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Wellbeing Foundation Africa UNGA Sustainable Development Goals Round-Up

Energized Actions towards Sustainable Development for Mothers, Newborns, Children and Adolescents Health; Nutrition and Wellbeing

For the fourth consecutive year since the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s global commitment to the United Nations Secretary-General's Every Woman Every Child effort, the Foundation, led by H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, participated in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2015.

During the 2015 UNGA general debate, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa team called for the financial empowerment of women, in addition to increased access to free and universal healthcare, which is essential for mothers, their newborns, and young children, and is central to attaining Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 - which seeks to “to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all, at all ages.” Below details the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA)’s participation in the UNGA health-related events, as led by Founder-President, H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki:

The Guardian Roundtable Discussion WBFA Calls for Financial Empowerment of Women

Speaking on the theme “How can better access to financial services help women and girls in the developing world realize their full potential?” during a roundtable discussion organized by The Guardian on the 22nd of September, H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki addressed the role of economic barriers, culture, technology, education, in terms of both formal and financial literacy, and universal health coverage, in scaling effective solutions to financial inclusion.

Given that the poverty cycle itself is a serious economic barrier to scaling up effective solutions to financial inclusion in the developing world, more than half of adults in the poorest 40% of households in developing countries are unbanked, with women faring the worst in terms of access to accounts. To address this, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is in discussions with leading Nigerian financial institutions to introduce a low cost savings scheme - the Birth Preparedness Savings Scheme (BPSS) - that enables women to prepare for the cost of delivery and ensure that families are not crippled financially by spiraling emergency care costs at point of service.

As stated by Mrs. Toyin Saraki, “When a woman has access to finance and a safe place to save outside of the home, she also has greater control over her life – she can participate more in the economy, set aside funds for schooling or starting a business, and take a more equal role in her marriage and community, by establishing her own source of income… [However], when we exclude adolescent girls and women from our economy, or from accessing finance, we are holding back our countries from the value that women can add. The financial inclusion of girls and women could unleash untold potential and transform communities – both in my motherland, Nigeria, and across the world.”

African Philanthropy Forum (APF) Dinner

WBFA Calls for Targeted Philanthropy to Assist Internally Displaced Persons

At the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) dinner, which took place on the 25th of September 2015, the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki called for increased philanthropic efforts targeted towards the burgeoning humanitarian and maternal health crisis facing migrants, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In an open dialogue spearheaded by Janes Wales, President and CEO of Global Philanthropy Forum, Mrs. Saraki also shared her thoughts on the role that African philanthropists can have in promoting broad-based growth and inclusive development in Africa; expressing that African philanthropic measures can only deliver broad-based growth and inclusive development when the principles of empowerment and education are made priorities.

The Founder of the leading reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) advocacy organization and Global Goodwill Ambassador of the International Confederation of Midwives continued, saying, “We must be strategic in identifying areas where the Pareto law can be best applied to promote broad-based growth and inclusive development. The Pareto Law stipulates that 80% of outcomes can come from 20% of your inputs. Which is why, in my efforts to deliver transformative change for African mothers, newborns, and children, I have focused on the invaluable role of midwives.”

Johnson & Johnson Panel

WBFA Highlights Midwives; Cross-Sector Collaborations as Keys to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals Success

Speaking on the theme “Walking Together for Women & Children: Unique Roles for Government, Civil Society and the Private Sector,” during the Johnson & Johnson panel on the 27th of September, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki called for increased access to skilled midwives within communities - which could have a transformative impact and empower more vulnerable women, children, and adolescents. As stated by Mrs. Saraki, “Midwives – if given the right education, regulation, and midwifery associations within a global midwifery services framework – are crucial to achieving SDG3 and all targets related to this goal.”

Since committing to the UN’s Every Woman Every Child effort in 2011, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has facilitated a myriad of multi-sector initiatives to fulfill Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s call to action for the private sector to collaborate to improve RMNCAH, with such initiatives such as the development of the Foundation’s personal health record and the recent Alaafia Universal Health Coverage Fund (AUHCF) - which provides affordable health insurance for 5000 Nigerians.

