NCPC-UNDEF Projects Starts

5 Feb
mikiko and riza's visit

Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi of UNDEF and Senatorial Candidate Risa Hontiveros visit at NCPC Office. Included in the picture are the staff and board members of NCPC including current LIga ng mga Barangay President Jose Importante

The Naga City People’s Council (NCPC) officially starts last February 1, 2013  its project entitled “Expanding and Fortifying Local Democracy Through People’s Council in the Philippines’ funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). The project was among the 51 proposals chosen for funding from almost 3,000 concepts submitted last 2011 and was the only project funded in the country for the year 2012.

The project aims to promote and replicate the people’s council concept as a viable model for democratization in local governance. It will address the perennial problem of people participation and bring the agenda of the marginalized sector in the forefront of plans and programs of the LGUs.

The project will focus on promotion of people’s council; capacity building for both CSOs and local officials; organizing, strengthening and facilitating of people’s council; and, active engagement of CSOs in the governance system of their respective NGOs.

The project will maximize the 15 years of experience of the Naga City People’s Council (NCPC) in engaging with the City Government of Naga and utilize its developed tools and systems. With said recognition, NCPC will focus its effort in the people’s councils that will be organized by the project and support them in the realization of their plans and projects.

By the end of the project, NCPC will see a vibrant people’s council operating in all the barangays of the City of Naga and in the 6 target municipalities of Metro Naga area and engaging with their respective LGUs, an increase in LGU leaders that recognize the role of people’s council in transparency and accountability in governance, and the emergence of new community-based, home-grown and locally initiated CSOs that are partners in the development of their respective communities

The duration of the project is 18 months and covers 21 out of the 27 barangays on the City of Naga including the municipalities of Canaman, Gainza, Magarao, Bombon, Pili and Bula. 

UNDEF was established by the UN Secretary-General in 2005 as a United Nations General Trust Fund to support democratization efforts around the world. UNDEF supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. The large majority of UNDEF funds go to local civil society organizations — both in the transition and consolidation phases of democratization. In this way, UNDEF plays a novel and unique role in complementing the UN’s traditional work — the work with Governments — to strengthen democratic governance around the world. UNDEF subsists entirely on voluntary contributions from Governments; in 2010, it surpassed 110 million dollars in contributions and now counts 39 countries as donors, including many middle- and low-income States in Africa, Asia and Latin America. (

sharing the KASAMA Call for Proposal

7 Jan

Karapatan sa Malikhaing Paraan (KaSaMa) 2012:
The Search for Innovative Philippine Human Rights Initiatives

Press Release

The Call for Proposals under KaSaMa 2012: The Search for Innovative Philippine Human Rights Initiatives continues until January 15, 2013.

First launched in 2009, KaSaMa is a funding initiative by international partners to support innovative human rights projects the address perennial human rights issues. A total of 25 projects worth a total of 29 million pesos have already been funded since 2009. Proposals were selected primarily based on the innovativeness/creativeness of the projects.

KaSaMa is once again inviting all civil society organizations to submit innovative human rights proposals. This year, it is focused on funding projects that address the following themes/rights: extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, women and gender, indigenous peoples and other minorities, human trafficking, human rights-based disaster risk management, educating human rights defenders, media freedom, suffrage, security sector reform, judicial reform, disability rights and Mindanao peace.

KaSaMa is open to all registered private, non-profit, Filipino organizations based in the Philippines. Guidelines and applications forms, as well as information about the past KaSaMa projects, can be downloaded at Entries can be written in English or Filipino. The screening will pay attention mainly on the innovative substance of the project and its contribution to improving the human rights situation. Linkage with the government sector such as LGU or the Commission on Human Rights is highly encouraged. Selected proposals stand to get as much as Php 1 Million Pesos worth of project grant. Proposals can be submitted via email, courier mail, or personally handed to the secretariat. Deadline for submission of proposals is on January 15, 2013.

This round of KaSaMa is in partnership with the Commission on Human Rights, the Australian Embassy, British Embassy, Embassy of Canada through its Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, United States Embassy, The Asia Foundations (TAF), New Zealand Embassy, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Spanish Embassy, and the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines.

