“If I hadn’t been married at 14 I would have liked to continue my studies.” Santana Murmu, an 18 year-old married mother of two, is from West Bengal, India. She shared her story in New York City at the launch of the Citizens’ Hearing Global Report. It was an important choice of day – the same day as the opening of a UN Summit that saw 17 new global goals adopted.
Santana works as a citizen reporter on women, children, and youth health issues in India. She actively campaigns against early marriage, and is strong advocate for safe motherhood – which means access to trained and compassionate care for pregnant women and new mothers. She works with White Ribbon Alliance to accomplish these goals.
White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) works to ensure safety for women before, during, and after childbirth. They do this by uniting citizens who share this vision, and helping them work together to ensure policies and systems are put into place to ensure women are well treated and receive the care they need.
WRA activist Winfred Ongom, participated in a +SocialGood master class panel in advance of the Social Good Summit, called ‘Getting Beyond Lip Service for the World’s Mothers.’ Working with WRA in Uganda, Winfred knows the power of mothers as their own advocates. During the conversation we heard, “when you become a mother you become an activist.” In her work, Winfred takes that to heart, helping mothers in Uganda understand what they have been promised and helping them speak up for their rights.
The Citizen’s Hearing Report allows for community voices to be heard by world leaders. WRA has partnered with other organizations on the launch of the report, which prioritizes listening to citizens’ voices in the creation and implementation of policies and actions. Their message is simple and strong: nothing about us without us.
White Ribbon Alliance knows that healthy mothers make a healthy world. They know that the best way to find out what mothers need is to ask them directly. When leaders listen to the voices of the people they serve, the best ideas and plans can be put into place, making sure moms are healthy before, during, and after pregnancy.
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You can learn more about the work of White Ribbon Alliance, follow them on facebook, twitter, and Instagram, and make a donation to support the work they do in keeping women healthy on their journey to motherhood. Look for the hashtag #CitizensPost for progress on the Citizen’s Hearing Report.