Tinkering with Human Embryos More Brazen than Ever

first_imgSecular biologists want to see how long they can keep embryos in a dish before killing them.You can feel the undercurrent in Nature News’ story about a new record for keeping human embryos alive: they want to extend it past the 14-day limit set by international agreement. Sara Reardon writes:The work, reported this week in Nature and Nature Cell Biology, also raises the possibility that scientists could soon culture embryos to an even more advanced stage. Doing so would raise ethical, as well as technical, challenges. Many countries and scientific societies ban research on human embryos that are more than 14 days old; in light of this, the authors of the studies ended their experiments before this point.The proverbial angel on the shoulder cries, This is unethical. The devil cries, The old rules are outdated. Do it! Do it! We all know what “ended their experiments”. It’s a euphemism for “killed them.” Is there nothing left of human exceptionalism? Look at the attitude of this secular biologist:Scientists have well understood the earliest stages of life in many other animals for decades. “It’s really embarrassing at the beginning of the twenty-first century that we know more about fish and mice and frogs than we know about ourselves,” says Ali Brivanlou, a developmental biologist at the Rockefeller University in New York City and lead author of the study in Nature. “This is a bit difficult to explain to my students.”Humans are just another animal, in other words. Dissection after death is one thing—medical students profit from dissecting cadavers donated to science—but to take a helpless, developing human embryo and watch it for days or weeks and then kill it is different. If Brivanlou extended his reasoning, why not treat humans like lab rats to know more about them? We grow lab rats and inject them with cancer. We stuff them with drugs and watch what happens. We wring their little necks. Why were the German scientists culpable at the Nuremburg trials? Weren’t they trying to understand humans to know more about them? Did good intentions excuse what they did? There’s nothing in Brivanlou’s argument to forbid experimentation on live humans except the number of days of gestation and development. He shouldn’t find the ethical reasons we treat animals differently hard to explain to his students. He could tell them he is thankful mad scientists didn’t play with his embryo.Brivanlou’s argument also begs the question that growing human embryos in a dish is the only way to learn about them. Modern technology has provided numerous ethical ways to study human development without killing the subject, including advanced imaging with ultrasound, MRI and CT. If an embryo is stillborn or dies from natural causes (without intentional killing, as with abortion), then the parents can offer the embryo to science. Why are scientists chomping at the bit to play with human embryos and kill them?But their achievements in the lab may be grounds for re-examining the limit, says George Daley, a stem-cell researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston in Massachusetts. He says that it is somewhat arbitrary. Such a debate would be complex and heated, and it could reach beyond researchers working directly with human embryos. If scientists succeed in growing stem cells into embryo-like structures, it could be difficult to determine whether the structures count as embryos, and thus are subject to the 14-day rule. “It’s an interesting ethical discussion we’ve got ahead of us here,” says Pera.The latest success at keeping embryos alive for 13 days raises the perennial-haunting question of when life begins. Presumably, the 14-day limit was set in place as the time of gastrulation, when an embryo can no longer divide into twins, and thus (as the thinking goes), becomes an “individual.” Conservatives and theologians consider life to begin at fertilization. On Breakpoint this week, John Stonestreet commented on the flash of light that occurs when sperm meets egg. Is this not an empirically observable marker for the “spark of life” that commences the beginning of a new individual human being? See the “fireworks” for yourself in a video clip on The Guardian.The BBC News merely notes that some scientists want to “reconsider” the 14-day limit. “It is an area that could spark huge ethical debate in the coming years,” James Gallagher reports, considering only pro-extension arguments, failing to quote any conservative ethicist providing reasons for not cutting up human embryos and treating them as scientific lab rats.Even 14 days is not enough for the extreme secular progressives. New Scientist tries to push the origin of personhood to 8 weeks, months, and longer:Only gradually, at about 8 weeks, does the embryo become a fetus with the essential organs at least roughly mapped out. Only much later is the nervous system developed, and only much, much later does the fetus have the capacity to feel pain.A primitive streak is not a nervous system. A bunch of cells is not an organised human being in any robust biological sense. A number of days does not define life.Well, then, if it’s not the number of days, that means zero days, does it not? Logically, that should refer to the time of conception. On what basis will they define a human life in a “robust biological sense” that could not be fudged in the future? If scientists succeed in pushing the limit here, future scientists will continue pushing it more and more, following the same line of reasoning. It’s not really human till a week after birth. It’s not really human till kindergarten. The elderly are not really human. Beware, “new scientist,” when they come for thee.To Christians and Jews, all humans have dignity and value, being created in the image of God. The Bible speaks of individuals as fully  human persons even as they are in the womb, such as in Psalm 136, Jeremiah 1 and Luke 1. Every pregnant woman (except, perhaps, those brainwashed by Planned Parenthood) knows that she carries a unique individual in her body. No distinction is made for when God starts knitting together our inward parts; it is not after 8 days, or 14, or 8 weeks. It is not for man to set a limit. When sperm joins to egg, the entire unique genome of an individual comes together. That is the most distinctive moment at which everyone can affirm with certainty that life begins. If you don’t want the special interests to win by default, you must engage the debate. Take the information we and other conservative organizations provide you with and use them to urge your elected leaders from letting scientists erode the value of human life. (Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

