2019 is off to a great start with several message development and communications training projects. It has allowed me to help frame many critical issues and help strengthen the work of some truly amazing leaders at:
- UN Women
- Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
- Visionaries supported by the IF Hummingbird Foundation
UNFPA – Unfinished Business – the State of Rights and Choices for All
I was privileged to again work with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, on the successful release of its landmark 2019 State of World Population Report. My role was to create the messages for the report and train their spokespeople who fanned out around the globe to present the findings in a variety of settings. Trainings were in person and, for the second year in a row, online for a number of international participants.
This momentous report tracked progress that marked both the 50th Anniversary of UNFPA and 25 years since the historic Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, which has guided a strategy of putting women and girls first. It has demonstrated that by meeting their needs for health care, education, employment, and freedom from sexual violence—they would have fewer but healthier children raised in homes with better economic prospects. By recognizing and enforcing women’s rights to decide whether, when, and whom to marry and respecting their rights to decide about childbearing, whole societies would advance. This year’s report documents tremendous progress around the world with dramatic reductions in unintended childbearing and maternal mortality, improvements in maternal and child health, education, and employment.
According to the report, “When UNFPA was founded, the average number of births per woman was 4.8 then, compared to 2.9 in 1994, and 2.5 today; fertility rate in the least developed countries dropped from 6.8 in 1969, to 5.6 in 1994, and 3.9 in 2019; and the number of women who died from pregnancy-related causes has decreased from 369 per 100,000 live births in 1994, to 216 in 2015. In addition, 24 percent of women used modern contraceptives in 1969, compared to 52 percent in 1994 and 58 percent in 2019.”
While there are still 200 million women who lack access to modern contraceptives, there are concerted efforts being undertaken by a global partnership of UN agencies, NGOs, foundations, and governments to ensure that all have access to the reproductive health services they need.
Progress of the World’s Women 2019 – Families in a Changing World
I am currently working with UN Women to prepare the release of their upcoming Progress report, Families in a Changing World, which explores how laws, policies, and public action can support families in ways that enable women’s rights to resources, bodily integrity, and voice.
My assignment includes message development and preparation of spokespeople around the world. In June, I will be off to Bangkok to facilitate an innovative workshop to increase the news media’s use of data to track women’s progress against the UN’s Social Development Goals.
Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Unit
I recently led a two-day training with spokespeople who are the leading source of data and information on hate groups for reporters and policy-makers. We covered presentation skills and working with reporters.
Online Trainings for IF Hummingbird Foundation Visionaries
My work with the inspiring network of visionaries supported by the IF Hummingbird Foundation’s Hearts on Fire program has continued into 2019 with a series of online trainings. The focus of one series was developing a strategic communications plan for the nonprofit organizations they lead. The second series has been on building skills for media interviews and face-to-face presentations. Content rich online-trainings are a highly efficient and effective tool for building skills and polishing messages.