The third round of the Karapatan sa Malikhaing Paraan (KaSaMa) had its Public Launch last December 5th. The event was graced by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann P Rosales, Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) Undersecretary Severo Catura and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Bimbo Fernandez. Also in attendance were various human rights organizations and the international partners of KaSaMa 2012, including the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In her keynote address during the KaSaMa 2012 Public Launch, CHR Chairperson Rosales presented the Philippine human rights situation. She made reference to the recent universal periodic review (UPR) of the local human rights situation with the United Nations Human Rights Committee where the Philippines got fair marks but also acknowledged areas that need improvement. She focused on positive developments but also recognized on-going violations such as cases of harassment of women, media and indigenous peoples. She also highlighted challenges confronting the commission with regard to perennial human rights violations observed in different sectors such as children, women, persons with disabilities, LGBTs, and human rights defenders. She also shared CHR’s plan to set up human rights centers in all levels of political subdivisions, from barangay up to provincial levels. And in this program she called all stakeholders to help strengthen the human rights institution.

PHRC USec. Catura echoed Chair Rosales’ report that the government is doing its part in responding to human rights issues through openly working with civil society groups, pursuant to President Aquino’s “Social Contract.” He also recognized the independent efforts of CSOs that contribute to government planning. “Civil society has been deemed by the government as a crucial identity in the overall campaign in realizing good and effective governance,” said USec. Catura.

Finally, DILG Usec Fernandez called out to CSOs to help DILG scale up its work in responding to housing rights issues brought about by natural disasters. He recognized that addressing housing rights is a main priority especially with the new DILG Secretary Mar Roxas appointed. But more than that, one effective way for civil society to help is to work with their respective local governments, according to him. Civil society can help the DILG in making sure that LGUs become responsive to relevant issues like informal settlers.

KaSaMa 2013 is being implemented by a consortium secretariat composed of the Ateneo Human Rights Center, the Ateneo School of Government, and the Caucus of Development NGO Networks.

For inquiries, please contact the KaSaMa Secretariat at (02) 920-2920, (02) 426-6001 local 4644 or email at



13 Jul

NCPC’s capacity development plan formulated by its program director was just approved by the Board.

the capacity development plan was formulated during the organizational diagnosis workshop conducted last May. the activity was facilitated by Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI) under the CSOs capacity program funded by USAID.

NCPC was among the 120 civil society organization identified for capacity building intervention under the program. more than 1000 CSOs was invited and one-fourth of which signifies need for intervention and NCPC was among the 120 CSOs priorities for assistance. the selection process was not based on the necessity but rather on the qualification of basic requirements and willingness to improve.

the capacity development plan (CDP) was approved alongside the capacity assessment tool (CAT) that qualifies NCPC as an expanding organization with a rate of 4 from out of 6 and 6 being the highest and considered as mature organization. said plan and CAT will be assessed by AFI for identification of its mentor. the mentor will guide NCPC in the improvement in terms of governance and leadership, strategic planning and management, program design implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation (PDIMME), resource mobilization and development, financial managament and administrative and personnel management.

NCPC hopes that by March 2014, it will have a comprehensive manual of operation that will encompass all of the stated areas that is also regularly reviewed, enhanced and follow to the letter and a globally competitive institution.


10 Jul

July 9 will be remembered in the calendar of NCPC for the double blessings it receives.

first, its new office was graced by Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel, a former congresswoman of AKBAYAN Partly-list and a staunch promoter of women’s rights and reproductive health and rumored to be running for the next senatorial race (she was on the 13th place last election). Her companion, Toots, the regional AKBAYAN Coordinator informally informed us that our request for the building was approved and have a budget of Php 700,000. He added that though it was a modest amount it will be start and expansions and improvement can just be added through other sources.

second, Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi of United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) visit us to personally inform us that our proposal “expanding and fortifying local democracy through people’s council” passed their rigorous screening process and bested almost 3,000 concepts worldwide to be included in the short list submitted and approved by the UN Secretary General.

she admitted that the concept of people’s council is something they haven’t heard before and are at lost if said concept was really in existence in more than 15 years. she is thankful that NCPC responded to their call for proposal that paved way for their learning of such concept that engage all aspect of governance from planning to evaluation including budget execution and monitoring. she also informed us that there are lots of things that have to be redone in the results framework and it should be reflected in the final drafting of the project document before the actual disbursement of resources can be done.