BJP tells Jammu & Kashmir unit to prepare for polls

first_imgThe national leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party in New Delhi on Tuesday told the Jammu and Kashmir core group of the party to start preparing for the Assembly election in the State. BJP working president J.P. Nadda chaired a meeting of State unit leaders in New Delhi, along with Jitendra Singh, BJP general secretary in charge of Jammu and Kashmir and Minister of State at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).Onus on EC“We have already said that we wanted the polls as soon as possible. The Election Commission had decided that the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls could not be held together and security forces were also required for the Amarnath Yatra. We will be ready to face polls anytime the Commission decides,” BJP State unit chief Ravindra Raina said after the meeting. The meeting that went on for a couple of hours also went into the details about booth-level preparedness and campaign strategy. “The basic point that was conveyed was that scamsters and various other players in the state have been rattled after measures such as the raids on the Jammu and Kashmir Bank an the successful conduct of the panchayat elections. These players are therefore creating confusion and deflecting from the real development that is being done and raising extraneous issues such as why additional central forces were deployed, etc. Party leaders have been told to keep the focus on development issues and action on corruption,” said a senior party leader. No discussion was held on the abrogation of Article 35A or Article 370. Poll strategy“The meeting was purely on strategy for the polls, how to strengthen our booth level preparedness, and what shape the campaign should be. Our aim is to be the single largest party there,” said the source. Government sources earlier told The Hindu that “security personnel in Kashmir have been in an extended duty without break for a long time for anti-terror operations followed by elections. So the infusion of personnel is basically to replace those going on leave.” Senior ministers also said that panchayat heads, newly elected, will also be hoisting the tricolour in their respective panchayats on August 15, India’s Independence Day, and therefore additional security was to be provided for that too. Jammu and Kashmir is currently under President’s Rule with the Parliament having cleared a six-month extension in this session itself.last_img read more

No blanket ban on Russia for Rio Olympics: IOC,No blanket ban on Russia for Rio Olympics: IOC

