Akimbo is One Year Old Today!

Today is Akimbo’s one year birthday! We’re very excited to celebrate our blog, which we’ve had so much fun building up. We’ve published more than 300 posts in the past year, but today we took a moment to look back and admire our work. Sometimes, when you work on health and rights issues that can be not only frustrating, but also matters of life or death to women and young people around the world, it’s important to take a step back and take stock of the positive work you do.

So, without further ado, the International Women’s Health Coalition communications team gives you each of our personal top five blog posts.

Kelly Castagnaro, Director of Communications:

    1) “I As a Woman”: Discrimination & Empowerment in Cameroun Joy’s story is moving, and a wonderful example of how women can support other women to claim their rights and change their lives.
    2) Ongoing coverage of the Dominican Republic’s Article 30, by various staff and partners. We were one of the few online outlets that consistently did coverage of the controversial Article 30 in the Dominican Republic.
    3) The Complete Alphabet: Moving Beyond “ABC” Towards Healthy and Safe Sexuality For All, by Bene Madunagu, Ndodeye Bassey, Chelsea Ricker, and Kelly Castagnaro. A clever way of reframing the “ABC” approach to HIV prevention, especially “X: Two X chromosomes don’t make you less of a person.”
    4) Global Gag Rule Rescinded, by Jennifer Redner. I love our Capital Critiques series and the inside information the entries provide. The repeal of the Global Gag Rule by President Obama was one of the biggest wins we saw in 2009.
    5) Photoblog: A Look at Abortion Access & Clinics in India, by Khushbu Srivastava. One of the things I look forward to most when our program officers travel is hearing updates on what our partners are doing and what is happening in-country. Khushbu’s report, and her photos, make me feel like I’m there with her.

Audacia Ray, Program Officer for Online Communications and Campaigns

    1) My Illegal Detainment for “Promoting Homosexuality” Sheds Light on the Urgent Need for Protection of Sexual Rights in Cameroun, by Sébastien Mandeng. This post is a great report from a queer African man about a harrowing experience.
    2) Rights, Not Rescue: Dutch Org Mama Cash Hosts Conversation about Sex Work, by Marije Janssen. A great post on a public dialogue about sex worker rights.
    3) New Ordinance Grants Filipino Women Greater Access to Reproductive Health Care, by Mel Rose Dingal. Shifting laws and access to reproductive health care is a slow and arduous process. Our colleague in the Philippines gives an inside perspective on a recent law mandating reproductive health care clinics.
    4) Tarcila Rivera Zea Speaks Out On the Health and Rights of Indigenous Women, Audacia Ray. I got to interview this Quechuan activist from Peru while she was in town for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
    5) (Video) Abortion Advocacy, Film, and the Brazilian Supreme Court, by Denise Hirao and Audacia Ray. An interview with IWHC Board member Deborah Diniz about a developing Supreme Court case in Brazil.

Lori Adelman, Program Assistant, Communications Program

    1) A Closer Look at the UN Guidelines for Universal Access for MSM and Transgender People, by Chelsea Ricker. A succinct but thorough and much-needed overview.
    2) Virginity Testing in Madhya Pradesh, by Khushbu Srivastava. Khushbu takes on an underreported story, compellingly and compassionately, and does a fantastic job of connecting this particular news story with the underlying systemic issues.
    3) Top Ten Wins #9: Sonke Gender Justice Network Challenges Hate Speech in Court. I loved all the Top Ten Wins, but this item in particular is incredibly inspiring to me. The “What’s next” and “Find out more” aspects to this post, as well as the inclusion of a gripping action image, make for a really successful blog post model.
    4) Our female condom coverage, including Women are Not a “Niche Market”: We Demand Female Condoms Now by Jennifer Wilen and Susanna Smith, and Gimmick or Making Female Condoms Easier to Use by Audacia Ray. Akimbo’s coverage of this life-saving device provides a much-needed response to a dangerous and false perception about women’s demand for female condoms, and in particular Dacia’s post poses a provocative and nuanced question to explore.
    5) Pushing Back, Moving Forward: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Iran, by Kelly Castagnaro. The sense of global feminist solidarity conveyed, and the action steps included, make this a standout post for me.

Melanie Abrahams, (our brand new!) Senior Writer

    1) Video: Sex Worker’s Rights are Human Rights, by Audacia Ray. The video is super compelling. You can’t help but feel involved when you’re watching it.
    2) IWHC’s Young Visionaries Contest: Empowered Young People Change the World, by Audacia Ray. I was so excited when I saw this contest announced. I love that we’re not only saying we support up and coming advocates, we’re doing it in a BIG way.
    3) Speaking Up Against Rape in Pakistan, by Audacia Ray. Mukhtar Mai is such an incredible force on this planet. If her life and work isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.
    4) Visiting the Association for the Conservation of Cutivireni Heritage in Peru, by Lucina Di Meco. These photos are so beautiful! I love seeing IWHC and partners in action.
    5) This World AIDS Day, Thank Those Who Battle AIDS All Year Long, by Audacia Ray. Taking a minute to look at what’s going right instead of the obvious things that are wrong is refreshing and a reminder that all of our dedication and hard work pays off in life-changing ways.

Here’s to the next year and beyond!



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