As the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly comes to a close, numerous commitments and actions have been made for the wellbeing of women across the world. From private sector to bilateral partners, leadership has united to promote gender equality, safe motherhood and investments in women.
On September 20, actress and newly-minted U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered an impassioned address to announce a new campaign -- HeForShe -- that aims to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates for gender equality. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was the first to ink his name in support of #HeForShe and, as Watson's words have echoed around the Internet, more than 125,000 men have committed themselves to the cause.
Other leaders, including Joy Phumaphi of the Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance, Rajiv Shah of USAID, Katja Iversen of Women Deliver and Priya Agarwal of Merck for Mothers joined the conversation to discuss ongoing work around Every Woman Every Child and the #Commit2Deliver campaign.
And, on September 23, at the Clinton Global Initiative's 10th Annual Meeting, the Calvert Foundation's Women Investing in Women Initiative announced $20 million in impact investing dollars to promote women's health and economic issues in Africa, particularly around clean cooking technologies.
The One Mama at a Time campaign, announced this week by Kangu.org, is targeted at the intersection of these important issues by expanding crowdfunding for maternal and newborn health. Nearly 90 percent of maternal deaths are preventable with access to appropriate care, all of which can be provided for as little as $250 per woman. By mobilizing new resources from untapped individual donors, the Kangu website helps ensure safe birth one mama at a time. As the first platform dedicated solely to raising funds to provide a full continuum of care for expectant mamas and their newborns, Kangu promotes equality by providing services specifically to vulnerable populations, facilitates safe motherhood by breaking down social and financial barriers to quality care and increases investments in women by connecting everyday donors directly to mamas in need.
By addressing the trifecta of equality, health and sustainable investments, Kangu seeks to create a world where all mothers have access to affordable, high quality health care and no woman needlessly loses her life while giving birth.
Building on Kangu's successful programs in Nepal and Uganda, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) and Financing for Development (F4D) announced a major expansion, which will bring the Kangu platform into Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, these organizations aim to amplify crowdfunding for safe birth to ensure that sustainable progress toward #MDG456 is achieved and that every expectant mother has access to the services she and her baby need.
Additional commitments from individuals, companies and governments are anticipated and, during this critical period in the run-up to the end of the Millennium Development Goals, they have never been more important. We must continue to drive toward a better world for women and mothers and ensure that a strong message is carried forward into the next chapter of global health and development.