Share This!You’ve arrived at your Walt Disney World hotel, dropped off your luggage, and you’re ready to head out to the theme parks! But wait, what do you need to take with you into the parks?There are a variety of strategies for deciding what to bring into the parks. Some folks want to tote only the bare minimum that will fit in their pockets, while others want to be prepared with every item they might need in any eventuality. Where you fall on this spectrum may be influenced by your age, whether you have children in your party, how many times you’ve been to the parks, how long you plan to be in the park, what time of year it is, whether you’re planning to use a locker in the parks, and a variety of other factors. What a solo adult will bring into the parks for a 1-2 hour visit might be vastly different than what a family with toddlers will need for an 8-10 hour visit.I’ll break daybag packing into must haves, next steps, deep dives, and travel with baby. Your personal needs will determine which version you choose. What You Might Need for a Day in the WDW Theme ParksHere’s a Printable PDF of the Park Bag Packing List.Must HavesMagicBands have incredible functionality. They can serve as your room key, park ticket, food and merchandise charging device, and more. If you’re using a MagicBand during your trip, bring it to the parks with you; if you’re not using a MagicBand, you’ll need your park admission ticket.The versatility of MagicBands leads some guests to believe they can go into the parks with nothing but the band, unencumbered by anything else. While it’s certainly possible that this could work, I strongly caution against it.Over the course of my many visits to Walt Disney World, there have been about half a dozen times where I’ve ended up leaving the park unexpectedly, mostly due to minor to moderate issues that resulted in a family member going directly from a park to a medical facility. While this is an unlikely circumstance, you should ALWAYS be prepared with enough identification and documentation to allow you to receive medical attention as quickly as possible. This means that you should have a photo ID, medical insurance card, and a payment card with you at all times.Even if you’re willing to risk it by not carrying your insurance card, there have been many times in my travels where technical glitches have made MagicBand payment wonky and using a credit card or cash has been necessary to make in-park purchases. Cash is also helpful if you end up off-property and need to tip someone or pay for something where plastic cards and MagicBands are not valid payment methods.The vast majority of adults (and teens and tweens) will bring their cellphone into the parks, if not for communication, then for photography and access to apps like My Disney Experience and Lines that help with navigating your park visit. Many guests report that heavy phone use in the parks takes a massive toll on their battery; an external charger can save the day.Also to remember to bring any Disney affiliation cards such as your annual pass, Disney Vacation Club card, Tables in Wonderland, and so on that may be useful in getting perks or discounts in the parks. Remember, if you have your annual pass loaded onto a MagicBand, that will get you into the park, but it’s not enough to get you a merchandise discount. For that you’ll need your physical pass card and a photo ID.I like to have a printout, or at least a screenshot, of my FastPass times and restaurant confirmation numbers in case the Disney website goes down or the park WiFi is spotty. And of course, you’ll want to bring any necessary prescription medications with you into the parks.Next StepsThe Next Steps are things that make your experience more comfortable, but are not 100% necessary. Most of the items in this section can be acquired in the parks if needed, but they’re small enough or light enough that bringing them yourself won’t slow you down.Weather-related items are at the top of most Next Step lists. Sunscreen is a must for nearly everyone, but if you’ve applied it in advance and won’t be at the parks long, you may be able to leave the bottle in the room. Other weather-related items to consider are sunglasses, sun hats, umbrellas or ponchos, sweaters, or similar items that protect you from the elements.Then consider physical comfort and minor medical issue remediation. This includes things like lip balm, hand sanitizer, a water bottle (much cheaper than buying water for $4.00 a bottle in the parks), tissues and/or wet wipes, gum or mints (gum is not available for purchase anywhere at WDW), and women may want extra hair ties or feminine hygiene supplies. I also like to bring a small pouch into the parks with a few bandaids and a dose or two of some basic over-the-counter medications like Advil, Benedryl, and Immodium. These are all available at the in-park first aid centers, but having ready access to them can be a sanity saver. Shoutout to one of my favorite niche websites, minium.biz that sells easy-to-carry, travel-size, and single-serve portions of just about every product imaginable.A typical “Next Steps” pouch of OTC meds and comfort items. Easily fits in a snack-size zip top bag.If you use a camera, rather than your phone, to capture memories be sure to bring it, along with any necessary paraphernalia such as extra batteries or memory cards. And if you’re old school, keeping your Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World on hand can help you answer park planning questions on the fly.Another easy item to tote is a small Ziploc baggie. Use this to protect your phone on water rides, to keep souvenirs corralled, to save some uneaten snacks to enjoy later in the day, or for dozens of other purposes.Deeper DiveFurther down on the list of things to bring into the parks are the “Just For Fun” items like quarters and pennies to use in the pressed penny machines, autograph books and sharpies to use when meeting characters, trading pins and pin lanyard, cards related to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom or similar games, and wait-time entertainment for kids (or adults) such a puzzle books, Mad Libs, a small etch-a-sketch, or portable gadgets.Food is plentiful in the parks, but if you want to bring you own for allergy, preference, convenience, or budgetary reasons, feel free to do so.If you want more focus on comfort, bring extra socks (important if your feet get wet in a downpour), a cooling towel, or a small battery-operated fan or mister.And be aware that plastic straws are on their way to be phased out a Disney World, making them hard to find in some circumstances. If you’re a die-hard straw person (or need them for a medical reason), then bring your own, just in case.Travel with BabyIf you’re visiting with a small child, then traveling light is likely not an option. Baby gear you may need in the parks may include diapers, wipes, formula/bottles, baby food, baby-sized spoon, bib, pacifier, a change of clothing, swim diaper (for playing in fountains), and whatever other favorite products you need to get through the day. A small selection of these items is sold in the park Baby Care Centers, but plan to bring your own since they may not have your specific brand/variety preference.What Type of Bag Should I Use?Let’s start off by saying that everyone heading into the theme parks is subject to a bag search before being allowed to enter the parks. If you’re carrying anything that’s not in your clothing pockets, you will be asked to visit the security tables. A guard will open your bag, unzip every zipper, and open all the sub-bags within your main bag. They don’t care about food or personal items; they’re looking for weapons and other contraband (see our post on what NOT to bring into the Disney World theme parks). Guests who are not carrying bags may be allowed to bypass the security tables, but they may still have to go through a metal detector (like at the airport) and place items such as cell phones and wallets in a bin for inspection. Even the smallest clutch will be searched, so just roll with it.If you’re only toting the Must Haves, then you might not need a bag at all. If you have a baby with you, you’ll probably need a large diaper bag. A photography enthusiast will want a padded camera bag.Beyond that, it’s really a matter of personal preference: purses, fanny packs, crossbody bags, and backpacks all have their fans. Think about the weather, how much you’re carrying, the weight of the bag and its contents, and whether you plan to add items such as merchandise purchases to the bag during the day. Be aware that you can bring bags with you onto the rides and consider how the size and shape of the bag might work for or against you when boarding attractions.What are your thoughts on packing for a day at the parks? Are our Deep Dives your Must Haves? Is there something we forget? What’s your favorite bag? Let us know in the comments below.
8 September 2004Afrikaner cleric Beyers Naude went against his entire upbringing, community, and the government of the day to campaign against apartheid. His contribution to the fight against oppression in SA, and his challenge to the establishment from which he came, makes him one of the country’s most courageous heroes.Naude passed away at the Elim retirement village in Northcliff, Johannesburg on 7 September 2004. He was 89. His wife, Ilse, aged 92, was by his side.Former president Nelson Mandela, paying tribute to his old friend, said Naude had “stood up against apartheid at a time when it was an unpopular thing for white people to do, and he did so at the expense of his family and his freedom”.Fellow church leader Desmond Tutu, also a close friend, said Naude’s integrity had led him to obey his conscience whatever the cost.“Although he continued to love his community, he did not allow this to deflect him from the truth as he saw it”, Tutu said. “While his community rejected him, he was embraced with great affection and admiration by the black community.“Beyers helped black people to not hate white people by showing them that not all white people are bad.”Raised in the heart of AfrikanerdomChristiaan Frederik Beyers Naude was born in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, on 10 May 1915. In 1921, his family moved to the Cape. He completed an MA in languages at the University of Stellenbosch, and later obtained another qualification in theology.Naude was raised in the heart of Afrikanerdom, the son of a founding member of the Broederbond, a secretive, elitist, highly influential club dedicated to promoting the interests of Afrikaners by preserving apartheid.In 1940 he was appointed assistant minister at the Dutch Reformed Church in Wellington, Cape Town. In the same year he married Ilse Weder, the daughter of a Moravian missionary. He also joined the Broederbond as its youngest member, aged 25.But as Cedric Mason puts it in an obituary published by Business Day, while Naude’s star seemed firmly on the rise, “inside he was hearing a different story.“He began to examine his Bible and theology more critically”, Mason writes, “and reluctantly admitted to himself that apartheid was not scriptural, that its effects were unacceptable, that Christians were one people throughout the world …“Such suspicions threatened the truth he had been brought up to revere and the prominence he was attaining.”Still Naude said nothing, and accepted a call to the prestigious Aasvoelkop congregation in Johannesburg.After SharpevilleThe 1960 Sharpeville massacre, in which 69 anti-apartheid demonstrators were shot dead by the police, was Naude’s turning point.He resigned from the Broederbond after 22 years of membership, and while attending an ecumenical conference at Cottesloe the following year, formed the idea of an interdenominational, inter-racial Christian Institute.In 1963, the Dutch Reformed Church insisted that Naude choose between it and the Christian Institute. On a Sunday in September of that year, he made his decision known to his Aasvoelkop congregation.Mason writes: “It was, he said, a choice between obedience in faith and subjection to the authority of the church. He must obey God rather than man. He hung his gown on the pulpit and walked out, a reluctant rebel, 48 years old.”Naude and his family, ostracised by their fellow Afrikaners, were embraced by the black community, and joined a Dutch Reformed congregation led by Reverend Sam Buti in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township.This marked the beginning of years of support for the fight against oppression in South Africa. In 1968, the Christian Institute was a partner in the Message to the People of SA, which denounced apartheid as false gospel.In 1977, Naude and his Christian Institute were banned. This did not stop him, however, from clandestinely supporting those involved in the struggle in every way he could – most importantly, by giving them counsel.“A constant stream of visitors came to Naude for counsel, friendship and support”, Mason writes. “Many now in high places recall those discussions by the fruit trees in his garden. It was there one day that he showed me a scrap of paper brought by a traveller in the bottom of a cigarette packet, which read: ‘Thank you for all you are doing.’ It was signed by Oliver Tambo.”In 1984, after seven years, Naude’s banning order was lifted. According to SA History Online, he immediately threw himself back into the struggle against apartheid, succeeding Archbishop Tutu as the secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches in 1985, and in 1987 forming part of the Afrikaner group that met with ANC representatives in Senegal.The demise of apartheid and the move to democracy in South Africa turned Naude from pariah to hero. President Nelson Mandela, speaking at Naude’s 80th birthday, said: “His life … demonstrates what it means to rise above race, to be a true South African.”“Oom Bey and Tannie Ilse paved the way during difficult years”, Mandela said, “and they remain in the company of our lodestars. Their force of example and message are simple: We must build one another and build together.”In June 1999, despite failing health, Naude opened the inauguration ceremony for President Thabo Mbeki. By the end of the same year he had returned to his old congregation of Aasvoelkop as worshipper.He is survived by his wife, four children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.SouthAfrica.info reporter.Sources: “Reluctant rebel loved people”, by Cedric Mason, Business Day, 8 September 2004; SA History Online; City of Johannesburg.