On the 27th of September, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki also participated in a VIP Reception organized by the Global Partnerships Forum and UN Women, with the support of Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of the United Nations Secretary-General, and Champion for women's empowerment, to 'celebrate SDG 5 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.' Achieving SDG 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, in the post-2015 development era is critical, as women's empowerment is a pre-condition to addressing key challenges such as poverty, inequality, and violence against women.

Girl Effect VIP Mentoring Session H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki Encourages Girl Advocates to find Vision,

Articulate Mission and Work to achieve it

In an exclusive mentoring session hosted by Girl Effect, the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa encouraged some of the world’s leading girl advocates to lead their generation into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era.

Speaking with a select group of inspirational girls, who were individually nominated as leading girl advocates at the national level to represent the girls in their country and community at this year’s UNGA, H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki stated, “Girl’s education is a vital tool for both development and empowerment. Breaking down barriers in girl’s education cannot be underestimated. Educating our girls could unleash unlimited potential and transform communities - both in my motherland of Nigeria and across the world. Yet, across the world, 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are out of school, with sub-Saharan Africa suffering the lowest proportion of countries with gender parity in education.

And it is vital we overcome this gender parity in education because education empowers girls by helping them achieve other basic human rights and breaking generational poverty cycles. Beyond personal fulfillment and growth, education is a source for social development and economic growth. In societies where women and men are more equal, economies grow faster; and general wellbeing is improved.”

During the Girl Declaration VIP Mentoring Session held on the 26th of September which aimed to equip and empower girl advocates to secure new SDG commitments with and for girls, Mrs. Toyin Saraki further encouraged the girls to make their voices heard as the world launches the Sustainable Development Goals, while sharing personal insights and experience. Other mentors present, alongside Mrs. Saraki, included Farah Ramzan Golant, CEO, Girl Effect; Sarah Hendriks, Director of Gender Equality, Gates Foundation; Isha Sesay, CNN Journalist; Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, African Union Goodwill Ambassador to End Child Marriage, and Natalie Byrne, Director of Global Impact, Dermalogica.

First Spouses EventsMrs.

Toyin Saraki Speaks on ‘Building on MDGs to Invest in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ as she Represents Nigeria’s First Lady at the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS Session; and attends the Fashion 4 Development Session, as a Sponsor

Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS, sharing Nigeria’s progress in achieving MDG 6, which sought to combat HIV, AIDS, malaria and other diseases like polio – and has seen demonstrable success, due to collaborations during the MDG process. Speaking on behalf of Nigeria’s First Lady on the theme ‘Building on MDGs to invest in the post-2015 development agenda,’ Mrs. Toyin Saraki - wife of Nigeria’s Senate President and Founder-President of the maternal health NGO- the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), shared the First Lady’s desire to see increased global and multi-sector partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and fight HIV/AIDS. To facilitate the detection of HIV/AIDS in pregnant women and to aid midwives and health professionals in record keeping and data collection, WBFA has developed accountability tools and resources, namely, the Personal Health Records (PHRs) and Universal Health notebooks, to capture data and key health information on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH), from start of pregnancy through delivery, up to 5 years and beyond

Maternal Monday Stories Launch

During the UNGA’s Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS session, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa also launched its Maternal Monday Stories campaign – a new initiative created to highlight SDG3, which is to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages’, with specific focus on targets 3.1 and 3.2. Designed to tie in with the finalisation of the SDGs, the Foundation’s Maternal Monday Stories focuses on the human stories behind the goals and broaden awareness of RMNCAH beyond the health and development spheres.

In May 2011, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, presented WBFA with a unique opportunity to be a driving force behind the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) effort in Africa; an integral component of the global drive to save the lives of 16 million women and children. Currently, as the only high level Nigeria Civil Society in EWEC’s Global Financing Facility’s (GFF) high level partners group, alongside the Nigeria Private Sector Health Alliance, WBFA is poised to make a tangible impact in improving maternal and child health in Nigeria as it works towards fulfilling its commitment to the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health.

