Knowledge is Power Conference May 4-5
US Institute of Peace, Washington DC
Over 300 chapter members, leaders, grantees, staff, and volunteers gathered in Washington to celebrate DFW’s 15th Anniversary and help plan the future. The energy, sharing, laughter, and learning could not be beaten! Safe to say we all wanted the weekend to continue – how many conferences can you say that about?
See more on DFW’s Facebook and website and, if you’re not a member already – find a Chapter near you and join now!
As one wonderful grantee said at the beginning of her panel remarks, “I didn’t realize it before I came, but this feels like a secret society. You can say anything and everyone just helps you!”
Hope Through Health NYC
Togo – a tiny country in West Africa – doesn’t make it into Western news very often, but it’s getting some good press today thanks to fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Jenny Schechter and Kevin Fiori.
They are the recipients of the 2016 Sargeant Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service in recognition of their work founding Hope Through Health (HTH) a non-profit dedicated to improving health care in underserved northern Togo.
Since 2004 Hope Through Health has focused on expanding health care for the community living with HIV/AIDS. Recently, much needed Maternal and Child Health services have been added to their work.
The work of HTH is grounded firmly in sound medical research – Kevin is an MD and Jenny holds an MPH – as well as an accurate understanding of the local environment, community health dynamics, and the role of local health organizations. They deliver amazing results for very little money. Over the years, I’ve watched too many similar projects fail, falling victim to high overheads, inappropriate inputs, and an ignorance of local realities. But Hope Through Health has avoided these traps – and I’m betting they’re going to be around for a long time to come.
Read more about the Sargeant Shriver Humanitarian Service Award here.
And consider donating! All you RPCV’s: pony up! Mothers, you too! Sponsor a local community health worker for as little as $10. Give a donation as a birthday gift for your mom. Hell, give yourself a birthday donation. And AFTER you’ve donated, if you’re a big Amazon shopper, select HTH as the recipient of your Smile Amazon account and donate at least a little at no extra cost.
BTW, those of you involved in Dining for Women (DFW) will recognize Hope Through Health as a recipient of a DFW grant last year.
Nice work Jenny, Kevin, and everyone in HTH Togo!
Way back in November 2014 (wait, a year and a half ago; is that possible?) I wrote about the shame of menstruation, the last worst taboo. (See that post here. If you haven’t read it, go back and do that now. I’ll wait.)
I have also spoken about the fact that sanitary hygiene products are taxed as luxury items in 40 states – unlike nearly all medications, Rogaine for men and, of course, viagra, all of which are untaxed ‘necessities.’ (See The Power of Love: Violence Against Women and What We Can Do About It.)
So it is utterly delightful when the taboo, and the costs, start to fall. Many fantastically enterprising, brave, and creative women have been working on chipping away at this stigma and, Voila! it’s starting to have an effect.
See, for example, the amazing work of Rupi Kaur, who posted a series of period photos which were taken down, twice, by Instagram. Read more about the #LetsFaceItPeriod campaign here.
Two recent articles tell us that yup, the issue has gone fully mainstream. They are definitely worth reading.
In the Business Section of Thursday’s New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi writes about the new economy of menstruation (Menstruation Joins the Economic Conversation) and features the founders of LOLA, a delivery service featuring all-cotton tampons. (New York women, stay tuned: a tax rebate for tampons may be coming your way!)
And in this week’s Newsweek Magazine (is that still even a thing?), Abigail Jones covers the Fight to End Period Shaming. She even mentions the Menstrual Man, one of my personal favorites.