first_imgSHARE SHARE EMAIL sport The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected clarion calls for Russia to be banned from next month’s Rio Olympics over the nation’s doping record, offering athletes a lifeline by ruling that decisions on individual competitors will be left to the international sports federations.The IOC’s decision on Sunday, less than two weeks before the Rio Games opens on August 5, follows the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) call for a blanket ban in response to the independent McLaren report that found evidence of state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.“I think in this way, we have balanced on the one hand, the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete,” IOC President Thomas Bach said on a conference call.“In this way we are protecting the clean athletes because of the high criteria we set. This may not please everybody, but this result is one which is respecting the rules of justice and all the clean athletes all over the world.”WADA and 14 national anti-doping organisations had urged the IOC to impose a blanket ban in the wake of the damning McLaren report, but former Olympic fencing champion Bach said that Russian sportsmen and women “will have to clear the highest hurdle to take part in the Olympics”.’Confusing mess’The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said the IOC had failed to show leadership with its decision.“Many, including clean athletes and whistleblowers, have demonstrated courage and strength in confronting a culture of state-supported doping and corruption within Russia,” USADA chief Travis Tygart said.“Disappointingly, however, in response to the most important moment for clean athletes and the integrity of the Olympic Games, the IOC has refused to take decisive leadership. The decision regarding Russian participation and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes.”Russia’s Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, said the decision cleared the way for Russian participation.“I hope that the majority of international federations will very promptly confirm the right of (Russian) sportspeople in different types of sports to take part in the Olympic Games,” Mutko said.The International Tennis Federation wasted no time in clearing the seven Russian players nominated for Rio. The ITF said the players have been subject to a rigorous anti-doping programme outside Russia, which it considers sufficient to meet the IOC’s requirements.Spotless record requiredFor individuals to be allowed to compete at Rio they must have a spotless international record on drug testing, the IOC said, adding athletes who have been sanctioned in the past for doping will not be eligible.That would dash the hopes of middle-distance runner Yulia Stepanova, the whistleblower and former drug cheat whose initial evidence led to one of the biggest doping scandals in decades.The IOC had said this week that it would not organise or give patronage to any sports event in Russia and that no member of the Russian Sports Ministry implicated in the McLaren report would be accredited for Rio.It also ordered the immediate re-testing of all Russian athletes from the Sochi Olympics.Though a series of international federations, anti-doping agencies and athletes have since called for a blanket ban, some have said they are against punishing innocent athletes.“It would be quite difficult for us to think we should ban an entire team, which will include some cyclists who are not implicated in any of these stories we’ve been hearing,” said Brian Cookson, president of the International Cycling Union.“We’re going to have to look at it case by case, rider by rider and team by team. At the end of the day, Russians are not the only sportsmen or women who have been found doping.”Russian officials and government officers have said the doping allegations are part of a Western conspiracy against their country.Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned that the affair could split the Olympic movement, bringing echoes of the 1980s. The United States led a political boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games and the Soviet Union led an Eastern Bloc boycott of the Los Angeles Games four years later. COMMENTS Published on July 24, 2016 SHARE Russia COMMENTlast_img read more


first_imgThe ATA recognises the important role Touch Associations play within the larger sporting community. Communication is vital at this level and is often achieved through the dedication of volunteers who have an active passion for the club or association. The ATA has identified ways to better deliver efficient services to club and association administrators in the context of the Internet. We have available proven and innovative Internet tools for an association administrator’s use in order to enhance the experience for your participants and reduce the overall workload. The following two testimonials are from the Brisbane Metropolitan Touch and Adelaide City Associations currently using the Sportzware Competition and Membership software. “Sportzware has cut the time I spend in half on building and running our competitions. In addition the ability to market and communicate to team’s players and officials via the email function is invaluable. The growth and professionalism of the City Touch Club would not be possible with out Sporting Pulse.” Gavin Macdonald Competition & Events Manager City Touch “Brisbane Metropolitan Touch Association has been using Sporting Pulse for 5 seasons now and has found it a great system to use. We are the largest competition in Queensland with approximately 240 senior teams per season and about 70 junior teams. All of our draws are conducted on the system and uploaded to the website for all our members to have access. We have reduced number of calls to our office by up to 50 %, with most teams now finding times of games on the website, or using the automatic reminder system. Saving us many hours on the phone, that can be put back into administration of the sport. With the ability to keep members on the database from season to season, we now have an extensive database of members that could be used for anything from sponsorship to keeping in touch with members. We also now have many of our teams and clubs using the newsletter section of the website to inform their own team players of current news. We use the website for notification of wet weather games in conjunction with our 1300 wet weather number; this has also reduced our calls by about 50% on wet days. The ability for the system to produce all my scorecard labels saves us hours of work, and the sign on sheets for teams is also time saving. The system still has many features that I am still to utilize, such as the player tribunal section, the touch downs for each player etc. With the system continually being upgraded and sportingpluse giving excellent support, I would recommend any association to use the program.” Michelle Fletcher Administrator Brisbane City Touch The SportingPulse and the ATA package will allow your sporting organisation to: * Administer all your competitions with our state of the art Competition Management Software * Place your competitions ladders, fixtures and results on the Internet * Easily administer your organisation’s web site * Reach your members through our centralised communication platform * Take advantage of our “top tier” Internet access deals for your sporting organisation and your members * Manage your membership registration via our secure Member Database Solution * Receive training and support in competition management and web design * Generate revenue through our partnership fund-raising opportunities * The ATA exists to serve Touch participants. As players strive to reach their individual and team goals, the ATA provides Internet facilities to enhance that buzz and energy that comes from playing sport for the love of it. The ATA program has features that enhance the life of every sporting participant. From a publishing forum to report the dizzying heights and the terrible defeats of the games, to automated game reminder emails. Jon Pratt Event and IT Manager Australian Touch Associationlast_img read more

