“Mobilizing the American public, government and private sector to invest in early childhood, specifically newborn and child survival and early education.”
This is the mission of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). A national organization, Save the Children Action Network works to engage governments, businesses, partner organizations and supporters to take bold action on behalf of children.
Communications major and women’s and gender studies minor Nakia Worrell has taken up this call to action through a Save the Children Action Network on-campus internship. As an intern, Worrell works to raise awareness about maternal and child survival to mobilize students at Illinois State University on this issue.
As part of the Save the Children Action Network’s Maternal and Newborn Child Survival Week, Worrell partnered with the women’s and gender studies program office to host “Stories of Hope: Moms and Kids around the World Survive and Thrive,” a photography campaign making visible global mother and child relationships and needs.
Worrell found her opportunity to impact the Bloomington-Normal community through Stacia Kock, WGS assistant director and advisor. Kock connected her with WGS alumna and Save the Children Action Network Assistant Director Diana Onken ’97.
“I hope to start a family someday, and I have the resources to be able to safely do that while so many others around the world do not,” Worrell said. “There are 800 women who die every single day due to pregnancy complications and childbirth, and there are 16,000 kids under the age of 5 who die from completely preventable causes, such as dehydration, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
“So I wanted to be able to use my voice to help those who don’t have a voice,” said Worrell.
Worrell knew the importance of bringing this specific photography campaign paired with the women’s and gender studies program. Worrell hosted an informational table on March 28 geared toward gaining signatures for her petition to protect funding for global maternal health and nutrition programs. She knew students at Illinois State University and across the nation would want to take part in these efforts, and the photo campaign would bring much visibility to the issues.
“This photo campaign was important because this is (SCAN’s) week of action, which is a national campaign to raise awareness for maternal and newborn child survival. We got a lot of signatures for our petition to protect funding for global maternal health and nutrition programs in the 2017 federal budget, which was awesome. There were students across the country also holding similar events this week and it has been an amazing experience to be a part of because together we can make a difference,” said Worrell.
This opportunity has afforded Worrell real-world grassroots organizing, communications and public policy experiences. Worrell anticipates this work to carry her well into her future.
“I have always been very interested in having a career that would put me in the position to help others. By interning with the nonprofit organization SCAN, it has been a wonderful opportunity for me to gain real life experience doing just that,” said Worrell.