Why is that? One reason could simply be that job fairs are unable to sort through hoards of students to connect them with the right recruiters and companies. More importantly, many companies attending job fairs do not have any intention of doing serious recruiting work there, making it a waste of an opportunity for both the company and the interested applicant. Therefore, students are now seeking other alternatives besides career fairs (i.e. Personal Networking). With college students across the country about to return to campus, college recruiters aren’t far behind. But does putting company letterhead down on tables work today? Furthermore, do students really believe meeting with recruiters will lead to the jobs they want? Surprisingly, 52 percent listed Personal Networking as the best method for securing a job in their field upon graduation. Yes, students were more than five-times more likely to say their own personal networking will provide them the best opportunity for a job after graduation than say career fairs filled with campus recruiters, job websites or even career services. So how do recruiters enter that mix? Furthermore, if hiring managers aren’t available, don’t just opt for a warm body. Alumni from a certain school can also be a good option. A recent graduate who has excelled within your workplace in the first few years on the job can be a great asset on campus to network and build a hiring brand presence. Specifically, we commissioned Google to ask 500 18-24 college students the following: What do you believe will provide you the best opportunity to secure a job in your field of study upon graduation? The company offers CodeSprints, online coding competitions, which your company can simply sponsor or host on your own. This way, the event can be about the challenge itself and not overly salesy of your hiring brand. You’ll be surprised the hiring brand recall you can establish by bringing this type of enjoyable challenge to a worthy group of engineering students. Hiring for technical or STEM positions? Why not skip the career fair and do something that will create some real connections – a hackathon. Hackathons can take on many shapes and sizes, but the opportunity they give recruiters and hiring managers to evaluate technical student talent in a natural environment is unparalleled. Don’t think you can pull off your own hackathon? One organization that can help you with managing a hackathon is HackerRank. Build Better Connections with Key Influencers and Groups on Campus: Building connections on campus doesn’t end with career services. On-campus recruiting today means building connections with key faculty and student stakeholders. Info sessions, affiliate programs and campus sponsorships can be some ways to get your hiring brand known around campus. Of course there are also offline and more contemporary methods for obtaining professional contacts as you start your career, which can also prove more useful to students than fighting through the hustle and bustle of career fairs. They can join student clubs that are related to their career interests, seek out internships to build connections in industries they’re interested in or even begin dialogue with thought leaders in certain markets on social networks like Twitter. Whether it’s you, someone else on your university relations team, or one of these other parties, don’t forget that this first connection on campus will influence how students view your organization going forward. Take a positive first step and build a personal connection that lasts. You also can’t overlook building connections with key influencers within faculty on campus. Close relationships with faculty members can assist with obtaining insight into top students and prospective talent on campus, give you a trusted channel to engage students with and help you with finding prospective interns. Data may suggest that interest or a lack of interest not only differs school-to-school, but also by majors or graduation years. Therefore, don’t stretch yourself too thin, overspend or create negative perceptions of your brand with those on campus who aren’t interested. Become more targeted and drill down into specific majors, classes and even diversity groups where your message is being well received. Many companies today are simply looking for talent that will love coming to work each day and engaging in the workplace. What better place to look and align your brand with on campus than student clubs where students get together in their free time to focus on their passions, such as marketing, engineering or business. Over 82 percent of companies today use campus clubs as a recruiting resource to find top college talent (Source: 2014 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers). This is because clubs offer inherent recruitment advantages. Not only are they a shortcut to finding this self-motivated talent, but they act as natural campus filters so that companies can get to exactly the students they want. Furthermore, it’s an authentic way for companies to endear themselves to students. Because students spend so much of their energy building these organizations, they truly appreciate when you choose to engage with them. Research released from Bersin by Deloitte last year found that a consistent campus presence from hiring brands, which builds awareness and connections, versus simply pushing current openings, is necessary to implement successful campus recruiting efforts today. That may be for good reason. Door of Clubs recently examined how students plan to secure a job in their field of study upon graduation. Measure Student Interest on the Fly: Once you start your engagement and connections with students on campus you need to make sure you’re tracking so you can adjust efforts on the fly. The number of hires from a school is just a starting point. Early on in your campus recruiting efforts it’s important to track how many students are engaging with your messages and responding. Having a hiring manager join you in your campus recruiting efforts isn’t mandatory, but it can go long way in building real personal connections with potential hires on campus. After all, who are students going to be interacting with daily once they join your organization? Recruiters may feel like it will be impossible to get executives involved, but studies show that hiring managers often jump at the opportunity to uncover promising new talent on campus. Champion Hiring Managers to Make the Trip to Campus: Searching for employment as a student is a tedious assignment that can be quite time consuming outside of college curriculum. While students may have underestimated the power of their personal networks in the past and how useful their respective contacts can be; the rapid development of online social networks such as LinkedIn has harnessed and illuminated the value. Target Schools and Groups that Align with Your Hiring Brand: We all know the bad rap the “spray and pray” technique gives recruiters. It doesn’t work off-campus and it certainly doesn’t work on-campus with recruiting. Furthermore, a lot of recruiters will take shortcuts and let lists like this dictate what schools they are targeting. Not only will that put you right next to Google and Facebook in trying to attract the most prestigious talent, but it will miss all the undervalued talent residing in lesser known schools across the country.
Whither RSS Readers?ReadWriteWeb’s 2010 In Review:Top 10 Semantic Web Products of 2010Top 10 RSS and Syndication Technologies of 2010Best BigCo of 2010: FacebookTop Trends of 2010: App StoresMost Promising Company For 2011: SimpleGeoTop Trends of 2010: Internet TVTop 10 Startups of 2010Top Trends of 2010: PrivacyAll of these new social and mobile tools have meant a decline in the usage of RSS Readers. From a personal perspective, I have found that my usage of Google Reader has dropped and changed. I consume less content inside of Google Reader now and I mostly use it to scan for interesting news and information from niche blogs. If I find something I want to read, I’m more likely to open it in a browser window and then save to Instapaper, than read it within Google Reader. Your mileage may vary, but that has become my main use case for RSS Readers.It may be that we can just no longer cope with RSS Readers, with the information overload that Facebook, Twitter and others have only added to over the past year. That’s where filtering tools – like LazyWeb, Regator, Feedly, my6sense – have come into play in 2010. They aim to filter and personalize news for your tastes.My6Sense is a favorite of several of our writers. It’s a mobile app that filters your RSS feeds and displays an algorithmic guess at the most important news for you. ReadWriteEnterprise writer Klint Finley said that he uses My6Sense “when I’m on my phone and looking to see if there’s anything important in my feeds.” Co-editor Marshall Kirkpatrick added that My6Sense is “just like using Google Reader (they sync up) but offers recommendations based on your past reading behavior.”Tell Us How You’ve Consumed News in 2010…Consuming content has become a more social, mobile experience in 2010. Facebook and Twitter in particular have fundamentally changed the way we find and consume news. At the same time, mobile devices like Android phones and the iPad have become more widely used – leading to Flipboard, Instapaper and other innovative reading apps. It’s also undeniable that RSS Readers and start pages have declined in importance over 2010, which has created an opportunity for apps like My6Sense that better filter RSS feeds. Tomorrow, we’ll be publishing our list of the Top 10 RSS and Syndication Technologies – which will have more detail about the specific products that have caught our eye this year. In the meantime, let us know in the comments how reading on the Web has changed for you over 2010. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#2010 in Review#Features#New Media#NYT#web#Year in Review Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… richard macmanus A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Meanwhile, Twitter has become the place to go to see breaking news and the very latest updates about a popular story. If for example you want to know up-to-the-minute news on Wikileaks, then Twitter is where you’ll find it. Related, powerful aggregation apps like TweetDeck and HootSuite have become the tools of choice for power users of Twitter, Facebook and other social information services.Mobile: Flipboard & InstapaperMobile apps have changed news consumption in a big way. Two apps that showcased this in 2010 were Flipboard and Instapaper.Instapaper is an app that saves web pages for reading later. But unlike older ‘web 2.0’ social bookmarking services, it doesn’t just bookmark a web page. Instapaper saves a copy of the content so it can be read later, offline if need be, within the app. I use Instapaper frequently and one benefit has been that I’m able to read content in a more relaxed state – on my iPad in the evenings while spread out on my sofa, or in a cafe on my iPhone.Flipboard is a magazine-like reading application built specifically for the iPad. My Co-editor at ReadWriteWeb, Marshall Kirkpatrick, is a big fan. He creates content lists on tlists.com and then subscribes to them in Flipboard (Marshall will elaborate on his methods in an upcoming post).The main point here is that Web reading has moved away from the PC and onto mobile devices, which is changing the way we find, consume and organize our reading. Apps like Instapaper and Flipboard also place a big emphasis on sharing things. For example, I have gotten into the habit of tweeting links to articles that I enjoyed reading in Instapaper. Related Posts One of the more subtle trends of 2010 has been the way that our reading habits have changed, due to a convergence of other Web trends: mobile apps, real-time Web (mostly Twitter), and social networking as a way to track news (mostly Facebook). In the previous era of the Web, the so-called Web 2.0, RSS Readers and start pages were all the rage. Over 2010, though, more people used tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instapaper, Flipboard, LazyWeb, Feedly and TweetDeck, to track news.Nowadays I’m more likely to find stories to read via a vertical aggregator (the media-focused Mediagazer is my current favorite) and save them to Instapaper for later reading via my iPhone or iPad. I still use Google Reader, but in all honesty I now use it more to scan than to read.Facebook & TwitterFacebook has continued to expand beyond its original social networking purpose over 2010, including enabling people to track news and information of interest to them. In September, Facebook added a news search, by surfacing widely “liked” news stories from independent media organizations in its basic search bar.