2017 NYC September Hardwrap

first_imgView your copy of the 2017 September Hardwrap Magazine now!The Hard Wrap Magazine is published by Touch Football Australia on a bi-annual basis and is devoted to the events and news that have been making headlines.Catch up on the latest news and information in the touch world from the past six months.  Check out our Around the Grounds segment, teams lists, Masters Trans Tasman team previews and much more!Hardwrap E-Zine versionlast_img

Be Prepared: 5 Steps to Managing a PR Crisis

first_imgExpect the best, prepare for the worst. Sounds a little gloomy, but it’s actually a great strategy. If your nonprofit has a communications plan in hand when a PR crisis hits, you’ll be glad you followed that motto. How well you emerge from a crisis hinges on how well you manage your message. 4. Restore.  The worst is over, so it’s time to focus on restoring your good reputation within the community. Keep sending out positive news through your communications channels. Update those channels early and often—more frequently than in calmer times. Share press releases, testimonials, blog posts, and so on about the great work you’ve been doing and continue to do. Whatever the format, optimize this flurry of positive online content for search engines. This will help restore your good reputation, but equally important, it will fix your SEO by pushing crisis-related results off the front page of a Web search about your organization. Out of sight, out of mind. 5. Learn.  Convene your crisis team and talk about what went well and what you’d do differently next time. Ask your key stakeholders for feedback. Include key members of your board and staff in this conversation.Did you minimize the story or let it drag on? How could you have better managed the news cycle? Did you act quickly enough? Did you hold back too much info? Roll this feedback into a revised crisis plan. These five steps are simple enough to implement whether you have just one person handling communications or an entire team. 1. Plan.  We often don’t believe we’ll find ourselves in a crisis situation and don’t plan in advance. Trust us, it can happen. Before trouble strikes, assemble your crisis team. These are people who work well together and can deliver your message calmly and consistently. Brainstorm potential crisis scenarios. Talk about if and how your organization will respond in certain situations. Prepare templates of press releases, blog posts, Web pages, even tweets and status updates that you can quickly customize to fit any situation. Not having to start from scratch when everything’s going haywire helps your team stay calm and focused.center_img 3. Monitor.  Always know what’s going on in your market. This is another area where having monitoring channels in place makes life easier. These could include traditional clipping services as well as digital channels like social media. It helps to know what people are saying about your organization and whether it’s positive or negative. A crisis doesn’t happen very often, but don’t press your luck. Create or revise your communications plan, and you’ll be ready for the next storm that blows your way. Adapted from the Nonprofit 911 webinar “Crisis Communications for Nonprofits” with Susan Kearney, COO of Network for Good. Download the full webinar. 2. Communicate.  Get your social media monitoring in place so you can spot a potential situation before it gets out of control. If you start noticing spikes of negativity, pay attention and nip it in the bud. If the issue spirals, remember the goal of crisis communications is to minimize the news cycle. Get out ahead of the situation with your prepared materials.Across all channels, deliver a consistent message. Whether it’s the evening news, local newspaper, your website or blog, people should hear consistent info about the facts of the issue, your response to it, what actions your taking, and what’s coming next. Be as transparent and honest as possible. The more up-front your message, the more credible your organization will appear.Social media in particular provides your group an opportunity to respond quickly. Again, be consistent. Don’t be defensive or negative, stay positive and matter-of-fact, and avoid commentary or opinion.last_img read more