RHD Action Launch

WBFA Founder-President Addresses Impact of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) on Maternal and Child Health

On the 29th of September 2015, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, took a stand to address Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) – a deadly, but preventable disease that affects women and children living below the poverty line in many developing countries. Speaking at the launch of RHD Action, facilitated by the Rheumatic Heart Disease Action Alliance, spearheaded by Medtronic Philanthropy, the World Heart Federation and RhEACH; and scheduled to coincide with World Heart Day, Mrs. Saraki stated, “As a maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) advocate, the link between RHD and MNCH is troubling.

More than 1 in 5 maternal deaths in developing countries are from indirect causes, most commonly, the exacerbation of pre-existing medical conditions like RHD. Women with heart valves damaged by RHD are at an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery…” Referring to the disease as a “silent emergency” to be taken out of the shadows of healthcare, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, who serves as the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives and the Save the Children Nigeria National Newborn Champion, shared the innovative ways the Wellbeing Foundation Africa will be working to end RHD, through the Foundation’s #MaternalMonday advocacy campaign and the WBFA Personal Health Record (PHR).

As statistics indicate, 275,000 people die from this preventable cardiovascular disease each year. For many with the disease living in countries without a universal health coverage (UHC) system, the inability to afford care is a social determinant of health that must be overcome through the adoption of best practice models such as the Wellbeing Foundation’s Alaafia Universal Health Coverage Fund (AUHCF).

September 22, 2015

The ‘Development without equality? How to create the world we need post-2015’ Session – Organized by The Guardian

Alongside H.E, Mrs. Saraki, this session was attended by Georgina Orso and Dr. Luther-King Fasehun, Partnerships Officer and Nigeria Country Director of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.

This event served to examine why poverty, climate change and inequality remain the challenges of our generation despite strong economic growth in many countries in the global south. Ahead of the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Guardian and its partners, with co-host Unicef, organized a morning leadership seminar that looked to capture the mood and set the tone for future action. At this session, Dr. Fasehun raised the issue of the importance of tackling the world’s humanitarian crises through a root-cause analysis approach.

Global Nutrition Report Launch 2015

Attended by Mrs. Saraki and Mrs. Felicity Ukoko, WBFA Head of Programs and Advocacy, this session served to advocate for nutrition–led policies, and introduced new findings and recommendations including the critical relationship between climate change and nutrition; the roles of business in facilitating nutrition-led policies; and the importance of addressing all forms of malnutrition – from under-nutrition in young children to nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in adults. The Global Nutrition Report is the first comprehensive summary and scorecard on both global and country level progress on all forms of nutrition for 193 countries. The 2015 edition will build and reflect on new opportunities, actions, progress, accountability, and data for nutrition, with the aim to build greater commitment to improved nutrition in all countries.

September 23, 2015

Third Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development

Haven taken place on the 23rd and 24th of September, this conference, themed ‘Implementing the SDGs: Getting there,’ was attended by the WBFA Founder-President, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, alongside Ms. Rachel Firth, WBFA Head of Partnership and Strategy.

The conference provided a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders from government, academia, the United Nations, international agencies, NGOs, and grassroots organizers to share practical solutions towards the achievement of more sustainable and inclusive societies.

The Next Generation of Development: Integrated Investments for Youth Organized by FHI 360, Women Deliver, and Johnson & Johnson, this session was attended by H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki and Dr. Luther-King Fasehun, WBFA Nigeria Country Director.

The third event in the "Does 1+1=3? The Integration Hypothesis" discussion series, this session examined how strategically integrated investments in youth health, education and economic opportunities can accelerate progress on the ambitious post-2015 global development agenda. Participants also explored the potential benefits of integrated development approaches for young people with UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Founder and Executive Director of the African Institute for Development Policy, Eliya Zulu; U.S. State Department Special Coordinator for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Tony Pipa; a grassroots youth leader; and other experts.

