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Suzanne Munson, Manager, Global Partnerships and Alliances Heifer International

 

Since 1944, nonprofit Heifer International has equipped and empowered families and communities around the world to build self-reliance that lifts people out of hunger and poverty. In her eight-year tenure, Manager of Global Partnerships & Alliances Suzanne Munson has witnessed these inclusive, sustainable methods transform numerous lives.

“Our holistic approach to ending hunger and poverty is what makes our work effective,” Munson says. Since dire straits have no single culprit, the solution must address all causes. Values-based holistic community development (VBHCD) is the multi-pronged approach Heifer uses. “It means we work directly with small-scale farmers and their families to identify what they need to thrive,” Munson explains. Project participants — many of them women — receive training and assets: gifts of livestock, seeds and trees, access to clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene. In this way, Heifer ensures those with little opportunity get the tools to lift themselves out of poverty.

Fanny

Fanny

Heifer employs in-country teams who speak the language and understand the culture and issues that contribute to hunger, poverty and marginalization. This accelerates the process of inclusion, which is inherent in Heifer’s holistic approach. These teams work throughout the life of a project to train leaders to continue the work after Heifer is gone. “This is the true sustainability of Heifer’s model,” Munson says. “Communities learns to be self-reliant, independent.” This thread is continued with Passing on the Gift®, a promise each recipient makes to pass on gifts of training and livestock to other members in the community. With a typical “pass on” rate of seven to nine generations, the offspring of each original animal benefits seven to nine more families. “We have seen this incredible model build social capital and foster inclusion in an amazing way,” Munson says.

Countless incredible women have emerged from Heifer’s fold. “I’ve met so many strong, brilliant women during my time at Heifer,” Munson says, including Fanny in the mangroves of Ecuador. Fanny is an activist and fierce advocate for families whose livelihoods on the coast have been threatened by the invasion of large shrimping companies. “They buy up all the land,” Munson explains, “and clear cut the precious mangrove forests, ruining the natural ecosystem by setting up artificial shrimp ponds that leak chemicals and toxins into the communities’ water supply.” These people used to have an abundance of crab, shrimp, mussels and clams. Now they have barely enough to feed their families. Fanny’s work to defend the rights of the community and protect the mangroves is dangerous. She’s been shot at, threatened, and witnessed a number of atrocities,” Munson says. “She’s seen defiant community members killed and entire hamlets of houses burned down as warnings to stop interfering.” Nevertheless, Fanny continues to persist to address food insecurity, and for the mangroves, hoping to one day regain all that’s been lost.

Hear more from Suzanne Munson as she represents Heifer International on a panel at this year’s World Woman Summit, October 11-12 in Little Rock.

How technology is saving relationships during COVID-19

It’s hard to find an area in our society that has not been impacted by COVID-19. Adjusting to the “new normal” has been easier for some sectors and social institutions than others. For instance, grocery stores around the world quickly adopted face masks, gloves, and disinfectants to ensure their safety. But what about our more immaterial institutions? How can intimacy, love, and relationships protect themselves during COVID-19?

Some might think it’s frivolous to think about feelings during a pandemic, but we can now see that strict social distancing has real, tangible effects on our well-being. Apart from depression and anxiety, loneliness has been linked to somatic illnesses like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. You may be safe from the virus but staying far apart from your loved ones can also have devastating effects. As we tackle this pandemic, loneliness has slipped under the radar and become a silent presence in our everyday lives.

Luckily, technology bridges the gap between us and those around us. Your opinion matters, your feelings matter, and it’s more important than ever to find someone that can listen to you. Social media platforms are finally making good on their promise to bring people together. Instant messaging apps can get you in touch with your family and friends. But, after sharing another story about the movie you want to watch or your dinner plans, the crazy cocktail of boredom and fear can still linger long in your heart.

New digital platforms are quickly stepping up to better fill the needs of those looking for deeper connections with new people. For example, Jasmin.com lets its members talk to influencers about any topics they’d like. Through messaging and video calls, members can enter a safe space with an influencer where they can openly talk and pass the time.