NCPC on its part was thankful for her visit and her guidance in the drafting of the document especially the establishment of baseline data. Her enthusiasm on some of the activities is heart flattering and her assurances give us so much encouragement to improve the said document to even surpass their standard. it is on this challenges that NCPC learns to improve on itself like the mantra of the City Government that there is always a better way of doing things.

Ms. Mikiko also added that if said project will be implemented properly and the target outcomes will be realized, it will be one of their feature project on the 6th rounds of their funding. NCPC replied that it will do its best to realized said outcomes because it will prove that people’s council will exist even outside the City of Naga.

NCPC Project Shortlisted in the UNDEF Call for Proposal

31 May

NCPC is grateful for inclusion of its project in the short list of proposals that made it to the final rounds of selection of the United Nation Development Fund. The project was conceptualized and submitted before the deadline last December 30, 2011.

the concept of the project is promotion and institutionalization of partnership between the government and the people through operationalization and strengthening of people’s councils both the barangays of the city and some neighboring town.

the Deputy Executive Head of the UNDEF preliminary contacted NCPC to inform that the project is jest waiting approval of the UN Secretary General and hopefully will be signed before the end of the June. Initial dates have been set up to discuss the draft project negotiation process.

UNDEF is financing facility of the United Nation and the call for proposal was participated by hundreds of CSOs world wide. NCPC was fortunate that its proposal was considered and have up to the shortlisting.

UNDEF’s Sixth Round of Funding comes as momentous efforts
for democratization continue to unfold in countries around
the world, while challenges old and new evolve in others. The
UNDEF Advisory Board met on 19 April and endorsed a short
list of 73 projects in Africa, the Arab world, Asia, the Americas
and Eastern Europe, estimated at a total of approximately
15 million dollars. The list is now subject to approval by the
Secretary-General, and to the successful negotiation of a
project document between UNDEF and each short-listed
applicant. Due to the high volume of proposals — 2,868 for
the Sixth Round, the second highest number in the history of
the Fund — UNDEF is able to contact, in mid-2012, only those
applicants whose proposals are short-listed.

The proposals originate from organizations in
105 countries, the vast majority local civil society
groups in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin
America and the Caribbean. This response will add
further to the considerable growth the Fund has
experienced since its creation in 2005. In its first five Rounds
of Funding, UNDEF supported more than 400 projects in a
total of some 150 countries. The initiatives all reflect a focus
on strengthening the voice of civil society, thus concentrating
on the demand side of democracy, rather than the supply
side. With 73 countries on the short list, the total number of
projects funded by UNDEF will rise to about 480

The short list is the product of a thorough process of
assessment, quality vetting, due diligence and lessons learned
from previous Rounds. The proposals were first vetted by a
team of six independent international assessors, combining
some 60 years of programme and project experience.

Each proposal was scored against 10 set criteria:
• Promotes the objectives of UNDEF
• Draws on the United Nations comparative advantage
• Will have a significant impact
• Will encourage inclusiveness
• Will enhance gender equality
• Has strong prospects for successful implementation
• Has a strong track record
• Is technically sound in conception and presentation
• Represents good value for money
• Has strong prospects of sustainability beyond the
project duration.

This assessment narrowed down the list
to about 240 proposals. To narrow down
the list further, comments were sought by
Experts of the UNDEF Advisory Board, UN
Resident Coordinators, and the UNDEF
Programme Consultative Group: the Department
of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping
Operations, the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights, the Peacebuilding Support Office, the
UN Development Programme, the UN Office on Drugs
and Crime and UN Women.

Based on this collective input, the UNDEF Secretariat
produced a short-list of 73 project proposals. 31 per
cent are in Africa, followed by 27 per cent in Asia. The
Arab world has an unprecedented 15 per cent – even
more than the year before.

Broken down by key activity, 27 per cent are in
the area of community development, followed
by 22 per cent in youth; 18 per cent in women’s
empowerment; 15 per cent in media; 15 per cent
in rule of law and human rights; and 3 per cent in
strengthening instrumentalities of Government.
Once the short list is approved by the SecretaryGeneral, the proposal moves into the final stage
in the selection process: the negotiation of a
project document, in effect the contract between
UNDEF and the grantee. This negotiation
requires the applicant to provide a more
elaborated project design, and involves detailed
input from both UNDEF and the applicant, as
well as scrutiny and due diligence enquiries by
UNDEF. Only upon successful conclusion of the
project document, and its approval by the UN
Controller, will the project proposal formally be
approved for funds disbursement.