September 24, 2015

Philanthropy Engaged: Implementing and Achieving the Post-2015 Agenda

The Ford Foundation session titled ‘Philanthropy Engaged: Implementing and Achieving the Post-2015 Agenda’ analyzed the role philanthropy can play in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and discussed the way the sector can help governments, the UN, civil society and business successfully implement and achieve these new goals.

This event, attended by Her Excellency, Mrs Toyin Saraki and Ms Georgina Orso, brought together over 100 leaders from philanthropy, government, UN agencies, civil society, and business, who share a common interest in answering these urgent questions, in order to catalyze the philanthropic sector through the SDG Philanthropy Platform in the months and years to come.

Business Call to Action's Sixth Annual Forum

The Business Call to Action (BCtA)'s Sixth Annual Forum served to explore how inclusive businesses provide goods, services, and livelihoods on a commercially viable basis to people at the base of the economic pyramid, whose combined purchasing power exceeds US$ 5 trillion, while delivering benefits to all people, communities and markets.

At this event, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa team joined leaders from innovative BCtA member companies as well as senior representatives from government, bilateral donors, civil society and the United Nations to learn about innovative businesses models, engage in peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, network and establish linkages with other leaders in the field.

Nutrition and the SDGs: Harnessing the Power of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships to Achieve the SDGs in Food and Nutrition Security

Organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and supported by SUN Business Network, and Devex, this event served to explore the critical role of partnerships in ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition; and the requirement and role of multi- stakeholder partnerships in delivering the innovation, resources and action necessary to achieve the proposed Sustainable Development Goals in food and nutrition security. Participants from the Wellbeing Foundation Africa included H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki and Mrs. Felicity Ukoko.

Accelerating Adoption of Universal Health Coverage in the Post-2015 Era: The Role of the Private Sector

Organized by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufactures & Associations and attended by WBFA’s H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki and Ms. Georgina Orso, this event discussed the long-made contributions of the private sector in improving the health of billions of people around the world, creating novel solutions to some of the largest health and development challenges.

On the eve of the United Nations Summit to Adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this panel explored opportunities for private sector engagement in accelerating the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The discussion also addressed the role that the private sector plays in helping countries to achieve UHC, particularly around innovative financing and developing products and services to meet ongoing health challenges such as maternal health, child survival, infectious disease and chronic illness.

It concluded by examining the challenges of scaling up and sustaining public- private partnerships and private-private partnerships that seek to improve access to affordable and quality care.

Wellbeing for All: Innovation for Society’s Biggest Health Challenges

Organized by Novartis, the WBFA team participated in a discussion following short presentations by experts, and shared its thoughts on lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and how they can be applied to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the event, the contribution that private sector players, such as Novartis, can make toward achieving the SDGs through cross-sector partnerships were also explored.

2015 First Ladies High Level Forum on Education side-event

At this event, United States Federation for Middle East Peace and the United Federation for Peace and Development joined forces with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on education and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative to accelerate SDG item no. 4, education for all.

The First Ladies Forum aimed to achieve developing strategies for the operational implementation of the objectives proposed in the Inchon Declaration and in Goal 4 of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, which will lead to equity and gender equality in education and training; building partnerships, renewing impetus, and deepening commitments to global education, especially for the girl child and the most marginalized and vulnerable among us; and offer ample opportunities for participants from all over the world to discuss specific regional goals for a more comprehensive, effective, and thorough understanding of what needs to be accomplished in the next fifteen years and beyond.

Attended by H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, other guests included Mrs. Ban Ki-Moon, Mrs. Michelle Obama, Mrs. Barbara Bush,the Queen of Sweden, Mrs. Chelsea Clinton, Ms. Billie Jean King, the First Ladies of Malaysia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Brunei, France, Italy, among others. Additional events on the 24th of September attended by Mrs. Toyin Saraki included the United States Federation for Middle East Peace and the United Federation for Peace and Developmentsessions, followed by the Gala Concert with Lang Lang, organized by New York Philharmonic.