Bumble bees have a thing for tomato plants, especially if they’re harboring a destructive virus. That’s the curious finding of a new study, in which researchers released the insects into spaces that contained either normal tomato plants or those infected with the cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). CMV alters the gene expression of the tomato plants it infects, stunting their growth and distorting their leaves, and it can cause severe losses of crops worldwide. It also causes the plant to emit a different scent than noninfected tomatoes, researchers report today in PLOS Pathogens. The scent appears to make a difference; the bees were more likely to visit infected plants than noninfected plants, and they spent more time buzzing around them. That preference likely keeps the virus going in tomato plants, according to a mathematical model the team developed. The team says further research could lead to ways to increase bee pollination of important crops.
If you’re familiar with marketing, you know the principle of a benefit exchange: a reward offered in return for taking an action. A benefit exchange answers the question: What’s in it for me?For example: If I buy Nikes, I’ll feel like an athlete. If I go to your meeting, I’ll get some face time with senior staff.Benefit exchanges are useful for all kinds of situations. Like getting someone at work to agree to your proposal, encouraging people to change their habits or inspiring someone to donate to a cause.But we often get the benefit exchange wrong. We don’t offer a strong enough reward – or a sufficiently clear call to action.So here’s a mini-marketing refresh on strengthening the reward part of your benefit exchange. If you’re trying to persuade someone to do something, think about sharpening the “what’s in it for me?” answer with a better reward.A compelling reward has five important attributes: It should be immediate, personal, reflective of your audience’s values, better than competing rewards, and credible.Immediate: The best rewards are available to our audience right away. Few of us take action based on a reward that we expect to receive in the far future. It is human nature to seek instant satisfaction over distant gratification. So think about what your call to action will do for someone in the short term. Eating a hamburger satisfies our hunger, drinking beer makes the ball game more fun, and wearing cologne makes us feel sexier. Donating to charity makes us feel we made a difference for one person, today. How can you show an immediate result may be possible?Personal: The reward needs to make people feel their life will be better as individuals or within their tight circles of friends, family and community. Take the attributes of what you want people to do and sell them as benefits. What will recycling or sidewalks or education policy do for your audience? At the end of the day, the personal connection, not the grand concept, grabs our attention.Grounded in audience values: We can’t easily change what other people believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set we unleash great power behind our message. Make sure the reward you are offering is something others seek – not just what you want. Those two things are rarely the same, but we often imagine they are!Better than the competition: Think competitively about your reward. Is it better than what people get for doing nothing – or something else? Don’t forget there’s a reason people aren’t taking action. They may be deriving benefits from those behaviors. How can you make your reward better than what people get from maintaining the status quo?Credible: Last, you need to make sure the claim of your benefit is believable. People need to believe they can get the reward. Show other people gaining the promised benefit or telling a good story can bolster your case. Make the promise change credible.If people aren’t doing what you want, you may find out why by reviewing this list. Are you making your offer sufficiently irresistible? Or could you sweeten the reward in one of these areas? It’s worth the effort to consider, because a great benefit exchange makes it far easier (and faster) to get to yes.
Is one of your 2014 goals to get your social strategy in order? Here are 10 fun stats on social media that can help you decide how to spend your time.73% of U.S. online adults now use social networking sites. Source: Pew Tweet this.Roughly one-third of the world’s population is now online. Source: We Are Social Tweet this.68% of Instagram’s users are women. Source: Business Insider Tweet this.50% of nonprofit communicators label social media as a “very important” communication tool. Source: Nonprofit Marketing Guide Tweet this.Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks and 150% more retweets. Source: Buffer Tweet this.71% of U.S. online adults are now Facebook users. Source: Pew Tweet this.55% who engaged with causes via social media have been inspired to take further action. Source: Waggener Edstrom Tweet this.In the U.S., users spend 114 billion minutes a month on Facebook. Source: Business Insider Tweet this.70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside of the U.S. Source: 9Clouds Tweet this.40% of Facebook users surveyed say they log in to the social network multiple times per day. Source: Pew Tweet this.Need some help thinking about how to leverage social media for your nonprofit’s outreach strategy? Download this free guide from Network for Good, Social Media Mini Guide for Nonprofits.
No doubt you’ve seen the string of videos on your Facebook timeline—friends and family sharing their own social media time capsules. Facebook’s “A Look Back” movies offer personalized video montages to celebrate the social network’s 10th birthday. The videos are irresistibly sharable and have even struck a chord with the experts. Here’s what makes these videos work so well:They’re not focused on the organization. The folks at Facebook could have created something more focused on their platform and their accomplishments, but they knew that the real way to make us care about their birthday is by talking to us about, well, us.They tug at our heartstrings. Above all, emotion rules. From the sweet background music to the heavy rotation of photos, the videos capture our attention and pull us in. These videos, while driven by an algorithm, are mirrors of ourselves and heavily feature the things that matter most to us. They remind us of our progress. In keeping with the birthday theme, the videos allow us to look back and see how far we’ve come, whether we joined Facebook way back when or just last year. They connect us to something bigger. The shared experience of posting the videos and the highlights they capture help us see how we’re connected to one another. The idea of Mark Zuckerberg and company inviting us to celebrate this big milestone together underscores this feeling of community.In the process of accomplishing all of these things, these videos endear us more to the whole Facebook experience. Think about how you can emulate these qualities the next time you update your supporters on the progress you’ve made together.
Prep your team to:Be confident in sharing year-end messages.Be ready for a flood of requests for help and info, especially in December.Immediately share important feedback they receive on any component of last-minute marketing so you can correct the course if necessary. Go!Like most tasks, implementing your year-end campaign is a lot easier (and will be so much more successful) when based on a research-based plan. Don’t skip that step.Write right.Make sure your tone is personal and your call to action clear and easy to act on. Consider these five steps to a successful year-end email campaign.This last recommendation is so important. If you skip it, you’ll risk undermining campaign success. If you do it, you’ll do great. Get on it!That’s my year-end campaign secret sauce. What can you add? Share your tried and true practices in the comments below!With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org. Outline Your Plan Every connection you squeeze into 2014 allows you to deepen the relationship just a little more! So clarify your goal, think through what will be top of mind for these folks, and start reaching out right now.Do more of what has worked best to engage your most loyal supporters while you have their attention.Your trends analysis will also highlight the channels and messages that hit a positive nerve with each audience group. These are the ones you’ll want to replicate in the remaining weeks of this year. Use that info to shape some year-end-specific messages.Go beyond online channels to share those messages. Although email is a timely and relatively low-cost format for targeted campaigns, print and social media campaigns can be great complements if resources allow. There is still time to get another postcard out the door, if it makes sense.Ramp UpLine up your team and budget.Although the stats indicate that year-end is a productive fundraising time, you’ll have to work better and harder than ever from the get-go to generate gifts, because all fundraisers are onto the same stats.Spend a few minutes with colleagues in your organization, ideally one-on-one, to ask for their help and to thank them for their help in making marketing a success (even if their role is very indirect).Then, get your website, donation processing, and colleagues ready to respond.Make sure your site features:Recent stories about programs, including some programs introduced pre-2014 (to connect those folks who haven’t checked in much this year).A big donate button on every page, with a “phone in your gift” number.A recently tested online giving process.Consistent messages and look-and-feel across your entire site, including the donation page. Avoid confusing donors; make it easy for them to feel confident in giving by making your donation process match the rest of your materials. Come in close and listen hard. This is a secret I don’t want to broadcast to the entire world.The secret sauce to ensuring year-end campaign success that I’ve seen work time and time again is this year-end checklist. Year-end campaign creation and management is a busy, often overwhelming process fraught with anxiety. This checklist is the best antidote I know, and it doubles as a surefire tool to propel you to your year-end victory lap.Pinpoint Where You Are Right NowRoll up your sleeves and take a long, hard look at this year’s fundraising results to date, both quantitative and qualitative. Note: If you have no idea what your results are, designing ways to measure success is a must for 2015.Assess results against your benchmarks. Review year-to-date results, and compare them to your benchmarks to see what’s working as hoped and what’s not.This is easier with hard numbers, like those associated with online petition signing or registration, online giving, or other actions that you can directly track to their source. More challenging, but equally important, is drawing insight from quantitative information such as client, volunteer, or donor feedback and stories from the field.Identify meaningful trends:Which matches are working? Which target audience is responding to what campaigns, channels, and messages?Who else should you be in touch with? Have any surprise visitors—groups you didn’t expect to engage with your organization—surfaced this year?Who fell off your radar that you need to rekindle the relationship with before it’s too late? Who was a loyal supporter in previous years but has been significantly less responsive this year?