The UNDEF Board for 2012-2013 brings
together UNDEF’s seven biggest donors —
the United States, India, Sweden, Germany,
Australia, Spain and France; six countries
reflecting geographical diversity and a
commitment to democratic principles —
Jamaica, Lithuania, Tanzania, Timor-Leste,
Tunisia and Uruguay; three individuals —
Professor Michael Doyle (Chair of the Board), of
Columbia University, Ms. Shazia Rafi, SecretaryGeneral of Parliamentarians for Global Action,
and Mr. Jeffrey Wright, Actor and Founder of
Taia Peace Foundation; and two civil society
organizations — Third World Network and
Women’s Environment and Development

REPOST – Call for Applications for the GEM- IWG 2012 Summer Institute and Symposium, July 17-29, Krakow, Poland.

23 May


Knowledge Networking and Capacity Building Program on Engendering Macroeconomics
and International Economics

Summer Institute and International Symposium
July 17 – 29, 2012

Hosted by

Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
In partnership with the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Gender Equality and the Economy Program at the Levy Economics Institute, and in coordination with GEM-Europe

GEM-IWG is pleased to announce the 2012 cycle of its Knowledge Networking and Capacity Development Program on gender, macroeconomics and international economics. This program aims to facilitate the integration of a gender perspective into macroeconomic research and policy formulation. The purpose of the program is to continue to build upon and expand the knowledge network of economists working on gender, macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy formulation.

Key activities of the 2012 program consist of a) an intensive Summer Institute to be held in Krakow between July 17th and 26th, and b) an international symposium to be held in Krakow on July 28 and 29th on“Economic Crisis in Europe: Towards Gender-Equitable Macroeconomic Policy-making and Economic Governance”. Up to thirty Fellows will be admitted to the program.

Eligibility: The program is for economists in academia, research institutions, government, civil society organizations and in international development institutions. Partial or full funding will be available for up to 20 fellows. The Fellows of the program will be required, at a minimum, to have completed two years of study in an economics Ph.D. program and have passed their qualifying exams, or have its equivalent such as a master’s degree in economics. These requirements may be waived only under exceptional circumstances. The program will be conducted in English. Final selection criteria will include the objective of achieving gender balance and country balance in the composition of Fellows.

The current initiative expands upon and contributes to long-standing efforts undertaken by GEM-IWG, an international network of over 400 economists from over 70 countries. GEM-IWG was formed in 1994 for the purpose of promoting research, teaching, policy making and advocacy on gender equitable approaches to macroeconomics, international economics and globalization. The Knowledge Networking Program was launched by GEM-IWG, in 2003. The Program has two objectives: (a) to develop capacity in research, teaching, policy-making and advocacy in this area; (b) to increase knowledge networking by strengthening the links among practitioners working on gender, macroeconomics and international economics. (please for details).
Applications must be received by June 18th, 2012, but they will be processed as they are received. Only completed applications will be reviewed. Those accepted to the program will be informed by June 25th, 2012. Please see further below for application requirements, the application process and the application form.


The fellows are expected to complete the full program which consists of the following three components:

The Self-study Module will introduce the Fellows to concepts of feminist economics and to basic concepts of feminist approaches to macroeconomics and international economics. Those participating in the course will be expected to have completed the self-study module. Completion of the self-study module will ensure that all the Fellows start from a common knowledge baseline and that they will have had a chance to do the readings before participating in the two -week workshop.

The Intensive Workshop which will take place on July 17- 26th, 2012 at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland will address the problems posed by the self-study component at a more advanced level. It will consist of lectures by the instructors, discussion sessions and presentations by the Fellows. The process will be participatory. The Fellows will have ample opportunity to meet with other participants and instructors to discuss their current and future research or teaching projects.

