Mentoring: Masai, Midwives, Mobile Med & Media That Matters!

Aug 5, 2010 Meet Sabore Ole Oyie. My teen’s about to, as is her BFF and BF.

Yep, this afternoon I’m bringing a few teens for a “reality show” not to be missed at the Global Leaders for Justice Innovation dialogues. (video of Sabore’s water access project after the jump)

Sounds heady, oui? I see it as an open, public opportunity to expose kids to what’s going on in the rest of the world without the media filter of American myopia or vapid celebrity gossip.

As I wrote yesterday, when 21 representatives from 13 different countries don their colorful native garb and speak their visions as change agents and cycle-breakers, the global interconnected influence has the capacity to give a much needed jolt and a bracer of exposure to the harsh realities taking place on the rest of the planet, with teens THEIR age.

When stories unfold from young girls staving off lion’s roars to reach water after grueling miles of dangerous terrain, teens sit up and listen. Fifteen year olds empowered to break free of the sex slave chains of human trafficking in India to survive and THRIVE anew? Jaw-dropping work akin to GEMS-Girls right here in the US…How can we best use media to make it matter?! 

Think about it…

Small broken bodies split apart at childbirth due to bone structures from vitamin deficiencies, lack of medical attention, and preventive care…

It’s not exactly the bed-hopping fallacies being exported by our pop culture abroad in shows like “Secret Life of the American Teen”“Pretty Little Liars”…now, is it?! Yep, these leaders for justice bring a whole new meaning to a title like “Make it or Break It.”

Examples like this visual above from Uju Ofomata’s presentation that I attended at the SexTech Conference shows just how banal and small our media efforts have been when we can use the POWERful pull of entertainment, media devices and music to seed innovation, provide resources and help out hands-on!

Gotta (literally) ‘think out of the box’…(and with the news that Bill Gates will be keynoting the mHealth mobile summit this fall, you’ll no doubt see the ‘third screen’ takeover from ALL other ‘boxes’) Visual credit at left, knowledge exchange in Uganda

This afternoon I’m hoping for that flash of teen triumph when they ‘get it’ and brush aside the canned dramarama of sleaze, ‘mean girl’ antics, retouched bods,  media myths and appearance cues for an ‘aha moment’ about what life’s reality show REALLY is serving up throughout the globe.

What really matters? One’s internal landscape and external mindmapping of how interconnected we as human beings are.

Worldview, baby. The teens may have “one world” and “one love” stickers all over their bedroom doors, but they’re about to find out what this really MEANS.

This, is what I think I ‘bring to the program’ beyond being a Women Leaders for the World 2007 alum…The “lead from the mountaintop” to find new pathways approach to problem solving lands me squarely in the face of media.

This is MY contribution (calling?) with this crew…To stay focused on how these leaders can deploy MEDIA for positive change…

For medical outreach, mobile ‘how-tos’ or championing  change via the web to find the best partners, allies, orgs and research to connect the dots with funders, I’m convinced we can (and will) launch a wave of sea change even in the arid sub-Sahara desert!

Rather than mentor via email and send links individually, I’m going to post some of our convos from working together hoping ALL Global Leaders for Justice (in or out of GWLN and WLW) can use some of these links and alliances to jumpstart their startups and plethora of projects.

Pardon me while I give a lil’ shout out to the core crew I had the honor of working with Tuesday…I’m eager to meet the rest of you this afternoon!

p.s. One more link: Secretary of State Clinton’s video to young African Leaders Forum

Helpful Links for GWLN Delegates (and humanists one & all!)

Africa Rural Connect: (Project of Nat’l Peace Corps Assn) A vital hub getting traction, where I’ve mentioned GWLN work via Twitter already…Please sign up and enter your needs per their invite “Create a profile on the ARC website and offer your voice and your vision to bring about change for Africa’s economic and agricultural future.”

ARC’s specific response? “@ShapingYouth If you post your projects on Africa Rural Connect you’ll get feedback, comments, endorsments, and support!

They also are aligned with funding opportunities and vetting the ideas, so at every stage of your GWLN mountaintop, you can ‘test out’ and ‘crowdsource’ with feedback from others!

In addition to all of the resources you’re being given by GWLN, there are resources like Ushahidi style information collection, visualization, interactive mapping, CauseCast for visibility Kiva microfunding, etc.  here are some of the specific resources we chatted about one on one for YOUR projects:

Shout Out to Smarita Sengupta-India:

Empowering Victims of SexTrafficking/Slavery

Smarita! Your vital projects with The Destiny Foundation for economic independence, capacity building and ‘made by survivors’ handicrafts is well underway, so now partner w/some existing orgs using models of survivorship here, too…

Like: GEMS Girls (Girls Educational/Mentoring Svcs) doing great work with survivors in multiple capacities (here’s the music/CD offering and media interplay we discussed using film/documentaries like Very Young Girls and The Making of a Girl to impart the realities visually with media that already exists. Partner, partner, PARTNER!

