As the UN General Assembly begins a new session and leaders from all over the world come together to tackle our biggest problems, we're starting conversations at HuffPost on a handful of big initiatives that focus on ways to improve people's lives in the developing world.
As a child growing up in the rural outskirts of Hong Kong, "wash your hands" was a frequent -- and wise -- admonition. The simple act of eating a piece of fruit or a chocolate bar with soiled fingers and licking those delicious flavors off already dirty hands may have resulted in a stomachache, or so much worse. I was lucky. Even today, intestinal worms caused by lack of access to water for handwashing affects nearly a quarter of the people on this planet.
Millions of people in impoverished countries are alive today because a midwife was by their side when they gave birth, or they were vaccinated as infants by a nurse, or because their families learned from a community health worker to adopt healthy behaviors like breastfeeding, hand washing, birth spacing, and sleeping under a mosquito net.
Yes, improved sanitation has improved the lives of billions of people all over the world, and it's important to note that success. But we need to make some course corrections. The stakes are just too high. Leaving billions of people to live with "improved sanitation" that includes untreated sewage--that's an economic, environmental, and humanitarian catastrophe.
The problem of mental illness has long been ignored. In the fast paced and complex world we live in, the time has now come that it cannot be neglected anymore.
The driving force behind PeaceJam's mission is an incredible "let's do it ourselves" attitude -- which is a constant reminder that every single one of us matters, that every single one of us can make a difference, and that together, we are unstoppable.
Women can be agents of change in development and in global health. If we do more for women and girls we can achieve better results.
Products and services that are purchased -- even at very low prices -- are far more likely to be used. Thus, the marketing of contraceptives and family planning services can be a highly cost-effective way of helping couples improve their lives.
What can you accomplish in one minute? You could put away your shoes or read 250 words--but with the right training, you could save a newborn's life. Here's how.
The number of children who die from things we can prevent should be ZERO. And it can be. With new vaccines, technology and programs, we can finish the job we started -- but only if we work faster, better and together.
As a nation we can't make progress toward achieving sexual health until we push past the fiery debates and find common ground in the facts.
What would we do differently tomorrow if we knew that the lives of 16 million women and children were at stake? Because they are. In the three years since the launch of Every Woman, Every Child, 260 entities have committed nearly $60 billion to programs intended to save and improve the lives of the world's most vulnerable women and children.
There is no legal minimum age for girls to marry in Yemen and the only legal protection for girls is a prohibition on sexual intercourse until the age of puberty. Yemen's transitional authorities have failed to seriously address child marriage.
We are thrilled to be in Uganda to recognize the achievements of EngenderHealth's Fistula Care project, the largest U.S. government-funded initiative to treat and prevent obstetric fistula in more than 10 countries throughout Africa and Asia.
A first-time mother is especially vulnerable. She is younger, less experienced, and often feels isolated and less empowered amid her husband's family. Mobile messages delivered via voice or text are a simple way to inform, support, and educate her with accurate health information.
Many women routinely face violence and sexual attacks. And when it comes time to have kids, childbirth can mean life or death for many of these women.
As leaders in Russia and around the world turn increasing attention to establishing the post-2015 development agenda, let's raise our voices to make sure that safety, equality, and empowerment for girls and women are at the top of that agenda.
In his book Organizing Genius, Warren Bennis notes that the world's greatest problems can be solved only by creative collaboration and that "the most urgent collaborations require the coordinated contributions of many talented people." Public-private partnerships that bring together the best talents, expertise, and resources from the government, non-profit and business sectors have proven essential for tackling the most complex challenges in global health and international development.
When my daughter, Alexandra "Alex" Scott, told a reporter in 2004 that she wanted to raise $1 million to help find a cure for childhood cancer, the first thing that went through many people's minds (including mine) was -- that's impossible.
Studies have shown that half of the reduction in child deaths in the last 20 years is the result of increases in mothers' general level of education. 4 million children are alive today because their mothers got an education.