Meet ONE Moms Elizabeth Atalay and Nicole Melancon – both world travelers, advocates, and social good digital journalists who met at a blogging conference several years ago. Although they live across the country from one another, they have frequently worked together on campaigns with ONE, World Moms Blog, and Mom Bloggers for Social Good to advocate for global health, and to help alleviate poverty. On June 14th the pair will embark on an epic two-week journey as international reporting fellows with the International Reporting Project (IRP) and seven other fellows. The New Media Fellowship focuses on newborn health, a topic critical in Ethiopia’s fight against extreme poverty, and to continue improvements in maternal, newborn, and child health.
After meeting up in the capital city, Addis Ababa, They will travel to remote regions of the country where they will meet with a diverse group of people and organizations. They will visit rural mothers, frontline health care workers, NGOs, and government officials to learn about maternal, newborn and child health, immunizations, nutrition, communicable diseases, and health care provision.
“In a country in which 95% of the population lives outside of an urban center in rural, remote and hard to reach areas and a shocking 90% of women birth at home without a midwife, Frontline Health Care Workers (FHCW) have been the key ingredient to Ethiopia’s success. Meeting some of these workers and mothers, and sharing their stories is sure to be a highlight, and a life-changing experience for both of us.”
An inspired journey
“Back in 2012, we both followed a group of fellow ONE Moms through social media as they set off for Ethiopia. Throughout that trip the ONE Moms met with women and shared the stories of mothers and children they met around the country. These stories stayed with us, from the emotional one about Mary Joy organization and the orphans and HIV-positive children it supports, to the uplifting one from the FashionABLE headquarters where women were spinning out beautiful scarfs on their way to becoming self sufficient.
The beauty of Ethiopia, both the people and the landscape shown in their stories and photographs, lingered in our minds as well. We are both mothers, with six children between us, so hearing our fellow ONE Moms talk about the heartbreaking facts from their trip turned us into passionate advocates for Maternal and Newborn health.
The knowledge that in 2012 around 6.6 million children died before the age of five from mostly preventable causes, or that only 10% of women in Ethiopia give birth in a health center, inspired our work. These numbers mean that most maternal and newborn deaths in developing countries could be prevented with proper medical care. Individually we each applied for the International Reporting Project New Media Fellowship to report on newborn health in Ethiopia. We were thrilled to learn that we had both been selected as fellows, and would once again be working together, this time in Ethiopia.”
The ONE Moms
Elizabeth Atalay is a documentarian and advocate for global health. She is a digital media producer at documama.org, a ONEMoms Community Partner, Member of The Global Team of 200, Senior Editor at World Moms Blog, world traveler, writer, wife and mother.
Nicole Melancon is a Minneapolis-based freelance journalist, traveler and global volunteer who shares her passion for travel, culture and social good on Thirdeyemom. She is also a world voice editor for World Moms Blog, and a regular contributor to The Elephant Journal and The Huffington Post, where she focuses on global health, human rights, motherhood, poverty and the environment. Melancon is an advocate for ONE, the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life campaign and other nonprofit organizations. In 2013, she traveled to India as a member of Mom Bloggers for Social Good to report on water, sanitation, newborn health and education. She majored in French and International Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Nicole and Elizabeth will attempt to bring you along by posting the ONE Moms blog and reporting from the hashtag #EthiopiaNewborns. Check out this Twitter feed for live updates from their trip:
Tweets about “#ethiopianewborns”
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is based at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the John Hopkins University and the primary goal of the IRP is to provide journalists with the opportunity to report internationally on issues not traditionally covered in mainstream media.
The program was created in 1998, making it a pioneer in the “nonprofit journalism” movement that seeks to fill the gap left by much of the mainstream media’s reduction of international news. The IRP has provided opportunities to more than 400 journalists to report from more than 100 countries and produce award-winning stories.