How to Use Crowdfunding Websites for Nonprofits

first_imgCrowdfunding websites have proven to be extremely effective at fundraising for nonprofits as well as for private startups. The Internet and social media have made connecting with others much easier since email addresses are all handy, a message can instantly be sent to everyone you know, and there’s no cost involved.It can be awkward to ask a friend in-person to give money to your favorite charity, but social media makes it as normal and easy as asking people to come out to dinner. Face-to-face requests put someone on the spot, but social media is personal enough to make a connection but anonymous enough that there’s no embarrassment for anyone who does not wish to contribute.Multiple Projects Can Be Funded from One Crowdfunding WebsiteWhen you set up a page for crowdfunding, you are simply asking a lot of people to make a donation. One way universities are using crowdfunding for education is by setting up a page with a separate link for donating to each project they want to raise money for, such as sports teams, scholarships, and research equipment.Donors like to know that their money will be well-spent on things important to them, so a sports fan may be more likely to give money to help their team go to a national competition than to give to a general fund. Likewise, many people don’t care for sports, so they might not want to give money if they are concerned that it would just be used to hire a more expensive football coach, whereas they would be delighted to support adding a new collection to the library.Be sure to set up your crowdfunding site so that it provides information on each project you would like to fund.Why Fundraising Websites Work So WellYour online community is likely to be familiar with making Web-based donations. It’s hard to spend much time online and not buy something, and once that first purchase has been made, it continues to get easier for people to comfortably pay for things electronically. Some people exclusively pay or donate electronically because they like the immediate receipt and not having to keep up with paperwork, in addition to never having to haul around a checkbook or worry about cash.Make it clear on your crowdfunding page that you are asking everyone to make a charitable contribution by having a large “donate now” button on the page.Crowdfunding is based on donors sending their friends to a website to make their donations, too. Your reach is greatly increased by having friends tell friends, etc., so be sure to include icons that make it easy for your supporters to post your information directly into their own social accounts.Crowdfunding can be done successfully at little cost to you and makes it easy to reach a large audience. Utilizing these tips should make your efforts pay off more than ever before.Network for Good has a blog with more free information on how to be successful at nonprofit fundraising. We also have specialists available to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your peer fundraising efforts, so contact us today or call 1-855-229-1694.last_img read more

