Meeting Nick Kristof pays off

May 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Been celebrating for 2 days now, SHE is featured in Nick Kristof’s blog “Getting Girls in School in Africa”.

Comments are fascinating: why are American women wanting African women to use reuseable pads when they do not use them themselves? Hypocrisy!  The beauty is that SHE’s market-based approach will prove that if women want the product, they will buy it, plain and simple.

Well, in one of my many thesis interviews Jene O’keefe Trigg gave me a very good tip about using press coverage like this:

  • Ask everyone you know to comment on the article, it will show the journalist its a hot subject
  • Analyze the comments for new leads and ideas
  • Use some of the comments in your materials to demonstrate need and interest

Please show your love and  add your own comment on NYT site.

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I finally meet Nick Kristof

May 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Just wrapped up the Women’s Funding Network conference in Atlanta. One theme I heard throughout  was the need for foundations to use strategic communications to tell their stories, influence policy, raise more money etc.   Nick Kristof, the conference keynote, summed it up when he said, “the average toothpaste has better messaging than humanitarian organization.”  Here, here!

So, I have been waiting for my chance to meet Kristof for years. In his remarks he talked about the most effective interventions for keeping  girls in school – things like de-worming medication or sanitary napkins as opposed to building more schools.  Well, he said the magic words for SHE, and I had a chance to go up to him afterward and make the pitch:  SHE is launching women-led businesses in Africa that keep girls in school by selling low-cost locally made sanitary napkins!   He wanted to know how much it costs to keep a girl in school by providing a sanitary napkins – he is all about the best return on investment.

Fine.  But then my new favorite woman Yassine Fall from UNIFEM took the mic and told him the reason why girls don’t go to school was that structural adjustment from the IMF has stopped governments from investing in public goods like education and eliminating school fees.   Policy is the problem, not as Kristof suggested, men spending less of the family income on alcohol and entertainment and more on education and health. She said his analysis was demonizing African men as irresponsible fathers who only drink beer.  The confrontation was an exciting moment in the fancy hotel ballroom.

Well, its too late for Kristof to add Yassine’s perspective in his upcoming book called “Half the Sky” all about women’s rights.  He both opened and closed his speech saying: “I truly believe the struggle of the 21st century is a struggle for greater gender equity in the world.” Good messaging — take note women’s funds!

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