As the days become darker and colder in Scandinavia this year, I remember the cold and dark days two years ago, in late 2011, where the story of Girls’ Globe begins. At the time I was working at the United Nations Population Fund in Copenhagen, Denmark, with strategic procurement and supply chain management for global contracts of sexual, reproductive and maternal health commodities. It was, and is, an important job, as UNFPA makes up close to half of the global public procurement of contraceptives and other essential and life-changing commodities that both empower people and save lives. UNFPA does amazing work to promote family planning, create youth-friendly services for sexual and reproductive health, strengthen maternal health systems and combat neglected maternal morbidities, like Obstetric Fistula.
It was my time at UNFPA that sparked my desire to do more. Although I had amazing colleagues and my job was fulfilling in many ways, I did feel like something was missing. I felt a frustration towards the lack of awareness about the situation of women and girls around the world, the disparities across countries, and even the intricate gender inequalities in my own society. My frustration also stemmed from my childhood. Growing up in Egypt, Pakistan and India, I felt just as much at home in a developing context (which made my typically Swedish looks deceiving) and I felt like that part of my life was slowly disappearing. I also felt a frustration as I was riding the train to and from work between Sweden and Denmark, two of the countries with the greatest welfare in the world, and I was working to deliver commodities to women and men so far from my reality. How can we truly understand the needs of these people when we are physically so far away?
We don’t just want to hear the alarming statistics and see the face of a victim. We want to hear the voices of real women and girls, who are in themselves agents of change.
So, as a way to learn more and educate myself and others, I started to blog and created Girls’ Globe. Since that moment, the seed of the idea to raise the voices of women and girls around the world, for them to educate us and raise our awareness about their needs, their lives and their opinions, has grown into a blooming global network of amazing and passionate young women who both inspire and lead the way for change, as well as, organizations that are empowering women and girls in the core work that they do. (Thank you social media!)
Girls’ Globe has become so much more than just a blog. We are creating change by establishing a platform for connections, creative collaborations and a new way of doing things, by using technology, social media and a passionate team of changemakers to accelerate progress for women and girls around the world.
We’ve had several milestones in the past year alone, including the Women Deliver conference in Malaysia in May. Girls’ Globe hosted our very first crowdfunding and outreach campaign, which enabled seven Girls’ Globe bloggers to attend the conference and meet for the very first time!
Girls’ Globe has become a communications partner at key international events, including Women Deliver, United Nations General Assembly Week and the International Conference on Family Planning, partnering with FHI 360, Women Deliver, Johnson & Johnson and others. Our mission is to deliver online coverage from these high-level events and gain a direct connection with speakers, decision-makers and global leaders to report on the latest agreements and encourage others to join the ongoing discussions. At these events we also want to hold leaders accountable and raise the voices of women and girls from the grassroots level.
Girls’ Globe is growing as I write this with new bloggers and featured organizations, and we want to continue to do so. We don’t only have hopes and dreams for the coming year, we have high expectations and great ambitions. In 2014, we aim to continue expanding our international network of bloggers, organizations, and partners. We will continue attending international conferences and facilitating an online space for young women and the organizations that work to empower them to raise their voice. But, we need your help. Will you join us to continue to create change?
Starting today, on #GivingTuesday, and throughout this holiday season support Girls’ Globe to continue to grow. Donate!
If you aren’t able to donate with money, please donate a small amount of time by sharing Girls’ Globe with anyone you think may be interested in following and becoming a part of a movement to raise the voices of women and girls around the world.