This is a Marathon: Dr. Tessie San Martin on Leading for Girls

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Tessie San Martin, President & CEO, Plan International USA. Dr. San Martin’s career spans public and private sectors, international development, and academia. Here, she shares some insights on gender equality.

Dr. Tessie Van Martin, President and CEO of Plan International, shares her thoughts on how to stay focused and energized for the global work of empowering girls. (Image Credit: Plan International)

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

At the risk of sounding smug, I can honestly say that I really have no regrets. That isn’t because I feel as if I always took the right path or made the right decision at the right time, but because I feel strongly that everything I have done has prepared me, in some way, for what I am doing now and contributed in some way – big or small – to what I have achieved with my career. 

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Empowerment is Now Online: the Hello World Connection

Imagine that you had lived your life up to this point never experiencing the internet. No smart phones, no online recipes, no Google searches or social media.

How much would your life change if, one day, you were connected to the online world?

Katrin McMillan works with local children on the construction of their Hello Hub. (Photo Credit: Project Hello World)

The potential uses of internet access are abundant: education, job training, medical resources, advancements in farming and agriculture, communication with people across the world, all available at the touch of a button. For many communities, however, that online world is something out of science fiction. Women, children, and entire societies fly under the radar of education and international support simply because they live without access to the world’s information superhighway.

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Mexico and France Show Up for Feminism with UN Leadership

(January 15, 2020 UN WOMEN) Today, UN Women, together with feminists across the world, and the Governments of Mexico and France, announced the Action Coalition themes for the Generation Equality Forum to be held in Mexico City and Paris this year.

The Action Coalitions are global, innovative partnerships with governments, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector, to catalyze collective action, drive increased public and private investment, and deliver game-changing results for women and girls everywhere.

UN Women staff during Generation Equality Private Sector discussions in Kenya.© UN Women/Kennedy Okoth

The Generation Equality Forum, a civil society-led global gathering convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the Governments of Mexico and France, taking place in Mexico City from 7 to 8 May, and in Paris from 7 to 10 July 2020, will launch the following six catalytic Action Coalitions:

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Gates Fdn and India Ministry Sign MOC on Women, Maternal Health

New Delhi [India], Jan 8 (Asian News International): In a bid to improve the healthcare system of the country, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its ex-post-facto approval on the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Union Health Ministry and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Women and children receiving medical care in India (Credit: UN WOMEN on Flickr)

The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) covers the following areas: to reduce maternal, neonatal and child morbidity and mortality, improve key nutrition outcomes by improving the reach, coverage and quality of essential primary health, immunization and nutrition services.

The memorandum will also focus on the quality of family planning methods and reaching out to younger women.

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Starbucks Fdn Provides $175 K for Women’s Health in Ethiopia

THE STARBUCKS FOUNDATION PARTNERS WITH GROUNDS FOR HEALTH TO IMPROVE WOMEN’S HEALTH
2 Year / $175,000 Grant will support Grounds for Health’s new “Centers of Excellence” in Ethiopia

December 2019 – Grounds for Health is thrilled to announce that it is the recipient of a two-year $175,000 grant from The Starbucks Foundation to help expand cervical cancer prevention programs in the Sidama, Gedeo and West Guji Zones of Ethiopia. This grant represents the first time Grounds for Health has received funding from The Starbucks Foundation, which has provided over $21 million in Origin Grants to support integrated community development projects since 2005.

“From day one, Grounds for Health’s sole focus has been to improve women’s lives in under-resourced coffee regions, “ says Grounds for Health Executive Director Ellen Starr. “This generous grant from The Starbucks Foundation will help us make a real, tangible impact in Ethiopia not only for the next two years, but for many years to come.”

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Family Fdn in Atlanta Gives Big for Global Work Focused on Women

CARE RECEIVES COMMITMENT OF NEARLY $7M FROM THE ARTHUR M. BLANK FAMILY FOUNDATION

The organization dedicated to fighting global poverty by empowering women and girls partners with Atlanta family foundation to invest in communities and save lives

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation outlines these core values for community engagement, and is now extending its grantmaking to address global poverty issues by empowering women. (Image Credit: Blank Foundation press kit)

(Atlanta, GA) On November 14, 2019, CARE announced a three-year $6.8M grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to support international programs that foster economic development, influence policy change, and provide humanitarian aid for people affected by natural and man-made disasters. The partnership marks the first strategic international expansion of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s philanthropic efforts, which promote positive change in peoples’ lives and build and enhance the communities in which they live.

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#GivingTuesday2019 Reports Nearly $2 Billion in U.S. Donations

Another #GivingTuesday is one for the books! According to the organization that created the international day of generosity, this year’s online and offline donations crushed a monumental milestone: almost $2 billion in donations in the United States alone, with $511 million in online donations.

According to statistics collected by GivingTuesday, United States donors gave nearly $2 billion on December 3, 2019. (Photo Credit: GivingTuesday)

“Generosity is a core trait and value that brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together,” said Asha Curran, Co-founder and CEO of GivingTuesday. “GivingTuesday creates a shared space where we can see the radical implications of a more generous world.”

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Afghan Women in Media and Politics Risk Lives for Equal Rights

Editor’s Note: While some feminist giving happens through funding, other women change agents risk their lives to do this important work. Below is an article featuring Sediqa Sherzai, who continues to the fight for women in Afghanistan.

KABUL, Dec 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In the decade since launching a radio station in northern Afghanistan, Sediqa Sherzai has braved mines and rocket attacks as the Taliban seeks to silence her. But she has kept going.

A woman journalist working at Radio Rashani in Northern Afghanistan (Image Credit: United State of Peace video Afghan Women Defend Their Rights Against the Taliban)

Fawzia Koofi, the country’s first female deputy of the lower house of parliament, has survived assassination and kidnap attempts. Last year, she was banned from running for re-election – so she set up her own party.

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Plan Gets Largest Donation Ever, Announces Deeper Focus on Girls

One of the most significant trends in the women’s philanthropy, and in philanthropy in general, is an increased focus on girls. Particularly on the global level, a growing strategy in philanthropy involves helping girls recognize and actualize their potential to lead, and by doing so make the world a better place for everyone.

Plan International is using its largest donation in history to scale up and deepen its work that places girls at the center of social change across the globe. (Image Credit: Plan International USA)

Into this evolving context comes an exciting new development: Plan International USA (Plan) recently announced a $12 million gift that will support the launch of programs to that will reach 10 million girls globally over the next four years with improved access to education, opportunity, and health care. This is the largest private gift to date that Plan has received, and comes as a bequest from an anonymous donor. The historic donation will help support GirlEngage, Plan’s new programmatic model aimed particularly at girls.

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US Plays Hostile, Obstructive Role at UN, More of Same Likely in 2020

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece was written by Barbara Crossette of PassBlue and was originally published on November 26, 2019.

It did not take long after the 74th General Assembly session opened this fall for the Trump team to signal that its strategy in key United Nations meetings would be to act as uncooperative and obstructive as possible, especially on human-rights agendas.

Valerie Huber, a senior adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the UN delegates appointed by Trump who is working to restrict reproductive health care for women. (Image credit: Youtube Point of View talk show)

The 2019-2020 UN year — September to September — is likely to be remembered as eventful. It includes the 25th anniversaries of two landmark international conferences that greatly advanced the rights of women, making those gains targets of Republican politicians in Washington, D.C. Plans are being made to celebrate the UN’s 75 birthday next autumn, with much uncertainty surrounding American financial and political commitments to the organization.

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