This final quarter can shine as the time to generate the donations you need to move your organization’s mission forward, if you do it right. In fact, 40% of online donors make their gifts in December, and that 40% to 60% of those gifts are made the last two days of the month according to superstar fundraiser Gail Perry. Offline giving is up as well in December, says Perry. But…Just don’t wait until December to ramp up the start or strengthen your campaign, and don’t stop too early that month! Start the Nurturing NOW with these 3 Simple Steps1. Thank your current supporters—of all stripes—enthusiastically and frequentlyThat includes clients, board members, donors, volunteers, partners and others who help your organization move its mission forward. So many organizations lose out on prospective donations when they focus thanks on current and recent donors only. Others who dedicate their time, passion and/or partnerships to your organization are just as loyal, and likely donors. Thank them:Meaningfully with personality and passion, Memorably—Show, rather than tell, supporter impact with profiles of their fellow supporters (ideal for folks like board members or major donors) or client profiles and testimonials Often, across all channels. For example:o Fire up your program staff to thank program participants and the person who cultivates new donors to give them an extra personal (real signature or the occasional call—even if you can’t do it for everyone)o Get out there with your appreciation signage. If you have a physical plant where supporters work and/or visit, put those walls to work. Nothing brings on a smile—and a connection—than photo-driven success stories as surround sound! 2. The more personal and relevant the betterSegment your prospects by what youdo know about them is the most reliable way to do so.Ways to segment include:Donors: By average annual dollar value of gifts (e.g. High-dollar vs. middle vs. entry-level donors)Volunteers: By length of volunteer involvementPartners: By type of partnership (e.g. event sponsorship vs. advertising vs. collaborative program delivery)Board members: and prospects; or five-year or more volunteers, two- to five-year volunteers and new volunteers)Supporters who are already in two “supporter silos” but not yet donors—for example, a volunteer who is also the parent of a program participant. Their dedication is proven and current – these folks deserve special attention.If the number of personal notes required is unreasonable, consider sending hand-signed custom holiday greeting cards to members of your Tier 1 network: Board members, loyal volunteers who are top prospective donors, donors (or at least some donors—returning, new, young or any other group that deserves special recognition). That personal signature makes all the difference.We all want to know that our effort (be it money, time or attention) is valued. Don’t miss this natural opportunity to appreciate your supporters. And encourage colleagues, who many have slightly different networks, to do the same.3. Reach out right now to rejuvenate relationships that have gone dark this yearIn selecting and segmenting your lists, you’re likely to find a group of former supporters (don’t limit it to donors) who have gone quiet in the last year or six months.Now’s the time to nudge them out of hibernation, by thanking them for their prior support and sharing stories that showcase how your organization has moved your cause forward in the last year. Focus on established programs they’re likely to be familiar with rather than new funding or volunteer needs.Select the channel that fits best with each sub-group’s habits and preferences, and—if you have the data—feature messages that have generated response in the past. I recommend a multi-part campaign (preferably multichannel, try a mix of email and direct mail, with a call thrown in if possible for high-value supporters).Most importantly—Don’t forget the strategic ask in this outreach. The strategy comes in the way you say it. After all, if you didn’t hear from a friend in a year would you call him up and ask for an invitation to his famed Oscars party? Doubt it.Apply that same logic to your rejuvenation asks—love ‘em up first, then do the asking.Get your nurturing going on all burners today! It’ll pay off this year and beyond.How do YOU nurture your donors? Please share what works for you—and what doesn’t—in the comments below!
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 25, 2012June 21, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, May 24th, found that the effectiveness of long-acting reversible contraception is superior to that of contraceptive pills, patch, or ring. This is important news for the global health community–especially in light of Melinda Gates’ recent announcement of her decision to make family planning her signature issue and primary public health priority.From the Time Magazine article about the study:The study involved 7,486 women participating in the Contraceptive Choice Project, run by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The women, aged 14 to 45, were given their choice of contraception for free and then tracked for up to three years for unintended pregnancy. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that longer-lasting contraceptives were up to 20 times more effective — that is, women using IUDs, implants or hormone injections were up to 20 times less likely to get pregnant — after three years than the shorter-acting methods of birth control.Read the study here.A number of news organizations have written about the study:Time Magazine, Which Birth Control Works Best? (Hint: It’s Not the Pill).The Wall Street Journal, Long-Lasting Birth Control Cuts Pregnancy RateABC News, Birth Control: New Research Gives Boost to IUD EffectivenessShare this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 23, 2013June 12, 2017By: Sandeep Bathala, Senior Program Associate, Maternal Health Initiative, Wilson CenterClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is cross-posted from the New Security Beat.On day three of the 2013 Global Maternal Health Conference here in Arusha, Tanzania, I was joined by the Global Health Initiative’s partners to present the results of the Wilson Center’s four-year-old Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health Series. This series is unique in its convening power, helping to bring together experts and policymakers from around the world to collaborate on a shared goal: healthier mothers and children.From 2009 to 2012, the Global Health Initiative co-convened 22 public meetings and three private workshops with the Maternal Health Task Force and United Nations Population Fund to identify challenges and discuss strategies for moving the maternal health agenda forward. In 2011, we collaborated with the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) to host two simulcasted videoconferences in Nairobi, Kenya, and Washington, D.C., which allowed maternal health experts and officials from both countries – including several Kenyan Parliament members affiliated with the Health Committee and Network for Population and Development – to share experiences and best practices. In partnership with the Population Foundation of India, we are planning a similar dialogue with local, regional, and national decision-makers on effective maternal health policies and programs in New Delhi, India, this year, as well as more D.C.-based meetings.By convening both in Washington, D.C., and globally, the goal of the series is to create a platform for fieldworkers, policymakers, program managers, media, and donors to share research, disseminate lessons learned, and address concerns related to policy, institutional, and organizational capacity building. These are many of the same themes being discussed at the Global Maternal Health Conference here in Tanzania.Ruthpearl Wanjiru Ngángá, APHRC’s communications manager, highlighted some of the results that emerged from the videoconferences.Broadly, she said they found that connecting maternal death to economic loss is a powerful and effective strategy, and it’s important to increase accountability by addressing the gap between what policymakers say and what they actually do to improve maternal health.All the policymakers attending pledged to do something based on what they learned at the meetings, ranging from building maternal health shelters and lobbying to working to unify the Ministry of Health in Kenya, which is currently split between ministers of public health and medical services (duplicated funds would be used to strengthen the Division of Reproductive Health).Participants also established dialogue between the ministries of health and finance to jointly identify priority areas and to ensure that 15 percent of the Kenyan national budget goes to health efforts, as per the Abuja Declaration.Perhaps the most striking pledge was made by a member of Parliament who did not attend the videoconferences but was motivated after hearing about them: He pledged to coordinate a day once a month where pregnant women in remote areas could consult with Nairobi-based doctors through e-medicine.And the commitments, it turns out, were not empty. Since the meetings concluded Ruthpearl said they have seen additional outcomes including a parliamentary retreat on maternal, newborn, and child care; increased press coverage, especially highlighting maternal and child health statistics and reporting on fatalities; and elevated interest in maternal health issues in general, including becoming a priority for the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association.“Where I come from, husbands are delivering their wives,” Hon. Sophia Abdi Noor who represents the Somali region of northern Kenya, said later in a follow-up meeting.And Hon. Farah Maalim, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, said at the parliamentary retreat that “we are running out of time towards the MDG deadline. There is need to reactivate the agenda on women and children’s health at the national level…the new constitution of Kenya declares health as a basic right for all Kenyans. Parliament has a pivotal role to play in ensuring the realization of this right.”Moving forward, Ruthpearl said APHRC intends to focus on advancing public-private health sector partnerships in urban slums and to start a pilot study on improving maternal, newborn, and child care services for slum residents. She also said they are working to improve engagement with Kenya’s National Division of Reproductive Health on research and technical working groups and to improve the visibility of research in policy and program formulation in general.Alongside Ruthpearl and I, Crystal Lander and Dr. Steve Solter of Management Sciences for Health also spoke on the panel, about their work with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health.Dr. Luc de Bernis, senior maternal health adviser at UNFPA and one of the collaborating partners in this series, concluded the session by expressing his hope that these dialogues were contributing to a swelling global advocacy movement for improved maternal health outcomes. The audience in Arusha couldn’t have agreed more.Learn more about the conference and access the conference presentations at www.gmhc2013.com. Join the conference conversation on Twitter: #GMHC2013Share this:
Posted on January 16, 2014November 7, 2016By: Himanshu Bhushan, Maternal Health Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of IndiaClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, what does the future hold for international maternal mortality targets? The MHTF is pleased to be hosting a blog series on post-2015 maternal mortality goal setting. Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring responses and reactions to proposed targets from around the world. Please share your thoughts with us!Point 1:India has the largest annual birth cohort of 26 million babies. In 1990 our maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was 600 deaths per 100,000 live births which declined to 200 in 2010India achieved 66% decline compared to 47% of global decline.We have wide variations in the states. Uttar Pradesh in 1997-98 had MMR of 606 while Kerala had 150. UP came down to 309, while Kerala came down to 81 in 2007-09.The point decline of UP was 297 while that of Kerala was 69. UP declined by 49% whereas Kerala only 46%.Now the point is: targets for UP and Kerala cannot be same.Point 2:The targets and goals for MDGs were set in the year 2000, but its active monitoring by international and national organizations and countries began only after an initial 5-7 years passed. The countries started monitoring the achievement in the past 5-7 years.While keeping next MDG goals and targets and in view of our experiences with different states/provinces it is suggested that:There should be different goals for countries depending upon their present level of achievement since further reduction after achieving a low/very low MMR will not be easy.Percentage reduction (differential) for different groups of MMR i.e. MMR between 500 to 400 . . ., 100 to 20. . . can be one of the options.Every country can then give a differential target or goal to the States and population within their country.For each such group of MMR, the broad strategies should also be decided as a suggestion for the states so that the states having less than 100 or 50 MMR have a clear vision what additional focus is neededWhile preparing strategies, socioeconomic factors should be taken in account along with clinical causes.Process indicators for every 5 years and its part for every year should be simultaneously decided so that the countries know and concurrently monitor where they stand if they have to achieve a certain level within the defined time period.Finally, we need to discuss what should be our ultimate commitment for maternal mortality, whether it should be limited to reduction or should be a commitment like achieving a zero level, at least for preventable deaths – as in the polio programme.The points raised above are at present not the view policy of the government of India but my thought process based on experiences in the implementation and seeing the ground realities from close.