Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Defending Dignity, Fighting Poverty

Today, I'm going to try something new and share a letter with everyone from Hosanna Kabakoro - a 2009 National Young Women of Distinction. Hosanna recently attended the CARE Conference on Global Poverty and Women's Issues in Washington D.C. and below is her letter - enjoy:

By Hosanna Kabakoro

2009 National Young Women of Distinction

Defending Dignity, Fighting Poverty

This week, thanks to Girl Scouts of the USA, my fellow Young Woman of Distinction Vivian and I were privileged to attend the international CARE Conference on Global Poverty and Women's Issues in Washington D.C.

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. It places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.

The Keynote speaker at the conference was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who encouraged conference participants to lobby Congress to authorize funding to campaign against child marriage, maternal death and hunger in developing nations. Mrs. Clinton took time to promote the administration's goals for eliminating poverty and disease through nutrition.

Other speakers and guests included the First Ladies of Sierra Leone, Kenya and Mozambique, who shared how they and their husbands are starting schools for girls, initiating village-level micro-financing projects and working to provide more effective pre and post natal care to rural and impoverished women. Christie Turlington and Maria Bello were also present, and awarded special recognition awards to women who are playing fundamental roles in reaching other women with solutions.

We learned that more than a billion people live in poverty. One in three children in the world live in an undernourished state. We also learned that there is hope. As we focus on women, and encourage them to join in initiatives directed at them, we will continue to see progress.
Girl Scouts was invited to share how youth are contributing and Vivian and I led a roundtable group where we were able to discuss how our Gold Award projects were birthed and what the results of our projects have been.

It was a wonderful time of sharing and getting to meet other female activists. I left feeling educated, informed and empowered to continue making a difference.