Under the auspices of the First Lady of Grenada, WBFA Head of Programmes, Mrs. Felicity Ukoko also joined the First Ladies Summit and Dinner themed ‘Focus on the Future We Want, Embracing SDG16 Initiative.’ Accordingly, Goal 16 aims to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” At this event, Mrs. Ukoko delivered a speech on behalf of WBFA entitled “World Peace Without Women in the Era of Sustainable Development Goals,” and called for peace, prosperity and inclusion of midwives in order to save lives of mothers and their children in the post-2015 development era.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa extends special thanks to the Office of the First Lady of Grenada and the Friends of Grenada to the United Nations - an independent non-partisan team dedicated to promoting the work, principles and values of the Mission of Grenada to the UN. Also in attendance at the First Ladies Summit and Dinner was the distinguished guest, Her Excellency Mrs. Ban Soon Taek, wife of the UN Secretary General.

September 25, 2015

UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda

Having taken place from the 25th to the 27th of September, this event provided a platform for over 150 world leaders to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda. This momentous agenda will serve as the launch pad for action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for all, over the next 15 years. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa team is proud to have participated in this history-making event as the world formally transitioned into the Sustainable Development Goals era.

Business and the SDGs: Building Blocks for Success at Scale

This event, part of the SDG Business Forum, marked the launch of a new report by Business Fights Poverty and The Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, which demonstrates how business can drive progress toward specific SDGs; identifies a framework of building blocks or enabling conditions for business action at scale; and makes concrete recommendations for different sectors to take forward. Attended by Dr Luther-King Fasehun, the speakers at the event included Jay Collins – Vice Chairman, Corporate and Investment Banking, Citi Group; Kate James – Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pearson;Kevin J Jenkins – President and Chief Executive Officer, World Vision; Lise Kingo – Executive Director, UN Global Compact; andJon Pender – Vice-President IP and Access, GSK.

Private Sector – Innovation Working Group Luncheon. Investing in Innovation: Transforming Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health

This Every Women Every Child high-level luncheon, attended by the H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki, Ms Georgina Orso, and Dr Luther-King Fasehun featured innovations and private sector actions in support of the updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

Transforming the world: Promoting healthy lifestyles and non-communicable diseases control

The WBFA Founder-President, Head of Programmes and Advocacy and Partnerships Officer attended the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (New York) and the World Health Organization Side event on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the occasion of the UN Sustainable Development Summit.

Going Universal: Implementing UHC Reforms from the Bottom Up

A new book by the World Bank Group titled, ‘Going Universal: How 24 Developing Countries are Implementing UHC Reforms From the Bottom Up,’ looks at how universal health coverage (UHC) programs in two dozen countries—which cover a third of the world’s population—have embarked on the long journey to universal health coverage, while focusing on expanding coverage to the poor.

The book shows how programs are fundamentally changing the way health systems operate, offering the potential to achieve greater equity and better results for the money spent. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, policymakers and experts reflected on the book’s findings and what they mean for the 400 million people who still lack access to health services, and the 6% of people in developing countries who are impoverished, or further impoverished, paying for the health care they need.

The program, which included the participation of the World Bank Group, the Rockefeller Foundation and others, was attended by Dr Luther-King Fasehun, and concluded with a cocktail hour.

September 26, 2015

Safe Surgery: Challenges to Overcome, Opportunities to Exploit and Approaches That Work

WBFA’s Dr Luther-King Fasehun joined Dr. Richard Besser, Chief Health and Medical Editor for ABC News, and leading experts in health systems strengthening and surgical care for a high-level discussion on current challenges, proven approaches and opportunities for success in meeting the needs of the 5 billion people who do not have access to safe surgical care and anesthesia.