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 14, 2014August 10, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)USAID, in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the MCHIP and Evidence to Action Project (E2A) are now accepting abstracts for possible inclusion as individual presentations or preformed panels at the upcoming technical meeting: Throughout the Reproductive Life Course: Opportunities and Challenges for Empowering Girls and Women. The April meeting will highlight a range of issues related to healthy reproductive decision-making throughout the life course, in both U.S. and global contexts, and seeks to achieve the following goals:Disseminate knowledge and identify gaps about effective approaches for empowered decision-making throughout the reproductive life course; andExplore the use of these findings to strengthen programs, and stimulate new interventions and research opportunitiesFrom USAID, abstracts for presentations or panels will be considered through February 3 on the following:1. Using Family Planning to Prevent High-Risk Pregnancies This includes: adolescent pregnancies, rapid, repeat pregnancies, postpartum or post miscarriage/induced abortion, advanced maternal age pregnancies, high-parity pregnancies.2. Influencing Short Intervals and Fertility Intentions Successes or challenges of community-based programs and activities to influence interpregnancy length and/or intendedness of conceptions, including improved couple communication and joint/respectful decision-making.3. Youth This could include: addressing positive youth development, self-esteem, goal-setting, reaching first-time parents, HIV prevention, engaging boys, preventing child marriage, or responding to the needs of married adolescents.4. Family Planning Integration with Health Services Integrating FP with other health services (e.g., maternal health [antenatal, safe delivery, postpartum care], nutrition services, child health and immunization services, addressing postpartum depression, GBV, or reproductive coercion).5. Family Planning Links with Non-Health Activities FP linkages with non-health activities (e.g., life skills, literacy, microcredit, income generation, education promotion [keeping girls in school] and skills needed for productive employment).6. Empowerment or Motivational Components Integrated, or holistic FP-MNCH services that include empowerment or motivational components (through use of reproductive life planning and other innovations to overcome barriers to empowerment).Abstracts must be evidence-based (quantitative or qualitative), with substantive content and no more than 300 wordsIndividual and preformed panel abstracts will be accepted through February 3, 2014. Please submit all abstracts to Salwa Bitar at SBitar@e2aproject.org.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on September 15, 2014November 2, 2016By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)On September 9th and 10th, the Maternal Health Task Force and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program convened experts in Boston to discuss maternal and newborn health integration. The meeting, “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health Care: In Pursuit of Quality,” hosted about 50 global leaders—researchers, program implementers and funders—in maternal and newborn health to accomplish the following three objectives:Review the knowledge base on integration of maternal and newborn health care and the promising approaches, models and tools that exist for moving this agenda forwardIdentify the barriers to and opportunities for integrating maternal and newborn care across the continuumDevelop a list of actions the global maternal and newborn health communities can take to ensure greater programmatic coherence and effectivenessBiologically, maternal and newborn health are inseparable; yet, programmatic, research, and funding efforts often address the health of mothers and newborns separately. This persistent divide between maternal and newborn health training, programs, service delivery, monitoring, and quality improvement systems limits effectiveness and efficiency to improve outcomes. In order to improve both maternal and newborn health outcomes, ensuring the woman’s health before and during pregnancy is critical.Reviewing the Knowledge BaseThe meeting focused on a variety of themes as global experts led presentations and gathered for small group work to discuss next steps for integration of maternal and newborn health care. While little research thus far has been specifically devoted to maternal and newborn integration, it was shown that great inequity exists among maternal and newborn health interventions and that while about 90% of women receive at least one antenatal care visit, only slightly more than half deliver with a skilled attendant at birth, and about 40% receive postnatal care. These disparities along the continuum of care helped meeting participants identify service delivery points in need of strengthening and optimization to ensure the health of both the mother and newborn. Given the limited knowledge base, leaders were encouraged to strengthen the evidence by engaging in research to identify both the costs, and potential risks of integration.Opportunities and Barriers for IntegrationOverarching themes that emerged while evaluating integration at the meeting included optimization of service delivery points to prevent “content free contact” and the need for efforts to be context specific. There was broad consensus that programmatic and policy efforts for integration need to recognize and reflect the local environment and the capacity of the health system. The meeting concluded that integration should not be viewed as an intervention in and of itself, but rather as a method of reevaluating and designing health systems to effectively provide better maternal and newborn health care, ensure better outcomes, and incur less cost. In approaching integration in the future, it was made clear that some of the most important factors for integration include assessing and understanding contextual factors, as well as anticipating what the woman, family, and health care workers need and want.Case studies were presented from Ecuador, Nigeria, and the Saving Mothers Giving Life program. Each presenter evaluated approaches for integrating health systems, programmatic strategies, and service delivery in order to optimize maternal and newborn health outcomes. These case studies provided potential models for maternal and newborn health integration in future programmatic efforts.Actions for Greater Programmatic CoherenceLastly, and perhaps most importantly, small groups presented action items and next steps to strengthen the evidence for integration and promote integrated care so that no mother or newborn is neglected in programmatic efforts. These action items were created for three levels: facility and service delivery; national policy and programming; and technical partners and donors.Proposed action items include improving and redesigning health workforce training; ensuring quality improvement; integrating health information systems; aligning global maternal and newborn health initiatives; integrating advocacy tools for maternal and newborn health care; and unifying measurement frameworks.Join UsJoin us over the next two weeks as the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series unfolds. This blog series will dive into the details of the meeting discussions and action items. In addition, meeting participants and speakers will share their reactions to maternal and newborn integration from a variety of perspectives.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 2, 2015August 10, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The Maternal Health Task Force works to build a strong maternal health community. That strength starts with you! Here are a few opportunities that you may find helpful in your career.Global Public Health Course, 10 weeks starting March 2nd, 2015: This course, developed by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) a member institution of the SDSN, will focus on various aspects of public health from infectious diseases to NCDs, from health systems to big data, all while placing health as central to the broader framework of sustainable development. The course comprises of video lectures posted every week, reading material, quizzes and an interactive discussion forum, which an be completed at the student’s convenience. Faculty of the course include Prof. K. Srinath Reddy (President, PHFI), Dr. Richard Cash (PHFI/Harvard School of Public Health), Prof. Vinod Paul (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), Mr. Rob Yates (Chatham House), and others. Further details about the course, including the course structure, requirements and syllabus can be found on the website. For any questions regarding the course, please email the course team at firstname.lastname@example.org.Because Tomorrow Needs Her, March 4th, 2015, 7:30 pm EST: A special webcast marking the launch of a multimedia campaign highlighting the efforts of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to provide accessible, high-quality health care to women and girls around the world. Because Tomorrow Needs Her is a collection of first-hand accounts from MSF aid workers — midwives, OBGYNs, physicians, nurses, and counselors — who have treated women and girls in a host of different countries and contexts over the past two decades. To find out more, visit the event page and the website or follow us at #TomorrowNeedsHer.Putting Mothers and Babies First: Benefits Across a Lifetime, Webcast: Last week, experts gathered to discuss the important intersections between women’s and newborn health and what integrating these two fields looks like practically. Panelists included Ana Langer with the MHTF, Joy Riggs-Perla with Saving Newborn Lives, Alicia Yamin with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, and Kirsten Gagnaire with Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action. In case you missed the live webcast, read a summary and watch the video at The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Share this:
Although it’s unclear exactly how the new tax law will impact charitable donations, nonprofits can’t afford to wait and see. Many nonprofits are now thinking of new ways to attract and retain donors to ensure that funding stays consistent.According to research by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, the average donor retention rate in the U.S. after the first gift is around 45 percent. Without a focused effort to convert those one-time donors to regular, loyal supporters, nonprofits may struggle to generate enough new donations to reach their fundraising goals.If tax reform isn’t a big enough reason for your organization to create a donor experience that will keep supporter relationships thriving, here are three others to consider.It’s more expensive to attract a new donor than to retain one.Bringing in a new donor requires a series of steps. You have to raise awareness, build trust, make an emotional connection, and facilitate the process of actually making the first gift. These steps take time and can be expensive to implement. To retain donors, on the other hand, you simply need to keep the donors engaged with you and your work by focusing on their experience with your organization.Marketing costs alone eat up between 5 and 15 percent of a nonprofit’s total budget. Add to that your fundraising expenses, and you quickly realize how much your organization could save if you could convert the 55% of donors who only give once into regular supporters.Committed donors will give to multiple projects.If a donor is committed to supporting one of your programs, that person will likely want to give toward multiple projects within the program, or even to related programs. Loyal donors are already sold on the trustworthiness and effectiveness of your organization. They believe in your ability to use their donations to effect real change; so it’s easier to deepen the relationship and increase the amount or frequency of their giving.As you communicate with these donors and share the impact of their most recent donation, you can use that opportunity to introduce them to other areas of your program that might interest them.Regular donors will share insights that you can use to attract new donors.While it’s impossible to read the minds of prospective donors to know what moves them to give, you can gain insight from your regular donors that effectively gives you that superpower. Talk to your loyal supporters and listen to what they tell you. What initially attracted them to your organization? What gives them the confidence to continue supporting your work? What gets them excited about a particular program? What do they like your organization to share with them? What aspects of your charitable programs would they like to see firsthand? What experiences have made the biggest impact on them? The answers you receive to these questions will provide you with the information you need to improve your regular donors’ experience and to attract new donors.Planning and creating a donor experience that grows relationships and causes donors to increase their support takes time and energy. Take heart. The benefits your nonprofit sees will be worth many times over the resources you put into it. Organizations that focus on retaining donors as well as acquiring new ones will also be better positioned to weather the changes that come as a result of the recent tax reform. You’ll have confidence that your programs will remain funded and thriving.Learn why the donor experience is vital to a successful organization and how to implement an effective donor experience program by downloading this white paper “A Better Donor Experience: Is it the Cornerstone of Donor Loyalty?”