Align with great NGO entities like as well as corporate funders who could be allies already doing work in this arena (e.g. Body Shop’s petition here)

Sometimes the network is right under our own noses, like GWLN’s own Sarah Assad’s work with street kids in Pakistan (PAACHAN) Ruth DeGolia (Mercado Global) on the handicraft front…or local partner possibilities like CATW/Bombay.

Roundup sites like Human and a fabulous alphabetic list of orgs via AmnestyUSA working to stop human rights/trafficking abuses will jumpstart your startup for best practices too…

And Twitter is as an easy resource to find support orgs and make initial connections with others that share your passion. (e.g. Here’s my post on “Women2Follow: Dedicated to Inspiring Girls” with some violence against women orgs peppered in, too)

Shout Out to Sabore Ole Oyie-Kenya:

Educating girls by liberation from hauling water

Sabore, You left many of us slack-jawed with your description of the dangers of collecting water from the river, and ‘wildlife conflicts’ (lions and elephants aren’t exactly in the American myopia mindset when it comes to obstacles faced!)

I think you REALLY could leverage the power of media with your eloquence, style, and colorful flair to snag the attention of Western leaders, particularly those youthful hands-on helpers who want to “DoSomething” in a big way.

Love your video presence and wise, calm ways, and shared your video with Africa Rural Connect already; CauseCast is a natural channel for funding/visibility since media laps up colorful stories, drama, and evocative, exotic locales. Might as well take advantage of it to use media’s pull and power to fast track your funding and alliances…Encore!

Readers, you agree? Check it:

Interview with Sabore Oyie GLJ 2010 from Linda Alepin on Vimeo.

Also, Sabore, here’s my post on Saved By The Well the DreamVillage social enterprise book series I mentioned (teaming with Play Pumps International) which helps express the ‘WHY’ of the need, to so many that don’t ‘get it.’ (I know you said the circular pumps break and have parts issues, but again, partnering with PPI for visibility and troubleshooting some best practices could be useful)

Since westerners often focus on how to turn the faucets OFF rather than turn water ON in the name of conservation and “water watching’ like this water idea on the “by kids for kids” ideas site, it makes me think there’s plenty of useful overlap for how we could educate across channels about water sources and ways to get from point a to point b (solar, wind, green tech, eco engineering, etc)

It could even be fertile “voluntourism” ground for AmeriCorps youth service learning or philanthropic fascination with hands-on builder, engineering students, etc. especially when they see poignant shots like this All Africa water focus on global needs!

I’d plan to get to the 2011 World Water Forum in Istanbul (we have strong GWLN ties/support there and it’s closer than the US!) Plus, media-awareness wise, ties with Water for Life (UN & MDG goals) and Water For People are a given, as well as global outreach in virtual social media spheres like  World Water Day or even Jane Goodall’s Project Blue which clearly has global potential with your wildlife tie in to current WWF allies…

On the education front, a natural ally would be “She’s The First” for AfricAid, which is all about empowering girls to be the first ones to complete school in their communities. And since you’re THE FIRST person in YOUR Masai village to finish high school and be selected Chieftain, all the more reason to align with their mission of bringing girls up from marginalized communities to impart the good and lift them out of poverty via education!

Here’s my post about the She’s The First Fundraiser (Girls Rock!) using MUSIC to empower…I could see a cool alliance here.

Shout Out to Blanche Angeline Pitt- Tanzania

African Medical & Research Foundation

Blanche, your energy, warmth and excitement about the profound possibilities of using mobile media to impart medical info via SMS to rural areas and eradicate childbirth death had me scrambling through my files the minute I got home, trying to find all the links and slideshares of resources for rural outreach, particularly with the complications of cultural taboos and debunking some entrenched body ownership mythologies…

Links I mentioned:

Recent MobileHealth conference at Stanford (see slideshares/case studies)

Vitamin distributing essential nutrients for healthy children, and also look at the innovation model of ColaLife and their ‘aidpod’ trying to strongarm the soda companies to open up their distribution channels to get key medicine/contraceptives etc. to VERY remote locales. (there’s a reason we can find a soda can in the middle of nowhere, but not a mosquito net or a vitamin, ya know?$$$$ )

Here’s the number one link I think could get you launched big time: FrontlineSMS and Frontline SMS Medic (text messages save lives!) And definitely note the case studies on how Ushahidi used software, e.g.