Perhaps this is the future of intimacy and relationships. Less focus on massive social media platforms and more on one-on-one connections. We will no longer find solace in massified, video calls with 9 little screens serving as a succedaneum for our friends. Status updates sent to thousands across the globe will start to lose their luster. It will be just us and somebody else we really care about, crafting a special relationship and caring deeply about each other. Ironically enough, this harkens back to a time before the mass adoption of social media.

Through video calls, pop ups and notifications, technology is helping us keep the flame of our precious, one-on-one interpersonal relationships more alive than ever. Sending a personalized video for someone’s birthday means a lot more now than before. Even a simple “Hey, how are you?” can instantly brighten up someone’s day. People are getting very creative with how to bring people into their homes via cell phones: Should we video call while I cook dinner? Should we share a screen and watch a movie together? Maybe we can video call so you can help me cope with the stress of leaving my house. With someone by our side, it seems like we can finally tackle this crisis one day at a time.

Technology is helping us realize that nothing brings people together like a shared experience. Whether they be good or bad, knowing that someone is going through something similar instantly bridges any distance. If you want to keep your relationships alive during this time, be thoughtful, be patient, and think about others first. Empathy will always be the only way to get near to someone’s heart, but technology is helping us express that empathy when we need it to show most.

So, what can you do right now to safeguard your intimacy and relationships? For the first time ever, it’s OK to talk to strangers on the internet. They won’t be strangers for long once you share your feelings and experiences with each other. Loneliness is a real problem but having a phone with the right websites or apps can keep it at bay. So tap to reach out. Find a new chat partner. Send a message, a photo, or a video and be a beacon of light in these dark and uncertain times.

 Author: Guillaume Tanferri Co-writers: Fernando Garcia and Gary Kovacs

 1 Brody, Jane E. “The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health.” The New York Times. The New York Times, December 11, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/well/mind/how-loneliness-affects-ourhealth.html.

Dr.Joynicole Martinez,  the new Director of Research & Development

LOS ANGELES: Monday, June, 24, 2019 – Dr. Martinez a long-time development executive in fund development, leadership and board training, strategic planning, and performance management is joining World Woman Foundation as the Director of Research & Development as the company officials announced today.

As a community advancement and public health expert, Dr. Joynicole has developed initiatives that reach across disciplines to strengthen health and wellness, including the development of mixed- income, mixed-finance housing communities that encompass programming addressing social determinants of health, equity and human rights. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Franklin Foundation for Innovation, Wisdom To Believe Foundation, is the U.S. Chair for Housing and Community Development for the ALL International Women’s Chamber, a Subject Matter Expert for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, is a She is a Source Expert in the areas of Business and the Economy, Health, and Social Justice, is a staff contributor to the newspaper The Carolinian, and is a member of the invitation-only community of leadership and executive coaches, Forbes Coaches Council.

“Dr.Joynicle has a strong track record of leading proactive, integrated development strategies, and we’re pleased to have her join our team,” said Rupa Dash, CEO, World Woman Foundation. “She’ll champion our vision and purpose and will continue to lead and expand our programs globally.

“Engaging women through mentorship, supporting them through social enterprise and entrepreneurship, and developing them as leaders through innovation and future-focused work disrupts patterns of gender inequality and builds stronger economies. I am honored to partner with the prestigious World Woman Foundation in this important work.” – Dr. Joynicole Martinez 

ABOUT WORLD WOMAN FOUNDATION:            

The World Woman Foundation is a non-profit organization that connects people across continents and cultures to discover and celebrate advancement resources for women worldwide. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the Foundation focuses on business, technology, social entrepreneurship and entertainment opportunities that promote gender harmony. The Foundation is currently working on implementing a mentorship program for 1 million women and girls worldwide by 2030. For more information, visit www.worldwomanfoundation.com.

 

 

 

CHANGE THEIR WORLD. CHANGE YOURS. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.