Planning a donor acquisition strategy is similar to planning any other campaign. Start off by reviewing your previous efforts and results. What worked? What didn’t? Your data is a great guide to determining new donor goals.Step 1: Review your current data.Use your donor management system to track information on your current donors and what campaigns attracted their attention and inspired them to give. Find ways to adapt that messaging to reach people unfamiliar with your organization.Look at both your quantitative and qualitative donor data. What trends and patterns do you see? Where did your current donors come from? What motivates them to give? Seek out similar people to grow your donor base.Pro Tip: If you don’t know why your current donors contribute, you may want to hit pause on your acquisition campaign and focus on donor cultivation and retention instead. No point finding new donors only to lose the ones you already have.Step 2: Make a plan based on your findings.Once you’ve reviewed your data, develop a strategy that integrates your development and communications departments. Three essential questions to answer as you plan your approach:How will you research prospects?What’s the best way to approach them?How will you track progress and measure success?An integrated communications strategy involves direct mail, email blasts, social media, and even advertising if it’s in your budget. The purpose is to increase brand awareness and recognition. That way, prospects will recognize you across channels.Step 3: Perform targeted outreach.Now it’s time to get the word out. An awareness campaign is the first touch in donor prospecting. People can’t give to your organization if they don’t know you exist.Amplify awareness by harnessing the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your positioning in online search results.Google AdWords and social media ad campaigns are great ways to capture active donors and amplify awareness online for a small fee. Promote an individual tweet or boost a Facebook post to increase followers or website traffic.Step 4: Keep it simple.It may seem obvious but make it easy to donate. Incorporate these key methods into your online donation process.Feature a donation button prominently on your website.Make your online donation page visually appealing and easy to find and navigate.Clearly identify various donor levels and their respective benefits.Highlight a suggested giving level on your donation page.Encourage monthly giving.Make sure your donation page is secure and mobile-friendly.Include your Charity Navigator or GuideStar rating for additional credibility.Begin engaging donors immediately following their donation with a thank you message on your online donation confirmation page.Invite donors to share their support on social media and join your email list.Incorporate these steps into your next acquisition campaign and see the difference for yourself. For a deeper dive into acquiring new donors, download our eGuide, New Donors: Getting the Ungettable Get.Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 29, 2017December 20, 2017By: Samia Khatun, Project Manager, Global Safe Motherhood Projects, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for a reduction in global maternal mortality to fewer than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. Achieving this target will require specific attention to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), which is estimated to cause more than a quarter of maternal deaths worldwide. The burden of PPH is even higher in certain regions: In Eastern Asia and Northern Africa, more than 35% of maternal deaths are attributable to hemorrhage.A relatively basic set of interventions can dramatically reduce the rates of PPH, including skilled care before, during and after childbirth, active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL) and, in many cases, administration of uterotonics. The preferred uterotonic of choice is oxytocin, which is delivered to the mother by intravenous injection immediately following delivery. Where oxytocin is not available, storage conditions are inadequate or health workers are not trained to administer it safely, misoprostol is currently the best alternative. Unlike oxytocin, misoprostol tablets do not need to be refrigerated or administered with a syringe, which can make it a more viable option in low-resource settings.In 2012, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) produced guidelines for the prevention and treatment of PPH with misoprostol along with a chart detailing recommended dosages of misoprostol when used alone for a variety of gynecologic and obstetric indications. In June 2017, FIGO released an updated chart informed by recent scientific evidence and developed through consultation with maternal health experts.The chart, divided into stages of pregnancy, outlines recommendations for dosages and routes of administration for misoprostol use for several indications including medically induced abortion, clinical management of miscarriage, cervical preparation for surgical abortion, fetal death, induction of labor and management of PPH. The chart has been endorsed by the FIGO Prevention of Unsafe Abortion Working Group and the FIGO Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health Committee.Some of the changes to this updated version include the addition of alternative routes for misoprostol administration and the introduction of secondary prevention of PPH. A group of experts agreed that secondary prevention of PPH is a strong, alternative approach to universal prophylaxis because it involves medicating far fewer women (only 5-10%), thus risking fewer adverse effects and substantially reducing costs.While the development of the dosage chart and its dissemination are critical steps in reducing the global burden of PPH, further work is needed to ensure that misoprostol is included in national essential medicine lists, high quality misoprostol is available—particularly in low-resource settings—and that health workers are trained to administer it safely.For more information, please contact Samia Khatun.—Download different versions of the new FIGO misoprostol charts in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.Learn more about the updated FIGO guidelines.Read about barriers to misoprostol use in developing countries.Access resources related to the maternal mortality targets under the SDGs.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 10, 2018August 1, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Mary Nell Wegner, Executive Director, Maternal Health Task Force, Women and Health Initiative; Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Vandana Tripathi, Deputy Director, Fistula Care Plus, EngenderHealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Giving birth in low-resource settings comes with substantial risks to mothers and newborns. Women who experience prolonged or obstructed labor—in which the baby is blocked descending through the birth canal—and do not have access to high quality emergency obstetric and newborn care are at increased risk of developing obstetric fistula.The condition, an abnormal opening in the upper or lower female genital tract, leads to uncontrollable leakage of urine or feces. Many of these women have also had a stillbirth or developed other complications resulting from obstructed labor. Fortunately, obstetric fistula—a preventable condition that disproportionately affects the world’s poorest women—can be treated with skilled surgical care.Margaret, a 50-year-old mother of one, is among the women who received surgical fistula repair in Nigeria this year at a treatment center supported by the Fistula Care Plus project. In describing how she developed fistula, Margaret told staff, “After the doctor did a cesarean section and brought out my child, a few weeks later I could not control my bowel. I went back to the doctor … but he had no solution to the problem.”Iatrogenic fistula: A quality of care issueSurgery to treat obstetric fistula is often highly successful, but surgical error that occurs during other operations—such as cesarean section (c-section), hysterectomy or ruptured uterus repair—can lead to a similar condition: iatrogenic fistula.While the root causes of obstetric and iatrogenic fistula differ, both represent failures of the health system to provide women with timely, safe and appropriate care, and both have severe consequences.Women living with fistula experience unpleasant odor and wetness, often accompanied by pain, stigma, lack of autonomy and isolation. Many women with the condition must also grapple with poor mental health, relationship disruptions and economic challenges. Some women have reported pain, weakness and persistent stigma one year after fistula repair surgery.Fistula in any form has grave consequences for women as well as their children, families and communities. Evidence suggests that a growing number of genital fistula cases in low-income countries are being caused by surgical error, which means that more attention to iatrogenic fistula is urgently needed.While the exact global burden of iatrogenic fistula is unknown, the number of women with the condition appears to be increasing with the rise of obstetric and gynecological surgery around the world. In a study assessing nearly 6,000 women who underwent fistula repair surgery across 11 countries—from South Sudan to Afghanistan—about 13% of injuries were caused by surgical error. Recent reviews of fistula case records from three countries indicated large variations in rates—from 8% in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to 27% in Bangladesh.Why is this happening?One of the main factors driving this trend is unsafe surgery. For surgery to be safe, it needs to involve a team of well-trained surgeons and other health care providers; a supportive health system; adherence to evidence-based policies and guidelines; access to anesthesia, essential drugs, supplies and equipment; hygienic conditions; electricity and a safe water source.But many health facilities in low-resource settings do not have some of the most basic resources, such as electricity and safe water. As Lauri Romanzi, project director of Fistula Care Plus, has said, “Nobody can work well, no matter how well-trained they are or personally motivated, when they don’t have an environment that works.”The role of rising cesarean section ratesAnother driver of the rising incidence of iatrogenic fistula is likely the growing pandemic of medically unnecessary c-sections.Researchers have been trying to understand what has been causing cesarean rates to skyrocket in so many countries and why rates between and among nations vary so widely—from less than 2% of births to greater than 40%. As this trend continues, more clinicians—especially those working in low-resourced facilities—will be confronted with conducting surgery under challenging conditions, possibly increasing the problem of iatrogenic fistula.Sustainable solutionsThere are three things we can do to reduce rates of iatrogenic fistula:Improve quality of surgical care. With the rapid expansion of surgical care in low- and middle-income countries must come improvements in quality of care. Advancing safe surgical practices for c-sections, hysterectomy and ruptured uterus repair is key to preventing more cases of iatrogenic fistula. The maternal health and safe surgery communities must collaborate to improve provider training, establish standardized surgical, anesthesia and obstetric criteria and routinely assess EmONC facilities for readiness and quality.Reduce unnecessary surgeries—such as c-sections—in the first place. In childbirth as in other health fields, averting unnecessary medical interventions is crucial. Strengthening the evidence base to support advocacy and empowering women to demand quality obstetric care are critical to prevent over-medicalization and, ultimately, reduce women’s chances of experiencing iatrogenic fistula. Additionally, providers themselves need support, through evidence-based guidelines for labor monitoring and clinical decision-making for delivery methods.Expand access to basic maternal health care. All women have the right to family planning to space desired births as well as quality midwifery services to reduce unnecessary c-sections and promote optimal birth outcomes.Standardizing classification and reporting of iatrogenic fistula is also necessary to better understand the scope of the problem, assess trends over time and respond effectively.Fortunately, Margaret accessed treatment and her iatrogenic fistula was repaired, but no woman should endure the pain and suffering of fistula—whether from childbirth or from unsafe clinical care. Surgeons and maternal health specialists must come together to ensure women’s access to health care that prevents and treats—but never causes—fistula.—This post was slightly edited and originally appeared on News Deeply | Women and Girls.Photo credit: Patients wait in a ward prior to undergoing obstetric fistula repair surgery at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala. AFP/Isaac Kasamani via Getty ImagesShare this:
