Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ellen is a Marigold Ideas For Good finalist! "Vote for Ellen!"

The Domestic Agenda needs you this week!!  Our Co-Founder Ellen Hamilton Fenter has been selected as a finalist for funding from Elder Hostel! She made the top 15 and the top 5 will be chosen, in part, by votes.

What $5000 means for The Domestic Agenda:
The Domestic Agenda will apply the funds toward our Maama Kits project in Uganda, which provides valuable tools to aid in a cleaner, safer birth. Read here for more information on Maama Kits and why they are vital to mothers in areas where "basic" sterile supplies are not readily available.

Please take a minute to click here and vote for Ellen Fenter. You can vote once a day! 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Domestic Agenda Mother's Day Maama (Mama) Kit Event (Part of Project MOM on IndieGoGo)

On Sunday, May 8, 2011, we are holding our first ever Mother's Day Mama Kit event, which is part of our on-going IndieGoGo campaign, Project MOM!!  Donate $10 or more now through May 9th, and we will send your mother, sister or other fabulous woman in your life a special Mother's Day eCard just in time for Mother's Day!  Each $10 donation will also qualify the donor as a Founding Member of The Domestic Agenda! 

In honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, we plan to help 100 mothers who need clean supplies and tools with which to give birth.  Please help us reach our goal of $1000, which will provide 100 Maama (Mama) Kits to 100 mothers! 

Check out our website at www.domesticagenda.org for more details about our organization or how you can get involved! 

Happy Mother's Day from all of us at The Domestic Agenda!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

And the winner is...

On the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, we began our countdown.  Over the course of our Countdown, we've shared some of our favorite "movers and shakers" - people and organizations that are doing what it takes to put a stop to maternal mortality. 

So #1 in our Countdown of the Top Ten life savers for women worldwide is...WOMEN!!!  The Domestic Agenda is asking at-risk women directly what would save their lives. When we line up their agenda with the current research agenda, we see what really needs to be done to have an impact on maternal mortality.
There is so much work to be done, friends.  With your support and friendship, women (and children) all over the world will see a brighter future.

Here is the full list of our Top Ten Life Savers (also located on our Facebook page):
  1. Women!
  3. Birth of a Surgeon
  4. Fistula Hospitals
  5. International Confederation for Midwives
  6. Vodafone Foundation
  7. United Nations MDG#5
  8. No Woman, No Cry
  9. Women Deliver
  10. LitWorld

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Steady To The Finish Line

by Ellen Hamilton Fenter

Tomorrow, Sheila Huss, one of our team members at TDA, will be running a 100 mile race in Utah. It's not her first race but I'm guessing every time a person sets out on this type of challenge there are certain thoughts and emotions that recur. In the forefront would be the question "can I really do this?".

Annie and I got to share Sheila's first 100 mile finish in Leadville, Colorado last summer. She ran over 10,000 ft. passes and through mountain forests all day and all night. We set our timers and drove rocky backroads to catch her at checkpoints to let her know we were there pulling for her. Annie ran the night course with her, knowing that most runners drop out during that phase because of the dark, the cold, the quiet, and the fatigue. She talked to her about any and everything as they ran....just hoping to keep her in the zone. And it worked. Sheila finished the next morning in record time.

I tell that today because I am thinking about our beloved sisters in Uganda, running a race against time and poverty and culture and most of all...against the odds. I am sure every woman in the world just wants to run the race of life well, crossing the finish line with some sense of dignity and pride. And I am convinced that it is our imperative to come alongside those voiceless souls who travel through the empty darkness, navigating endless trails of hopelessness.

And that's why we do what we do at TDA....we understand the sacred privilege to share whatever we can with one another and with our sisters on the other side of the planet.

Because life is a long haul and every one of us wants to finish well.
Bueno suerte, Sheila....run with the wind!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Worlds Apart: What Birth Means To Women

I remember the morning I went into labor like it was yesterday. I had been anticipating the birth of my baby for what seemed an entire lifetime and the fact that my pregnancy went almost 3 weeks over term made that day even more delicious. I had everything ready....the nursery was fully stocked, my bag was packed, I'd read all the right books and taken the appropriate classes. My husband and I giggled with excitement between labor pains as we drove to the hospital. It was one of the best days of my life.

Contrast that scene against the birth experience for a woman in Uganda. More often than not, her pregnancy is not a period of celebration. It is a consequence of a brutal assault and from the moment she learns she conceived, she knows she may be living the last months of her life because in her universe, 76% of women die in childbirth.