Fellows will be encouraged to work in a specific research area of interest to them in macroeconomics or international economics during the course. This may be related to a country that they are familiar with; the process may be used to lead up to a research proposal; it may entail a policy briefing or ideas for curriculum development. The Fellows will be expected to make a presentation on their research topic or on any other related topic that they have expertise on. They are expected to participate in discussions that contribute to the formation of sub-regional or thematic groups to promote knowledge sharing in research, teaching, and policy–making beyond the duration of the program. Examples of such groups formed during the past cycles of the Global GEM-IWG programs include: GEM group on Time Use, Social Accounting Matrices and CGE Modeling, GEM group on Gender and Poverty, GEM group on Gender Responsive Budgets, GEM group on Gender and Taxation, GEM group on Globalization, Labor Markets and Gender Inequity, GEM group of Economists for Full Employment and Employer of Last Resort, as well as regional GEM groups. The Fellows will have an opportunity to meet and interact with some of the returning Fellows from the past cycles during the workshop and the Symposium.
The list of instructors of the program is expected to potentially include, among others, the following in alphabetical order: Rania Antonopoulos (Levy Economics Institute, USA), Ragui Assaad ( Univesity of Minnesota, USA), Lourdes Beneria (University of Barcelona, Spain), Nilüfer Çağatay (University of Utah and Levy Economics Institute, USA), Valeria Esquivel(Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina), Jayati Ghosh ( JNU, India ), Indira Hirway (Center for Development Alternatives, Ahmedabad, India), İpek İlkkaracan (İstanbul Technical University, Turkey); Özge İzdeş (Istanbul University, Turkey), Manuel Montes (South Centre, Switzerland), Dimitri Papadimitriou (Levy Economics Institute), Antonella Picchio (Modena University, Italy), Sanjay Reddy (New School University, USA), Ewa Ruminska-Zimny (Warsaw School of Economics, Poland), Gül Ünal (UNDP, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, New York), Mariama Williams ( South Centre, Switzerland) and Anna Zachorowska (Jagiellonian University, Poland).

The Symposium on “Economic Crisis in Europe: Towards Gender-Equitable Macroeconomic Policy-making and Economic Governance” will take place on July 28- 29, 2012 also at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. The Fellows are expected to attend the symposium, which will be open to the wider public, namely to other interested researchers/academics, policy-makers/bureaucrats, international development organizations, members of NGOS and the media.

Detailed information on course content, list of instructors, purpose of the course as well as the symposium program will be posted on the website , as well as on the main GEM-IWG , which also has more information on GEM Institutes that have been held in the past and conferences for previous cycles.


Up to twenty Fellows will be funded. For the fellows who are fully funded by the program, the following will be provided: economy round trip air travel; accommodation and meals during the workshop and the symposium; instruction; course and self- study materials; and symposium participation fees. The cost of local transportation to and from the airport and the venue of instruction will be the responsibility of Fellows. In addition, those Fellows who need to obtain visas will be covering the costs of their visas on their own. Fellows are expected to obtain travel health insurance for the period during their stay in Poland. Fellows who are self-funded need to cover the costs of accommodation and meals, instruction, course materials and symposium participation (3,200 euros in total), and the cost of their air travel and local transportation.


The deadline for the completed applications is June 18, 2012.
The applications can be made on-line at the website . This is the preferred method of application. If you have problems with the on-line application process, please submit the application documents by emailing them to Joanna Duda (
Kindly note that for applications to be processed, all the required documents must be uploaded on–line or be simultaneously sent via e-mail.

Please be advised that the applications will be processed and reviewed as they are received.

Application requirements are:

The completed application form for admission (Please see below and also on the website)
A Curriculum Vitae
A personal statement which should include a description of the applicant’s background and current work in economics, interest and/or background in gender studies, background and /or interest in macroeconomics, background and/or interest in international economics, motivation for taking the course, how s/he plans to use the knowledge, skills and networks gained in the program, and how s/he expects to contribute to the course and more generally to knowledge networking in the future. This statement should be between 500-750 words. The statement should address all these areas.

A letter of recommendation from someone who is familiar with the applicant’s work in economics.
For those whose main language of instruction during their education was not English, some proof of English proficiency test (e.g., TOEFL) will be preferable, but other proof may be accepted (e.g. a sample of written work in English).
For applicants who are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program or who have obtained a Ph.D. or M.A. degree in the last two years, a copy of their transcripts in the Ph.D. or the M.A. program.
Please fill out the Application Form on–line. You will be able to upload your CV, personal statement and all the other required documents on-line as well. The recommendation letter needs to be uploaded by the recommending person separately.