Posted on January 12, 2018January 12, 2018By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)An estimated 2.6 million stillbirths occur every year across the globe, but many of them are not counted, reviewed or reported. The Every Newborn Action Plan proposed a target for reducing global stillbirths during the Sustainable Development Goal period from 18.4 stillbirths per 1,000 births to 12 or fewer stillbirths per 1,000 births by 2030. However, inaccurate reporting and inconsistencies with definitions are key challenges for tracking progress and achieving this target.In a recent systematic review, Reinebrant and colleagues examined the reported causes of stillbirth globally, revealing substantial data gaps.What are the causes of stillbirth?The authors reviewed 85 reports—28 from low-income countries (LICs), 20 from middle-income countries (MICs) and 37 from high-income countries (HICs)—containing data on nearly 490,000 stillbirths.Based on a subset of 33 nationally representative reports classifying roughly 250,000 stillbirths, the most commonly reported cause across all settings was categorized as “unexplained,” and many were listed as “other unspecified condition.” Other leading reported causes included antepartum hemorrhage, infection and hypoxic peripartum death. The relative proportions of these causes varied across high-, middle- and low-income countries.Data discrepanciesClassification systems and definitions for stillbirth varied substantially among regions. For example, while most LICs used 28 weeks’ gestation as a parameter for stillbirth, the majority of HICs used 20-24 weeks. This discrepancy makes it difficult to compare stillbirth rates across countries.The authors added,“Many countries, particularly those where the majority of stillbirths occur, do not report any information about these deaths. Where there are reports, the quality is often poor. It is important to improve the investigation and reporting of stillbirth using a standardized system so that policymakers and health care workers can develop effective stillbirth prevention programs. All stillbirths should be investigated and reported in line with the World Health Organization standards.”Identifying specific areas for improvement and interventions to address the global burden of stillbirth requires reliable data. Accurate, consistent and comprehensive reporting of stillbirths is essential for reaching the stillbirth target under the SDGs and is a reflection of a strong health information system.—Explore The Lancet series on ending preventable stillbirths.Learn about the World Health Organization’s efforts to help countries improve data collection on stillbirths.Are you working on preventing stillbirth globally? We want to hear from you!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on May 21, 2018May 22, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Amid persistent low coverage and poor quality of antenatal care (ANC) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)—and with recent guidelines from the World Health Organization calling for high quality ANC as well as more antenatal contacts—innovative approaches to delivering health care during pregnancy are needed. High quality ANC is not only vital to optimizing health during pregnancy, it also serves as an important touchpoint in the lives of women and families and can promote the use of health services in the future.Research in high-income countries has shown that compared to the traditional one-on-one model of ANC, group ANC—in which several women, typically of similar gestational age, gather for physical assessment, education, skill-building and peer support—can offer positive health outcomes such as decreases in preterm delivery, increased prenatal knowledge, higher rates of breastfeeding and higher engagement in care. CenteringPregnancy®, the model of group ANC for which the most evidence exists, was established to meet clinical guidelines for ANC in the United States. As such, most of the available evidence on group ANC comes from high-income countries and more research is needed to explore the feasibility, acceptability and effects of group ANC models in LMICs.A “generic” model of group ANC for low-resource settingsTo address this gap in evidence, researchers have begun exploring group ANC models in low-resource settings. A recent systematic review and evidence synthesis by Sharma and colleagues analyzed existing literature on group ANC in LMICs and extracted common attributes of models used to date in such settings. They synthesized descriptive data from group ANC experiences in 16 low and middle-income countries—derived from nine published papers and 10 key informant interviews—to develop a composite “generic” model of group care for LMIC settings. It outlines fundamental components that are consistent across all settings, as well as flexible components that may be adapted based on context. Standard components include providing a physical assessment during the group session, facilitating discussion to cultivate learning and peer support and incorporating self-care activities by women. The “generic” model includes 90-120-minute sessions with a group of 8-12 women of similar gestational age facilitated by the same two leaders (including one health care provider) for the duration of the program. Flexible components, such as the number of sessions and session content, may vary depending on the local guidelines and setting.As the authors note,“Several components of the ‘generic’ model aim to empower and support women. For example, engaging in discussion and shared care with other women of similar gestational age helps to normalize the experience of pregnancy and gives women a voice for knowledge sharing and a sense of community for support. The group format also fosters self-efficacy and social support for pregnant woman by creating a forum for participants to build skills and confidence, share experiences and resources and socialize with one another.”Adapting the model in India: Methods and resultsTo investigate whether this model would be possible and accepted by community members in an urban low-resource setting, Jolivet and colleagues conducted a feasibility study in Vadodara, a city of around 1.2 million in India, with both providers and beneficiaries. The researchers adapted the model to include four sessions (three antenatal sessions and one postnatal care session) and reflect local clinical care standards. Conducted at three different types of facilities where ANC services are commonly provided—a private maternity hospital, a public health clinic and a community-based mother and child health center—they demonstrated one session of the model to doctors and auxiliary nurse midwives, and to pregnant women and support persons. Focus group discussions, interviews and a survey collected feedback on participants’ perceptions about the group model specifically about the physical assessment, self-assessment (in which women measured their own blood pressure and weight), peer support and education components of the model as well as potential implementation challenges and solutions.According to the authors,“Ultimately, both groups of participants saw group ANC as a vehicle for delivering more comprehensive ANC services, improving experiences of care, empowering women to become more active partners and participants in their care, and potentially addressing some current health system challenges.”Overall, participants reported feeling comfortable with the physical assessment, and providers found the self-assessments to be a “novel idea… [that] helped women pay more attention and develop a feeling of ownership of their health information.” Women were enthusiastic about the model, offering solutions to facilitate its implementation, such as conducting sessions in the afternoons to accommodate women’s schedules and grouping women by common language in addition to gestational age.Despite some initial skepticism about group participation and engagement, providers found that most women were attentive and more than willing to share information and experiences with the group. Providers also expressed that the group model could meet the goals of high quality ANC while allowing more time for counseling and learning in an interactive format. As one provider reflected, “I could see that they were happy playing games and learning. It is a better way of teaching.”The findings from these studies can help drive further research testing the effects of group ANC in LMICs. The generic model suggests how researchers and programmers might approach or design group ANC in their own low-resource setting, while the feasibility study is a key step towards making group ANC accessible to women in urban India.The experiences of group ANC in low-resource settings, while limited, are quite promising. Forthcoming research will provide more insight into the effects of the group care model on coverage of recommended ANC contacts, provision of care, health system efficiency and responsiveness and—notably—women’s experiences of care.—Read the studies in full:Group antenatal care models in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic evidence synthesisExploring perceptions of group antenatal care in Urban India: Results of a feasibility study—Have you conducted research or participated in group ANC? Send us your feedback!Learn more about antenatal care>>Read about developing an adapted group antenatal care model for global implementation>>Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An Illinois company has won a $92 million contract to deepen and widen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to accommodate larger oil tankers.The Port of Corpus Christi on Thursday announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers selected Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company. The federal government and the Port of Corpus Christi are funding the overall $360 million ship channel project.Plans include expanding the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island. The depth would increase from 47 feet (14 metres) to 54 feet (16 metres) from the jetties at the entrance to the channel.The project comes amid replacement of the Harbor Bridge, which opened in 1959 and has a 138-foot (42 metres) clearance, with a larger span.The Associated Press
Claude Puel will remain with his 3-4-3 formation, even after it has been proven there is not enough personnel available to fulfill itLeicester City is 11th in the English Premier League standings.The team has won twice and lost three times to have six points already. With eight goals scored and nine received, fans are asking for a change.But The Foxes boss Claude Puel is not considering changing his 3-4-3 system yet.Vidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.“I am not in the habit to change something. For example, about our last game, if I change the system defensively just to find the good solidity after we can lose all the good aspect from the offensive play,” he was quoted by Foxes Of Leicester.“With four at the back, we can drive the play. I want to keep our quality and possibility to attack and then to correct in our game the defensive aspect: win duels, more aggressiveness, these good things. They are good ingredients.”“Changing the system sometimes, why not? But it is not my concern or my thought at this moment because we made mistakes and we know why we made them. I think it is important to be responsible and correct them,” he concluded.
Only a tiny portion of the 31 young children of Fort Benning, Ga., personnel found to have elevated blood-lead levels according to a Reuters investigation lived in on-post housing built before 1978 when lead paint stopped being sold. The investigation, published last month, linked numerous cases of elevated blood-lead levels in young children to the presence of lead-based paint in family housing at five Army installations, including Fort Benning. In response, that post’s garrison commander, Col. Clint Cox, looked into each of the 31 poisoning cases to determine the circumstances, including where the child lived.“The article would have led me to believe that all of these children were poisoned in one of these historic homes or these pre-1978 homes,” Cox told the Ledger-Enquirer. “The reality is that wasn’t it. We only had four of those 31 kids live in the historical homes. One of them was a medical ingestion of actual fishing weights. That leaves three. Twelve of them lived in newer homes and 19 lived off post,” he said.Fort Benning officials, however, have not ignored the underlying finding that several dozen children of service members had elevate blood-lead levels and have been trying to figure out a common cause. “It begged the question, ‘If not the lead-based paint …. then what could it be and where is it?’” Cox said.Officials believe one primary risk stems from the 40 million rounds of lead-based ammunition fired annually on the post’s 86 firing ranges. Soldiers using or working on the ranges can get lead particles on their uniforms and that can be transferred to family members at home.At the same time post leadership and Fort Benning’s housing partner remain concerned about the potential hazard posed by the installation’s 2,274 homes built before 1978. The Villages at Benning — which is owned by Michaels Management Services — and the Army held a town hall meeting earlier this month in the wake of the Reuters report. They outlined a series of steps property managers are taking in response, including establishing a one-hour response time for all lead-based paint calls and scheduling inspections of all affected housing. “I don’t think there is any way around saying lead is harmful and there is lead-based paint in the houses,” said Michaels Management Services President Ronald Hansen.Ledger-Enquirer photo by Mike Haskey Dan Cohen AUTHOR
.The indefinite strike enforced by bus owners and workers in Gopalganj was withdrawn on Tuesday afternoon, reports UNB.The decision to call off the strike came at a meeting among the district and police administration and bus owners and workers held at the deputy commissioner’s office.Deputy commissioner M Mokhlesur Rahman Sarker, police super M Saidur Rahman Khan, Gopalganj Bus Owners’ Association president Abul Hossain, its general secretary Sheikh Mushfiqur Rahman Liton and Gopalganj Motor Workers’ Union president M Jasu Sheikh, among others, attended the meeting.Earlier on Monday morning, the bus owners and workers enforced the indefinite strike in the district protesting the torching of a bus and demanding stopping the plying of illegal vehicles on Dhaka-Khulna highway.Two people, including a student of Gopalganj Polytechnic Institute, were killed as a bus skidded off the road and fell into a ditch at Gopinathpur in Sadar upazila on Sunday morning.Angered at their fellow’s death, students of the institute blocked the highway, vandalised several vehicles and torched the bus responsible for the accident.