5 Big To-Dos for Monthly Giving Programs

first_imgOne of my favorite breakfasts is the Big-To-Do at Friendly’s. French toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon well-done! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!While this is not breakfast, it’s even more important to ‘enjoy’. So, if you’re serious about your monthly giving program, make sure that you follow these 5 Big To-Dos.Big To-Do 1: Ask for Small Monthly AmountsI have done a number of ask amount tests and time and again, I see that the low monthly ask amounts beat the higher monthly ask amountsThe key with any monthly giving program is that you’re building up the program and your goal is to bring in as many new monthly donors as possible. Once they get ‘hooked’ and see how easy and affordable it on for their wallet, you can absolutely upgrade them later!Remember that monthly donors are typically those donors who cannot write the big checks. You can start your first ask as low as $5 or $10. You really can upgrade donors later. Just think of it this way. If you can convert a one-time $35 donor to a $10 a month donor, you’ve just tripled their annual gift to a nice $120 a year! So don’t be too greedy at first… Ask Low!Big To-Do 2: Organize the BasicsBefore you send out your first promotion, you must have the basics in place. That means writing the thank you letter, updating the email thank you, the auto-responder message and make sure that everybody in your organization knows that you have this new monthly donor program in place.Also make sure that you always, always, test the process yourself. So sign up with a gift and see what happens. How’s the experience, how does everything look? I’ve seen huge organizations that did not do that and their thank you emails were totally wrong! What a way to lose a new monthly donor.Monthly donors do not need monthly thank you letters each time their gift is processed. They’re rather you spend the funds on your mission. But do consider a tax letter every January with information about the donor’s donations for the year. Make sure you have written the procedure for your data-entry department. And think through the process for what happens if someone’s card expires. You can download a free sample tax letter template and sample email from A Direct Solution, and download free Recurring Donor Communication Templates from Network for Good.Just take a little extra time to think through the process before you think about your marketing and you don’t have to worry about it later. You can market to your heart’s content because everything is in place!Big To-Do 3: Make It EasyI often talk to organizations that created a special monthly giving page, but when I go to look for it on their website, I can’t find it. There’s no direct link from the home page. So how can you expect your donors to find it? In this day and age, donors can either go to the website on their own accord or you can drive them there. If you drive them via social media or email, you can put the link to the page, which makes it a lot easier.But if someone is new to your organization and your site and he or she is considering a donation, the easier you make it, the more likely it is that the donor joins your monthly giving program. So, the first step is to make sure to add your monthly giving option as part of your pull down menu on ways to give, right from the home page.Then, if you really want to start growing your program, put the recurring giving option front and center, right on the one-time donation page, so donors can’t get around it. Make it the first option! Make it easy to find and donors will join.Big To-Do 4: Think Long Term and Make a PlanBuilding a monthly giving program takes time. It’s not something you build overnight. It’s really a long-term approach, aimed at your smaller donors and it will truly improve your donor retention rates and thus impact your organization’s revenue.You’re asking your donors to make a long-term commitment (for example, I’ve seen organizations with monthly donors who have been giving that way for 20 years). So, make sure you have that same long-term commitment.Think how you can convert your donors to monthly donors, this year, the next and make a plan. I’m a strong believer in written plans and goals. Those organizations that consistently work towards a monthly giving goal and make sure that the program is part of their overall communication strategy, and stick to the plan, they’ll reach their goal! Just think, if you currently have 1% of your donors giving monthly, what would happen if you could increase that to 5% or 20%?(If you’re interested in making some projections of your potential, download my free monthly donor calculator).Big To-Do 5: Ask, Ask, and Ask AgainNow that you’ve started a monthly donor program, it’s crucial to start asking and asking and asking. It’s like anything we do with fundraising. If you don’t ask, you’re not going to get.Most of the organizations I work with don’t ask enough. Once a year does not cut it!Of course it has to fit in with your overall communication strategy, but those that are really growing their program build in a monthly donor ask in every email, every mailing, every phone call they make (as long as the donors fit the criteria). Email communication is cheap. Even if you’re only sending an email newsletter every month, make sure that there’s always a link to your monthly donor program. Use a testimonial and find a few opportunities to send out messages with one story, one ask, join our monthly donor program, linking to your monthly donor payment page and see what happens! What do you have to lose?The general rule of thumb applies: If you ask donors to join a monthly giving program, they will. So, start asking, as soon as you possibly can.I hope you enjoyed this Big To-Do Breakfast. There are definitely a lot more Big To-Dos on the menu, but these are the most important ones. I’d love to get your feedback if you have any you’d like to see discussed in future blogs. Just contact me at erica@adirectsolution.com And, if you’re interested in getting some help with your monthly giving program, where you can book half an hour or an hour to discuss your specific monthly donor challenges, simply check out the Monthly Giving Help Line at www.adirectsolution.comAbout Erica Waasdorp Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on Monthly donors aka Sustainers aka Recurring Giving.She is author of the book: Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant, and as President of A Direct Solution serves nonprofit organizations with their fundraising and direct marketing needs with a focus on Monthly Giving, Annual Fund and Grant writing.Erica Waasdorp has helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She writes regular guest blogs and presents webinars on monthly giving and she is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving the retention rates for your donors. You can reach her via email or by phone at (508) 776-1224last_img read more