If you have difficulty with the on-line application process, please submit them by email. Items 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 should be sent by the applicant via email to ( . Item 4 (the recommendation letter) should be signed and scanned on the recommender’s institutional letterhead and should be sent by the recommender directly, with a subject line “recommendation for Mr., Ms. ……”.
ITEMS 1,2,3,4,6 should be sent together; the subject line should include the following: GEM application and your last name ( e.g. GEM application Mary Smith)

For inquiries, please contact:

Nilüfer Çağatay
Co-Director, GEM- IWG
Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah and
Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute, New York, U.S.A.

Rania Antonopoulos
Co- Director, GEM- IWG
Director, Gender Equality and the Economy Program
Levy Economics Institute, New York, U.S.A.

Ewa Ruminska- Zimny
Host-country co-organizer of GEM-IWG 2012 Summer Institute
Lecturer, Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland.

Anna Zachorowska
Host-country co-organizer of GEM-IWG 2012 Summer Institute
Assistant Professor, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.

This year, make it ‘No Mothers Day’ By Christy Turlington Burns, Special to CNN (a repost from the email of oyen dorotan)

14 May

Editor’s note: Christy Turlington Burns is a global maternal health advocate, founder of Every Mother Counts, and the director/producer of the 2010 documentary “;No Woman, No Cry.”

(CNN) — For those of you who do not have your calendars marked and gifts or cards purchased, a reminder: Sunday is Mother’s Day, a “holiday” that many Americans have the luxury and good fortune to be able to observe. This year, the National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend around $18.6 billion on gifts for this one day — even though most of us go through the motions of celebrating without having any idea about the day’s original intent.

Mother’s Day can be traced back to Julia Ward Howe, and its aims were quite different from anything you’ll find today on a greeting card. In her Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870, Howe called on her “sisters” to work to establish peace so that her son could return home from war: “In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held … to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

This year, I would like to ask that we — mothers and everyone else — reignite the spirit of common purpose that Julia Ward Howe sought to inflame in Americans, and direct it toward a silent wartime that is taking hundreds of thousands of women’s lives each year — childbirth.

The World Health Organization estimates that some 360,000 girls and women die worldwide each year from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. Nearly all of these deaths are preventable. It’s not that they are preventable if we find a cure. and it’s not that they are preventable if we extend expensive lifelong treatment regiments.

They are preventable if we extend very basic, known and trusted services: If we help women get to health care facilities in their time of need; if we ensure that a skilled professional is available to oversee their labor and delivery; if we provide access to family planning so that children are spaced. These goals are all within our reach, but only if we decide that women’s lives are worth saving.

What does the issue actually look like worldwide?

While rates of maternal mortality are often highest in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, in several of those countries we are beginning to see declines. Startlingly, maternal mortality rates have been rising in America. According to the World Health Organization, the rate of women who died from pregnancy-related complications in the U.S. increased by nearly 50% from 1980 to 2008 — a statistic that suggests this issue is one of equitable resources and education, not a lack of technology or infrastructure.

Two years ago, I made a documentary film, “No Woman, No Cry,” and founded an advocacy and mobilization campaign called Every Mother Counts. I did both to raise awareness and support for maternal and child health care. We are trying to draw attention to an underreported global problem that can be solved if only we come together to make it a priority.

Our organization measures success by the actions taken to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal health. The goal is 5 million actions by 2015 — perhaps signing a pledge, running a 5K or even a marathon or donating an old cell phone so it can be used to facilitate communication and medical care in rural areas. Our website,, suggests specific actions to take, many of them straightforward steps that help spread the word or raise resources for simple solutions. Individually they may seem small but together, they can save lives.

With that said, here is what we propose for Mother’s Day: A “No Mothers Day.” Our “proclamation” encourages mothers to join in solidarity to “disappear” for the day, out of solidarity with those who needlessly die in pregnancy and childbirth. We believe that in acting together, we can show just how much a mother is missed when she is gone

We’re spreading the word with a film to get families across the country talking about this issue, so that next year, there will be more mothers and families who can celebrate Mother’s Day together.

Please join me at, for No Mothers Day. Because together, our silence will speak the loudest for all mothers.

ncpc note: ncpc will continuously post in its blog articles that promotes the agenda of its sector…