WHO Accountability Breakfast

As global leaders gathered to launch a more ambitious transformative development agenda, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa joined the World Health Organization (WHO) to reflect on the important progress that has been made on women’s and children’s health and to discuss strategies for building on these gains in the post-2015 era. As highlighted in the session, strengthening accountability will be critical for accelerating progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

Translating the Post-2015 Agenda: Action on NCDs for a Sustainable Future

Organized by the NCD Alliance and attended by the WBFA team, this side event focused on interlinkages between non-communicable diseases and broader sustainable development priorities, the necessary approaches and responses to ensure “win-win” solutions for health and other sectors, and the investments needed to drive these actions forward.

Southern-led Health Innovations for Sustainable Development

H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, Mrs. Felicity Ukoko and Dr Luther-King Fasehun joined Bangladesh’s International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research at a panel discussion which highlighted the importance of investing in southern-led health innovations for a sustainable future for all by 2030.

The role of Southern-led innovation has been crucial in many of the Millennium Development Goals’ success stories; and countries such as Bangladesh have made considerable health progress thanks to the scalability, affordability and usability of home-grown innovations that inspired other southern countries to achieve their health development goals.

Breaking Down Barriers: Why quality health care is reliant on water, sanitation and hygiene and how to make integration happen

In this session, the WBFA team and other participants learnt why only 38% of healthcare facilities in a recent WHO study were found to have access to water and discussed what changes in funding, practice and enabling structures need to be made to address this figure. The session also reflected on the importance of integrated approaches to health outcomes.

Global Education First Initiative High-Level Event

On the 26th of September, the WBFA team also participated in the Annual Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) event aimed at celebrating the achievements of GEFI and its partners in advancing the global education agenda; reaffirming inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all at the heart of sustainable development; recognizing Education 2030 as a new opportunity to make historic progress in education.

Every Woman Every Child Reception

This event, attended by Mrs. Toyin Saraki, highlighted commitments from government, the UN, civil society, foundations and the private sector, towards the vision of ending all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents within a generation and ensuring their wellbeing. This reception was immediately followed by a Meeting with Nand Wadhwani of Mother Child Trust.

September 27, 2015

Civil Society Watch: Governments’ Commitments to Action

Organized by Civil Society Watch (CSW), NY and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, this Civil Society event which ran parallel to the UN Global Leader’s Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, was co-sponsored by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/NY and Planned Parenthood Federation of America in partnership with Baha’i International Community; Center for Women’s Global Leadership; and Post-2015 Women’s Coalition.

The WBFA team, which included Mrs. Saraki, Georgina Orso, Felicity Ukoko, Dr. Luther-King Fasehun, and Goke Salami, joined other civil society stakeholders to monitor global leaders’ commitments to advancing gender equity and women’s empowerment.

Partnering to end extreme poverty and achieve the global goals

During UNGA 2015, WBFA Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Luther-King Fasehun participated in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) conversation on achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The event featured special remarks by Mr. Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever; andThe Hon. Julie Bishop, MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Australia; and included panel discussions and presentations from leaders in government, the private sector, NGOs and civil society on how successful and emerging partnerships catalyze transformative change.

Help a Child Reach 5 panel discussion with Paul Polman

This panel discussion with Paul Polman organized by Help a Child Reach 5 addressed the role of public-private partnerships in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - with a focus on hygiene for maternal and child health.

With 1.7 million children still dying every year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, and with over 44% of these deaths occurring in the first 28 days of life, handwashing with soap is crucial for reducing child and newborn mortality.

In this session, the WBFA Founder-President, Head of Programs and Advocacy and the WBFA Partnership Officer joined advocates to discuss actions to be taken to ensure all benefit from life-saving hygiene provision.

Mobile Innovations for Maternal Health: How Mobile Phones are Changing Childbirth in Africa

Facilitated by Her Royal Highness, the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark – Patron of Maternity Foundation, UNFPA and members of the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development, this event discussed the key role mobile technology plays in maternal health and childbirth in Africa.