In Service to Women’s Health: Opportunities to Advance Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Share this: Posted on March 8, 2013March 21, 2017By: Lisa Schechtman, Head of Policy and Advocacy for WaterAid in AmericaClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Water is a women’s issue.It’s an important adage, one that highlights how we expect governments to prioritize investments in safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH), and water resource management.There is a great deal of evidence behind it, too. Every year, 40 billion working hours are lost to water collection worldwide, mostly by women and girls. This violates their rights to employment and education by taking up time and energy; and their rights to safety and dignity by exposing them to injury, animal attack, and physical and sexual violence. Since the water they collect is usually unsafe, it violates their right to health, exposing them to a variety of diseases, diarrhea, and it can even contribute to uterine prolapse from carrying heavy loads.Sanitation is a women’s issue, too. Lack of sanitation, combined with poor hygiene, allows for the ingestion of fecal matter, creates breeding grounds for vectors of diseases like trachoma, and contaminates water sources. Emerging research emphasizes that lack of WASH impacts maternal health.  In fact, one estimate is that 4% of all maternal deaths can be linked to poor WASH.Any effort to improve women’s health and rights must address WASH. Yet, WASH suffers from the same siloed approach as many other health, development and human rights issues. Policies abound, from a new USAID water strategy expected soon, to the agency’s lauded Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy. It remains to be seen whether USAID will show leadership by requiring that the one be in service to the other. Or, if there will be accountability for using WASH to make the most of the US President’s Global Health and Feed the Future Initiatives, both of which recognize the role of WASH to their success while doing little to support or promote it.Recently, I analyzed the US Department of State’s annual report on compliance with the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, which mandated USAID and State prioritize WASH and water investments for the world’s poorest, and those who would benefit most from receiving access, including women and girls. There are many ways that this requirement might be met, including by providing private, secure latrines and menstrual hygiene management supplies at school, since many girls drop out once they reach adolescence. However, in spite of the fact that WASH access could address a major, direct barrier to girls’ secondary education, only 7.5% of U.S. government investments in WASH are spent in the 10 countries where women and girls have the lowest rates of secondary education completion. To me, this is a real missed opportunity—and an example of poor targeting of WASH funds for integrated approaches and cross-cutting benefits to women and girls.This and other problems like it are why the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act has had such strong, bipartisan support in both the US House and Senate in recent years. While it didn’t become law last year, we remain in need of the bill’s efforts to require improved attention to the needs of women and girls and the many positive ripple effects of providing WASH to the world’s poorest people. We stand ready to support our Congressional champions in getting the bill to the President’s desk this year. We hope you will join us.For more on the WASH and Women’s Health blog series coordinated by WASH advocates, click here, or visit WASH Advocates.last_img read more

Wilson Center Dialogue May 2: Addressing Disrespect and Abuse During Childbirth

first_imgPosted on April 24, 2013March 13, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The next event in the 2012-2013 Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health series cosponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Global Health Initiative, UNFPA, and the MHTF, the Wilson Center will host a discussion on “Addressing Disrespect and Abuse During Childbirth” next Thursday, May 2.From our colleagues at the Wilson Center:While strides have been made in providing access to maternal health care services – transportation, lower costs, education, etc. – there is evidence that quality of care, and perceptions of that quality, may be an equally important barrier. Join us in a discussion of the challenges impeding quality care and the steps being taken to overcome those challenges.The event will be held from noon to 2:00 pm at the Wilson Center, in Washington, DC. If you would like to attend in person, please click here for information on how to RSVP.In addition to the in-person event, discussion – along with others in the series – will continue on Twitter under the hashtag #MHDialogue, and video of the event will be posted on the Wilson Center website.For more on issues related to promoting respectful maternity care, check out the MHTF’s respectful maternity care resource page or the ongoing respectful maternity care guest blog series. To read a recent Atlantic article on abusive treatment during childbirth in India, click here. Webcasts are available for past events, including the April 18 dialogue on the impact of violence against women on maternal health, along with the April 4 dialogue on emerging priorities for maternal health in India. For more information on the Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health series, visit the Wilson Center Global Health Initiative or the MHTF website’s page on the dialogue series.  Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more