Recently, we were able to connect one of the members of our community, Audrey, to Rose. Rose was then able to connect Audrey to her local White Ribbon Alliance representative. At its core, the Alliance is focused on local people advocating and acting for themselves and their communities.
Governments around the world have pledged over $70 billion in resources to tackle the outrage of 800 women and 8,500 babies dying every day due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth—complications that are largely preventable. During the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the White Ribbon Alliance has gathered country representatives from India, Nepal and Tanzania to tell their personal stories and the stories of the women they serve. They are also here to raise their voices to world leaders and challenge them to release the funding they have already committed to maternal health.
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, as a network of volunteer citizens, is holding governments accountable for the pledges made on the world stage, helping to release government funds, and ensuring these are spent properly, so that many thousands of lives can be saved.
“A third fewer mothers are dying in pregnancy and childbirth today compared to 20 years ago. This is the best indicator of what the White Ribbon Alliance has always known—we can stop mothers from dying. They can bring up their children, ensure they are fed, educated and loved. Our message at the UNGA is that leaders need to deliver the $70 billion pledged now – to make pregnancy and childbirth a time of joy and hope for all women around the world.”
~ Sarah Brown, Global Patron, the White Ribbon Alliance
Rose and her colleagues are here in New York to remind world leaders about us—to remind them about a member of this community, Audrey, who almost died birthing her two children. The second time was due to the placenta not being properly delivered, probably because the attending nurse was not properly trained.
So how does unlocking the funds already pledged to this cause save lives? The funds pay for midwives, facilities, training, essential medications and recruitment. Grassroots activism works! Recently, a local White Ribbon Alliance group organized citizens in Uganda to ignite a campaign of citizen pressure that led to a 20 percent hike in the government’s budget for maternal health to save women’s lives. In the large and remote district of Kabale there were only 14 midwives to serve thousands of women. White Ribbon Alliance Uganda members persuaded the release of extra funds. As a result, the number of midwives tripled.
The Take Action Challenge: The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood needs funding to support members around the world to hold their governments accountable for the funds and actions they have promised to maternal health. Every dollar you donate will help them release the millions promised to stop women and babies dying in pregnancy and childbirth. Donate now at WhiteRibbonAlliance.org/donate. You can learn more about the work of our amazing partner at WhiteRibbonAlliance.org and follow their activities this week at the UNGA and around the world on Twitter and Facebook.
Watch this short video of White Ribbon Alliance Citizens’ Voices and just some of what the team has been doing in New York on behalf of their people this week.