This Saturday I set off on the long journey to Ethiopia as part of ONE Moms. It's starting to feel real (particularly when I look at the list of things I need to take care of before I depart), but I don't think the magnitude of the trip will really set in until we land in Addis Ababa. I've received a lot of questions about this trip so I thought I would address the most common of them all in one place.
What is ONE Moms?
ONE Moms is part of ONE, a nonpartisan, advocacy organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Since 2007, ONE has led several mission trips to provide a deeper understanding of the challenges and successes in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2010, ONE formed a strategic advisory council (the ONE Moms Advisory Council) made up of influential moms -- bloggers, authors, and influencers across multiple platforms -- to connect with other moms in Africa, share their stories, and use their voices to inspire change. While members of the advisory council (+ ONE Moms community partners) have been part of the ONE Moms mission trips to Africa, all of you can become ONE Moms. ONE never asks for your money, simply your voice!
What will you be doing in Ethiopia?
We will meet women and their families at schools, clinics, and farms, and learn about a range of issues (e.g., agriculture, maternal and child health, education, women and girls empowerment). I'll be reporting from the ground about the lives of these Ethiopian mom and families -- both about the impact of programs that are making a huge difference for less than one percent of the entire US budget, and the challenges that still lie ahead.
Given that our trip will intersect with International Day of the Girl, and given the deep feelings of overwhelm and inspiration I've felt as I've learned more about Half the Sky, I'm feeling particularly charged to learn and share around the issue of women and girls empowerment in Ethiopia.
I would love to do something like this. How did you get selected to go?
This summer I was invited to become part of the ONE Moms Advisory Council and will travel to Ethiopia in that capacity. And truly, we want to take everyone with us on the journey virtually -- you can make a difference from wherever you are! Please sign up to become a ONE Mom (it takes two seconds) and follow along and share what inspires you via the ONE Moms blog and also on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
What about your health and safety? Are you worried?
In a nutshell, no. I have gotten all of my vaccinations, will start my anti-malaria meds soon, and will take all precautions related to health and safety on the ground. I have always maintained a vigilant stance when traveling and will do so in Ethiopia. I also have complete confidence in the ONE team, given their experience in planning and implementing these mission trips.
How is this impacting your family at home?
I won't lie, this trip to Ethiopia has been a challenging subject, particularly because my work has also taken me to California and Las Vegas in the last four weeks. Jon has always been incredibly supportive of my projects but obviously this is a big lift for him. We are lucky to have a mix of family, friends, and a babysitter helping out while I'm away, and Jon and I need to figure out the best way to communicate while I'm on the ground (probably Skype or e-mail). Laurel is never happy when I'm away so I suspect this will be harder on her (though in my experience, when Jon has traveled for long stints, she really rallies). I'm planning on assembling a bag of small things for her -- one to pick out of the bag at the end of each day I'm gone. Violet, on the other hand, has so far proven unflappable when Jon or I travel. She points gleefully to pictures of us but doesn't get sad. So I suspect she will be OK.
But yes, this is a family effort to get me to Ethiopia. I will miss Jon and the girls and I am incredibly excited to embark on this journey with such an incredible group of people. I have so much to learn and know I will have so much to share. I hope you'll come along for the ride. If you have any questions at all, please drop me a line!
I'm traveling to Ethiopia at the kind invitation and expense of The ONE Campaign, a nonpartisan, advocacy organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. ONE works to convince governments (the US, as well as others) to invest in smart programs that help to eliminate poverty and preventable disease in a sustainable way. ONE never asks for your money, simply your voice.