Attended by WBFA’s H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki and Dr. Luther-King Fasehun, speakers at this event included Dr. Priya Agrawal – Executive Director, Merck for Mothers; Lesley-Anne Long – Global Director, mPowering Frontline Health Workers; Ulla Muller – Regional Director Southern Africa, Marie Stopes International; and Anna Frellsen – CEO, Maternity Foundation.

September 28, 2015

Business as Unusual: Harnessing the Reach of Private Maternity Providers to Strengthen Health Systems

On the 28th of September, the WBFA team attended the ‘Business as Unusual: Harnessing the Reach of Private Maternity Providers to Strengthen Health Systems’ session organized by Merck for Mothers, Jhpiego and the World Bank. #UpForSchool Town Hall

Also on the 28th of September, at UNGA 2015, Theirworld and UNICEF joined forces to make education a priority by hosting a two - hour special event that is the culmination of a year-long campaign for the #UpForSchool petition, launched last year, to get every child into school and learning, and which now has more than 6 million supporters.

The event was hosted by UN Special Envoy Gordon Brown and international advocate for women’s and children's rights, former freedom fighter and first Education Minister of Mozambique, Madame Graça Machel. The Town Hall also included special performances, awards, and stories from education leaders and youth across the globe emphasizing the importance of education with a focus on safe schools and girl’s education; including an award to Nigerian philanthropist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

At this session, Dr Luther-King Fasehun joined the #UpForSchool Town Hall where youth and world leaders gathered alongside business leaders, teachers, civil society, and faith-based organizations to make education a top priority on the first day of the new global development agenda.

September 29, 2015

Making Girls’ Voices Count

Organized by the Ford Foundation, this session focused on child marriage and the lifelong consequences for child brides, their communities, and their countries. With the inclusion of a target to end child marriage in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the session also discussed how global partners can work together to transform the policies and practices that perpetuate child, early, and forced marriages (CEFM) around the world. As WBFA participated in this event, the team heard directly from girls who have been affected by child marriage, about their experiences and their recommendations on the ground. Prominent international champions Chelsea Clinton, Amina Mohammed and Mabel van Orange also listened and responded to these young voices and shared their views on what the international community can do to build on recent global achievements.

Women Deliver - And Not Only Babies. How to Make the SDGs Matter Most for Girls and Women

Hosted by the Permanent Mission of Denmark, UN Women, and Women Deliver, this high-level, cross-cutting discussion on the implementation of the SDGs focused on women and girls – who are drivers of development and powerful agents of change. This session also built the bridge to the upcoming Women Deliver Conference in May 2016 in Copenhagen, which will be the world’s largest conference on girls and women in more than a decade.

AAI Future Leaders Legacy Fund Awards Gala

The Africa-America Institute, a leading New York-based international education and policy organization, hosted the Future Leaders Legacy Fund Awards Gala themed “Achieving Excellence through Scholarship, Opportunity and Innovation.” At this event attended by the WBFA Founder-President, distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats gathered for one of the most high profile Africa-focused event in New York City.

For more than 60 years, AAI has been dedicated to advancing education and professional training for Africans, and promoting engagement between Africa and America through education, training and dialogue.

Also on the 29th of September, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Rachel Firth also attended the ‘Adolescent Girls and the Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Promises into Action’ session organized by the UN Foundation.

September 30, 2015

Future Assured launch

The Office of the Wife of the President (TOWP) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria launched the Future Assured initiative, an intervention of Her Excellency, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari to support activities and processes aimed at improving outcomes in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, as well as nutrition (RMNCAH+N) in Nigeria. The launch was co-hosted by the UNFPA, the World Bank, and the Society for Family Health (SFH).