“Mobile is hardly “new” anymore, but we’re seeing increasing tools for peer-to-peer communications and decentralized development. Instead of SMS reporting for mHealth metrics or election observation (both amazingly powerful), we have Ushahidi and a team of volunteers from colleges and Haitian diaspora communities across the world saving lives in Haiti after the earthquake by synthesizing and translating reports from on the ground into actionable, trustable pieces of information.” hosted the 2010 SexTech Conference which I wrote about here, with a gazillion links to reproductive/childbearing issues and many of the presentations are hotlinked for download here .

Uju Ofomata’s presentation with case studies in Nigeria, Kenya and India is particularly relevant in the “Around the World in 160 Characters” SMS mobile category…

Uju Ofomata of, One World UK had fabulous examples of teen intervention at puberty using interactive education tools and simple SMS mobile phone resources for hot issues and alerts You can download the presentation

Also Kelly L’Engle, Heather Vahdat, Karah Fazekas Family Health International: download the presentation Mitali Thakor, Michelle Hindin Dept. Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Soccoro A. Gultiano Office of Population Studies Foundation, University of San Carlos Relationships/Risk Among Young Adults: Tech Assists Anna Bergdall, CDC, Division of Reproductive Health download the presentation Allison Friedman, CDC, Division of STD Prevention and Control download the presentation

And  a link-laden recap on the public health/Sextech conference via my dear pal Andre Blackman of Pulse and Signal who could offer you great ideas on mHealth deployment and innovation himself! (we Skype a lot!)

Another useful model at work via Heal My People is IGWG (Interagency Gender Working Group) and here is a massively linked and very pragmatic approach on techno tools for outreach for HIV/Sexual health info via Deb Levine at ISIS writing for

Shout Out to Yolande Poirier-Silicon Valley: Oracle, Community Outreach

Yolande, I’m nearby right here on the peninsula, so we can do some of this over coffee, so I’ll be brief and just link dump a load on ya…

First, here’s the 2010 She’s Geeky Twitter list of the recent attendees of She’s, an “UnConference” I wrote about with developers galore eager to move forward the mission of STEM/fem/Women & Girls in Technology…

Related posts with tons of links to partner org potential right here in Silicon Valley attracting younger girls/teens etc. I’ve written about (including prior years of She’s Geeky) include:

Wise Women & Alice 3.0: Geek Chic For Girls (pt.1)

BrainCake: Teen Girls Talk Tech & Worldchanging (pt.2)

DigiGirlz: Teen Girls Build Community Online & Off (pt.3)

She’s Geeky 2009: Techno Leaders Converge

She’s Geeky 2007: Vlogging with Ryanne Hodson at She’s Geeky

Media Moms, Engineers, Purple Tornadoes At She’s Geeky

She’s Geeky and Proud of It  (My first Shaping Youth geekery)

Also, here’s the NetSquared/TechSoup link which would be a great partner crew for you to have Oracle sponsor a ‘GIT/WITDigital Diva’ style meetup to encourage the next generation of female engineer dynamos?

Partner possibilities for a TWEET UP and MEET UP and online/offline segues that Oracle could sponsor to encourage STEM/fem might be:

WISE Women & Girls (Women in Science/Engineering) Wise Women–WISE Girls and Center for Women & Information Technology and GIT=Girls in (Facebook group here) and

Girls Are IT!


Inspirational Women from WISE

Nasa Quest: Women of NASA

Women in Engineering Org

And media like SmartGirlsAtTheParty (TV) to start girls off on the right track with positive media messaging! Here’s my post about Smart Girls At the Party last season (Amy Poehler et al) along with a round up of links featuring 2 weeks of “All Things Girl” coverage on Shaping Youth focusing on empowering girls rather than consuming them. (STEM,  style, self-awareness, spirit/soul, etc)

So, GWLN fans and people that want to encourage Girls and Women in Leadership…

THIS is how our network works…mentoring hands-on, early, and OFTEN to stay in touch ongoing and make a difference holding hands from afar. So rather than cringing with media guilt, thinking, “gawd, is THIS the best we can do, people? No wonder the world disdains our vapid values broadcast into cultural enclaves by satellite, ya know?”

I say…instead, let’s make media that matters and more literally, make media devices themselves matter.Not just for ‘do-gooder’ global realms of humanity but in for-profit network show creation for sheer entertainment embedding healthier cues…(fun media ideas that sell? Check out a few here)

Once again, GWLN has reinforced my vision of a world where we can and MUST use the power of media for positive change…whether it’s in the messaging, mobile outreach, or massive appeal to cross cultural partners.

Global Leaders for Justice? Ladies and gents? Let’s get started this party started this afternoon. My dear teens? You have NO idea what you’re about to experience.



  1. school grants says

    What a great resource!

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