesting to me. We toured both a rural health center and a UNFPA-funded hospital in the capital Tana… Dr. Rabary has a powerful presence about her, yet she is extremely humble. In the week that we spent with her, I developed such a regard for her that it was particularly gratifying for me to attend an event where she receiving recognition and support for her programs from various other non-government organizations and elected officials from around Madagascar. ...READ MORE AND WATCH MOVIES

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Upcoming Event: Advocating for Women: Stories from the Field

When: Thursday, September 11, 1pm-3pm EST
Where: Americans for UNFPA blog (
What: An interactive online forum, moderated by Rita Henley Jensen of Women’s eNew


This summer, three Americans for UNFPA staff members made their first trips to the field to witness the lifesaving work of UNFPA in Madagascar, Mexico and Nepal.

We met with women who exemplify how one woman can make a difference and documented their stories with photoblogs and videos.

On Thursday, September 11, we will feature these stories and our experiences in an interactive online forum moderated by Rita Henley Jensen of Women’s eNews.

Dr. Rabary, Dr. Elu and Ms. Chaudary advocate in support of local women. At Americans for UNFPA we advocate for the U.S. to support their work.

Join us between 1:00 and 3:00 on Thursday as we discuss the health and rights of women globally and what it means to us here in the United States. Ask questions about our trips and the programs we visited, and feel free to offer your own experiences with inspiring women from around the world.

Log on to the forum between 1:00 and 3:00 PM EST on Thursday, September 11.