Attended by dignitaries from virtually all walks of life, including high-level staff of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria, this event highlighted the multi-pronged approach which H.E. Mrs Buhari aims to utilize, including the promotion of infant and child survival interventions; acting as a strong voice for maternal health and family planning; advocating for scaling up nutrition interventions; the promotion of girl child education, improvement of adolescent health, and the attainment of the demographic dividend; the promotion of private sector support for sustainable RMNCAH+N and life-saving commodities; the promotion of accountability for birth and civil registration; and to achieve all of these through advocacy, citizen engagement and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

The event was attended by H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki, Mrs Felicity Ukoko, and Dr Luther-King Fasehun. H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki made a commitment on behalf of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, to help H.E. Mrs Aisha Buhari achieve her Future Assured initiative, especially through WBFA’s client-held personal health records (PHRs) and healthcare facility-based maternity notes, for the improvement of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS).

Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health Session on Universal Health Coverage

The Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary, Mr Linus Awute, led a discussion session on what it will take to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria. Also present were Dr Mohammed Lecky (CEO of the Health Sector Reform Coalition, and former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme); Mr Femi Akingbade, Ag. Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme; Dr Nkata Chuku (Senior Manager and Healthcare Lead for West Africa at KPMG); Dr Lola Dare (CEO of CHESTRAD International, an NGO with interests in RMNCAH and health systems strengthening; Dr Ado Muhammad (Director-General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency); and many others.

H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki led a panel discussion, raising the issues around UHC that especially pertain to the processes and opportunities for raising the right amount of funding to cover UHC in a country like Nigeria. This session was co-hosted by the UNFPA headquarters and the World Bank Group, and served as a rallying point and melting pot for all of the conversations over the past many days of the UNGA, giving the Nigerians present a renewed drive to impact great progress in RMNCAH+N outcomes, in the months and years ahead.

Signed: Communications The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Email: Web:


About the Wellbeing Foundation Africa:

For over a decade, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) founded by Her Excellency Toyin Saraki has led global efforts to reduce Nigeria’s unacceptably high maternal, newborn, and child mortality indices. Through collaboration and consultation with local, national, and international partners, WBFA has developed innovative solutions that have been adopted into the very frontline of the Nigerian health system.

These solutions include the copyrighted and trademarked WBFA Integrated Maternal, Newborn, and Child Personal Health Records, WBFA Universal Maternal And Child Health Notes and Record Books, the WBFA Clean Birth MamaKit, the WBFA BabyKit and BabyKitBox, WBFA EMONC Skills And Drills Training, #MaternalMonday Demand Creation for Birth-Preparedness, WBFA Baby-Friendly Breastfeeding Manual, WBFA Antenatal Education Curriculum, and Inclusive Access to Health Insurance Capacitation Grants.

As partners to the United Nations Every Woman, Every Child initiative since 2011 at the invitation of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, WBFA has consistently worked to bring global best practice innovations back home to Nigeria including the Alaafia Universal Health Coverage Fund, which provides health insurance for 5000 Kwaran residents annually, and the recent partnership with the Johnson and Johnson and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to provide ‘skills and drills’ emergency obstetric and newborn care training for health-workers in Kwara State.

The WBFA’s work as a non-governmental civil society organisation has been recognised globally by the United Nations, as demonstrated by the awarding of special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Affairs Council, and by it's being conferred with prestigious Board Observer status at the WHO Partnership For Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), while the WBFA also led Nigeria Health CSO's recent Position Paper on Health, presented to The Presidential Transition Committee.

Strategic partnerships are central to the work of the Foundation and through the Founder President’s roles as inaugural Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the Save the Children (Nigeria) National Newborn Champion, and the Chair of the Board of the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN), WBFA works to achieve shared goals of improving maternal and child health.

Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning, Dr. Robert C. Orr has previously commended the Wellbeing Foundation for its life-saving interventions, writing “African philanthropy for women's and children's health is something that could catalyse much needed resources toward the issues that you have championed for nearly a decade in Nigeria, including the Personal Health Record (PHR) of Nigeria.”

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa does not solicit nor accept general donations. For partnership opportunities, or to support our advocacy and actions, please visit or contact For social enterprise enquiries regarding our tools and resources, please visit or contact

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