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Blogging for Good in the World

Here's a question, "Why do some global health initiatives get LOTS of attention while others get so little?"Put another way, why does so much of the world's resources go to HIV/AIDS and immunizations, and so little go to maternal health, malnutrition or stress?


Jeremy Schiffman answered the question in an article he wrote for The Lancet and in his presentation at the Women Deliver conference that caused a buzz when he determined why the safe motherhood initiative, at work since 1987, has gotten so little traction.


Why am I writing about Professor Schiffman's work? Not just because it's about maternal health, the focus of BlogHers Act, but also because anyone who's promoting a cause or wanting to make a difference in the world through their blogs or otherwise might want to know about his findings.

And, for sure, some of his points got me thinking about how BlogHers could make a really big difference on maternal health.

To cut to the chase, here's what he found.Successful global health initiatives depend on these four traits -

1. The strength of the actors (the individuals and organizations) concerned with the issue

2. The ideas they use to position the issue

3. The environments in which everyone operates

4. The characteristics of the issue itself


So, the people, the ideas, the context and the features of the problem.Leave one of those out and you're not going to make the headway you want (and nor is maternal health).


Jeremy has an excellent table in his paper, summarizing the key points, but I've chosen one point for each trait that relates specifically to blogging (at least in my mind) --

1. Actors - Civil society mobilization - The extent to which grassroots organizations (that would be us!) have mobilized to press international and national political authorities to address the issue at the global level

2. Ideas - External frame - Public portrayals of the issue (us again!) in ways that resonate with external resources

3.Contexts - Policy windows: Political moments when global conditions align favorably for an issue (now!), presenting opportunities for advocates to influence decision-makers

4.Issue characteristics - Credible indicators - Clear measures that demonstrate the problem and that can be used to monitor progress


We're a grassroots group that is committed to being heard; as bloggers we're portraying the issue in ways we all can understand and appreciate; the Clinton Global Initiative, the Women Deliver Conference, and others large-scale initiatives are putting a spotlight on the issue and are getting people's attention, and the message is about the importance of mothers not only to their communities but to the health of nations (when 1 in 6 women are dying in pregnancy or childbirth, a community is destined for failure).


Bottom line: Bloghers can do great things according to Professor Schiffman's research.And we've seen it time and time again when bloggers have taken up causes.Some of the standouts are: Beth Kanter, Britt Bravo, 24 Hours for Darfur, Menu for Hope - medicine, Mobile Phones for Action, Take a Stand, and Nothing But Nets.


There are lots more, of course.Please use the comments below to give a shout-out to other bloggers who are making great things happen in the world through their blogs.

on July 22 at 12:14

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