Brian Naylor/NPRPrivacy groups have filed a complaint about My Friend Cayla dolls to the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that they spy on children.Tech toys have become popular holiday gifts. Many are interactive; some even claim educational benefits. But one such toy has privacy advocates very worried this year.It’s called My Friend Cayla. It’s a doll and looks pretty much like most dolls do. She is available in various skin tones and hair colors, and according to her website, she is the smartest toy you’ll ever have.But My Friend Cayla also has some issues. She sings, talks and listens — maybe a little too well.“We’re very concerned about the fact that these dolls are essentially spying on your kids’ private conversations,” says Claire Gartland, director of the Consumer Privacy Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington nonprofit that advocates for consumer privacy.The problem with Cayla, Gartland says, is that everything a child tells the doll can be recorded, in the guise of having an interactive conversation.Ask her, say, “Can I tell you a secret?” And the doll responds: “Sure go ahead; be very quiet, though. I promise not to tell anyone; it’s just between you and me because we are friends.”But Gartland says anything that’s said to Cayla isn’t really secret at all. If the doll is connected to a smartphone — as it’s designed to be — that information can be sent to the toy’s makers.“There’s all kinds of intimate details of their personal life, their parents’ personal lives. We know how kids at younger ages don’t necessarily have the same social filter,” Gartland says, “so these children could be chattering on about anything, really.”Gartland says the conversations that Cayla records are sent to servers at a company called Genesis, which makes the doll, and to another company called Nuance, which makes voice-recognition software for this any many other products. Nuance also has a database used by law enforcement and military and intelligence agencies that matches voiceprints.In a blog post, Nuance says it does not share voice data collected from its customers with any of its other customers. Genesis did not return calls for comment.Gartland says parents are not being sufficiently notified of My Friend Cayla’s capabilities, “and more importantly they’re not consenting to this, and that’s where some of our legal regulations come into play.”The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires companies that collect and use private information from children age 12 and younger to notify their parents and get permission first.Gartland’s group and other privacy advocates have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about Cayla. Ideally they’d like to see the toy and its sibling, i-Que Intelligent Robot, taken off the shelves in the United States, as has happened in some European countries.Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
Texas faired better than other states in a survey of potentially-toxic chemicals in drinking water, but the group behind the research says the chemicals may be more widespread than what’s been reported.The Environmental Working Group has put out a nationwide map of where fluorinated chemicals have been in found in drinking water, as documented in part by the Environmental Protection Agency.Steve Johnson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)These chemicals have been used to make everything from clothes to cooking pans. Companies started phasing them out in the early 2000’s, though some are still around.Bill Walker, Managing Editor for the group behind the survey, argues the EPA’s reporting requirements are too high. “There may be lots of contamination out there that didn’t meet their threshold, but nonetheless is at the level that the best science says is actually problematic,” he says. When contamination gets above 70 parts per trillion, drinking water managers are supposed to notify the state and follow up. Only Port Lavaca and Abilene made the list in Texas. According to this survey, the highest level found in the state was 51 parts per trillion.“The levels that are set by the EPA or the state, we feel that in a lot of cases they’re just truly not fully protective of public health,” Walker says. The EPA says most people have been exposed to these chemicals, but in small amounts. While the environmental group points to studies suggesting that’s still a problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the effects of low-level exposure are unknown, and more research is needed. 00:00 /01:18 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X Listen Share
Robin Jerstad for The Texas TribuneState Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, along with his wife Lleana, leaves the federal courthouse in San Antonio after being convicted on 11 charges on Thursday morning, Feb 22, 2018.Finally heeding calls from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, state Sen. Carlos Uresti announced his resignation Monday, four months after he was found guilty of 11 felonies. The news comes just over a week before the San Antonio Democrat is set to be sentenced by a federal judge in San Antonio; experts predict his penalty will be 8 to 12 years of prison time. He’s also scheduled for a trial in October on separate fraud and bribery charges.“As you know, I am in the process of ensuring that justice is served,” Uresti wrote in a statement Monday. “I need to attend to my personal matters and properly care for my family. So, keeping in mind the best interests of my constituents and my family, I believe it to be most prudent that I step down from my elected office to focus on these important issues.”Uresti’s sentencing — set for June 26 — will be based on federal guidelines, but judges have discretion to make sentences harsher or more lenient depending on individual circumstances. Resigning from public office may help the longtime lawmaker win a lighter punishment, and it may also help his case with federal prosecutors in his October trial.His resignation will become effective Thursday.In his announcement Monday, Uresti asked Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special election for the seat on the next uniform election date, which is the general election date in November. Doing so, he said, would save the district’s 17 counties thousands of dollars. The governor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on timing for the election.Several Democrats have already lined up to replace Uresti. State Rep. Roland Gutierrez announced his bid for the seat less than a month after the conviction; in early April, former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego joined the fray as well.In a fundraising email Monday afternoon, Gutierrez said that “one of the saddest, most embarrassing stories of Texas politics finally comes to an end.”“Texans from San Antonio to Eagle Pass and from Pecos to Del Rio finally have the chance to get leadership and representation they deserve,” he said.And in a Monday afternoon statement, Gallego said that as Uresti’s “legal process continues, my focus remains the people of Texas,” and he called on Abbott to order the special election as soon as possible.Uresti was indicted last year on charges including fraud and money laundering stemming from his involvement with FourWinds Logistics, a now-defunct oilfield services company found to have perpetrated a Ponzi scheme against investors. Uresti worked as general counsel for the company, owned a 1 percent stake and earned a commission for recruiting investors, according to court documents. He was found guilty on all counts in San Antonio federal court on Feb. 22. The San Antonio Democrat said immediately after the verdict that he had no immediate plans to step down and that he would appeal the ruling. Texas law allows him to continue serving in the Legislature until he exhausts the appeals process. But even as he said he planned to stay the course, Republicans and Democrats alike called on him to give up his seat in the Texas Legislature, where he has served for more than two decades. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, stripped him of his committee assignments hours after the ruling.First elected to the Legislature in 1997, Uresti is known for his advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children. Perhaps his greatest legislative achievement was the 2007 creation of a task force to tackle child abuse and neglect. For the last decade-plus, he has represented a district that stretches west from San Antonio all the way to the New Mexico border. In the months since his conviction, Uresti has resigned his law license and his wife of nearly six years has filed for divorce. Share
McKenzie earned an undergraduate degree in secondary education, political science, and American history in 2005. He completed his master’s degree in education at Vanderbilt in 2010. LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville football program has hired Norval McKenzie as its running backs coach, head coach Scott Satterfield announced on Tuesday. McKenzie is the father of one daughter, Anaya, and he and his wife Amber have a son, Storm.MCKENZIE AT A GLANCE2006-07: Hiram (Ga.) H.S. (assistant coach)2008-09: Vanderbilt (graduate assistant)2010: Vanderbilt (assistant recruiting coordinator)2011-15: Furman (running backs/special teams coordinator/recruiting coordinator)2016-18: Arkansas State (running backs) McKenzie helped lead Furman to a 2013 SoCon championship and several victories over FCS nationally-ranked teams, including No. 5 Wofford in 2011. The Paladins also knocked off then-FCS member and No. 3-ranked Appalachian State in 2011. Story Links Before his stint at Arkansas State, McKenzie spent five seasons at Furman, serving as the running backs coach, special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator. The 2008 season saw him help Vanderbilt post its first winning season (7-6) since 1982 and a 16-14 victory over Boston College in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl – the program’s first bowl victory since 1955. McKenzie assumed the duties of assistant recruiting coordinator, while also helping with player development and coordinating the Gridiron Club for former Commodore letter winners, in 2010. A Powder Springs, Ga., native and former football standout at McEachern (Ga.) High School, McKenzie was a four-year football letterman for Vanderbilt (2001-04), where he rushed for 1,411 career yards. He battled back from a serious leg injury his sophomore year to lead Vanderbilt in rushing as both a junior and senior. Last season, McKenzie’s running backs were an integral component of the offense that averaged 186.4 yards on the ground, guiding the Red Wolves to an 8-5 record and a win over Nevada in the Arizona Bowl. McKenzie tutored two of the Sun Belt’s top-10 rushers in Marcel Murray and the league’s Freshman of the Year Warren Wand. McCloud, who completed his career ranked 10th in Furman rushing history, garnered all-conference recognition in 2013 after running for 1,110 yards and five scores. Triston Luke rushed for 385 yards and a pair of scores in 2015 to find a place on the league’s All-Freshman team, while Marcus Anderson earned the recognition in 2013 when he posted 334 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Alma Mater: Vanderbilt, 2005Hometown: Powder Springs, Ga.Wife: Amber (Falcone)Daughter: AnayaSons: Storm Print Friendly Version While coaching at Furman, McKenzie instructed a pair of All-Southern Conference running backs and two others who were named to the league’s All-Freshman team. Jerodis Williams was a two-time All-SoCon choice after rushing for 2,225 yards and 20 touchdowns over his junior and senior campaigns, in addition to earning All-America honors in 2012 when he led the FCS in kickoff returns (35.9 avg., 2 TDs). Before joining the Louisville staff, McKenzie spent the last three seasons as the running backs coach at Arkansas State. Following graduation, he began his coaching career at Hiram (Ga.) High School, working two seasons there before returning to Vanderbilt as a graduate assistant coach for the 2008 and 2009 campaigns. Playing Experience2001-04: Vanderbilt (RB) Murray, who finished seventh in the Sun Belt in rushing, ran for 860 yards and eight scores, while Wand totaled 792 yards and four touchdowns to help the Red Wolves finish fifth in the conference in rushing. Wand closed his career finishing in the top 10 in school history in rushing yards. In McKenzie’s first season in 2016, the Red Wolves won a Sun Belt Conference championship with a 7-1 record and defeated UCF 31-13 in the Cure Bowl. During that campaign, Wand and junior Johnston White combined to rush for 1,351 yards and 12 touchdowns. Wand, a second-team all-conference honoree, rushed for a team-high 879 yards, while also posting 24 receptions for 279 yards and three more scores. McKenzie’s impact was felt during his second season, helping the Red Wolves rank No. 10 in the nation in total offense, averaging a school-record 494.8 yards per game. The unit also accounted for 10 combined touchdowns as the team ranked No. 13 in the country in scoring offense with 37.8 points per game. In that season, Wand and Johnson combined for 1,145 yards and nine touchdowns.
Former lead vocalist of music band Go-Go, Belinda Carlisle has revealed plans to drive an auto-rickshaw across India to raise money for charity.The 56-year-old ‘Heaven Is a Place on Earth’ singer has just got her motorcycle license in Los Angeles in preparation for the 1,135 mile journey.“I’m doing a rickshaw ride in India in March from Kolkata to Udaipur,” Belinda shared in a video shot in her LA living room with her pug Bam Bam.“So why not make a donation in somebody’s name this holiday season – that person who is impossible to buy for.” Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenCarlisle has a fund-raising goal of USD 25,000 to help the Animal People Alliance (APA), which works to improve the lives of slavery survivors with economic empowerment and education strategies.The charity helps to “train and employ vulnerable youth and women as veterinary technicians, dog handlers and animal caregivers” in India.Fans of the singer can donate to get signed copies of Carlisle’s studio albums, a Skype call from the star and a chance to ride the rickshaw with the singer on the last day of the journey.