The day she goes into labor she is faced with a decision: walk miles to the clinic or deliver unattended at home. If she makes it to the clinic she will be forced to lay in silence on a sheet of black plastic on the ground during the remainder of her delivery time. If she cries out in pain, she will be slapped and beaten.

When her child is born, it is swaddled and set aside and she remains on the black plastic...waiting for the verdict of life or death. On a good day, she will pass the placenta and be sent home with her child. On too many days, she will begin to hemorrhage and her blood will pool on the black plastic in larger and larger volume until more is out of her body than inside of it and she will die.

She waits...to learn which it will be.

This is not right. It is not humane. It is not acceptable in the year 2011.

As we acknowledge International Women's Day, I implore you to become aware of The Domestic Agenda, a labor of love....created by women, for women, with one clear and non-negotiable message: Childbirth should not be a cause of death.

~Reverend Ellen Hamilton Fenter
COO, The Domestic Agenda

My First International Women’s Day

by Annie Feighery

In 2009, I happened to be in Uganda in March. Never in my life had I taken notice of International Women’s Day. I was in Southwestern Unganda to observe a local midwife’s work in the clinic across the road and I was generously hosted by Marie* and her husband. Each day I looked forward to morning talks with Marie over African bush tea, but on March 8, my host was already gone by the time I came for tea.

Marie keeps the chemist shop in her village. She sells medicines people are prescribed or recommended. She is also the representative of her village to the local governance board. In an area where women are routinely abused and neglected, Marie was the most empowered woman I, or anyone around, had met. As a businesswoman and political representative, her role was central in this occasion. That morning, large lories with open carriages carried singing women to meetings, trainings, and celebrations for female empowerment.

I did not see Marie until late that night when we met for dinner. In the humid air that hangs until just after sundown on the equator, Marie told me about the day’s exciting events. She looked so pretty in a bright red dress, her hair freshly done, and make-up on her shining eyes. She was visibly proud of herself, of her community, of women. As the light from the sun dimmed, Marie lit a kerosene lamp and kept talking with an energy that was new to her voice. Her husband entered and joined in our conversation. He had been gone for days working in a malaria lab in another part of the county, but came home because the men were supposed to take care of women in honoring the occasion. As he explained this to me, Marie looked down at her chest and laughed a nervous laugh that unsettled the good feelings.

Over dinner, the husband turned to me—as Marie gave me my dish for the shared meat sauce and matoke—and said, “I’m supposed to make dinner for my wife tonight!” Again looking away, Marie handed me a cup for tea. I looked away also. A woman knows when her gaze would hurt another woman.

“Why didn’t you?” I wanted to be polite, but I was getting upset at what was unfolding in front of me. Marie walked out of the room with a crying toddler. No one answered my question.

We ate dinner to the sound of the radio, like most nights, which complimented the men of the area for taking such good care of their wives in celebration of International Women’s Day.

*names are changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And so the Mama Kits have begun...thanks to our friends at Outrigger Palms at Wailea!!

by Kelli Braxton

Tonight, I received a very exciting call from a dear friend of mine.

Before I tell you about the call, let me give you a little bit of background on my friend and how she was introduced to The Domestic Agenda.

Amy is my neighbor and the Head of Housekeeping at the Outrigger Palms at Wailea. After dinner one evening, Amy and I were discussing life, in general.  The Domestic Agenda was a major part of this conversation.  After telling Amy about our organization, she was excited to hear about what we are doing and declared that she wanted to help in any way possible.

Outrigger Amy throwing a Hawaiian "Shaka"
After some discussion, I explained to Amy that one of the most important elements of our organization is our Mama Kit (aka "Maama Kit").  After I described our kits, Amy shared that the company she works for (Outrigger Palms at Wailea) "recycles" their gently-used linen by donating it to organizations that can use it, and that The Domestic Agenda could very much benefit from these wonderful donations of towels and sheets!

So back to that call...Amy phoned me this evening to say that she had been collecting sheets and towels over the past two weeks for The Domestic Agenda.  She and her wonderful husband Matthew personally delivered 8+ bags of donated linen tonight!  What an amazing gift!!  And what an amazing ally The Domestic Agenda has found in Amy and the Outrigger Palms at Wailea!

Thank you, Amy, from all of us at TDA...and from the thousands of mothers around the world who will benefit from the generosity of companies like the Outrigger Palms at Wailea. Much Aloha.