It jumped out at me as I read Havi Murungi and Sarah Waitheraopen’ss open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The goal of this letter is to get Ban Ki-moon and the UN to “invest more money to enable girls to flourish and reach their potential.”
Girls in Liberia and Laos are just like my little American girl: smart, capable, full of possibility. We must help them, as we help our own daughters, to reach their goals and achieve their dreams.
We must make girls safe, educate them, and enable them to become mothers when they are ready — not when they are still children themselves.
I am proud to be participating in World Moms Blog’s campaign to get the word out about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. While CleanBirth.org focuses on MDG #4 and #5, the more we talk the MDGs the more I realize how intertwined all of the goals are, especially as far as improving life for girls.
Here they are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty/hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV, malaria, other
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Global partnership for development
When looking at these goals, through the lens of birth, they are all incredibly important.
1. If we want women and girls to have safe births and health babies, then they must have stable access to nutritious food.
2. Getting girls into school has been shown to prevent early marriage and too early pregnancy.
3. Gender equality enables women not only men to make maternal health choices: prenatal visits, medical treatment as needed, safe birthing environment, and post-natal care.
4 -5. Clearly MDGs 4 and 5 apply directly to safe birth.
6. Being disease-free is so important for both mom and baby and is a major factor in safe pregnancy, birth and post-partum recovery.
7. Environmental sustainability directly impacts the province of Laos where we work. Forests, their traditional home, are being decimated and incomes are being lost.
8. Access to affordable drugs is just one way that #8 can make birth safer.
We must look at the whole picture when we are looking at birth in Laos if we are to “…help unleash the exceptional potential of girls.”