Katja Iversen | October 2015
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Presentation at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference, October 21, 2015

Background: Ms. Iversen will outline how multi-sector convenings, innovative evidence-based advocacy strategies, strong non-technical messaging, and a change in narrative – as well as an open source network-based distribution thinking –helped place maternal health back on the global political agenda. She will outline how future advocacy and communication efforts can further break down siloes, draw in new constituencies, and accelerate progress.

Methodology: The presentation will focus on the following elements: 1) Evidence is key: highlight the relationship between evidence and effective advocacy and communication; 2) Building the investment case and enhancing the narrative around maternal health: outline how moving the narrative from maternal death being a women’s problem and a moral issue, to a development and socio-economic imperative (focusing on solutions), has benefited the movement; 3) Expanding the movement: show the power of enlisting new audiences and sectors in the movement such as education, finance, gender rights and economic empowerment, and the private sector; 4) Engaging people in more accessible ways: outline how to spark political will and investment in girls and women’s health and rights through global and regional convenings; communications activities and evidence-based materials with broad appeal; and capacity building of key constituencies, especially young leaders, to advocate for change and finding platforms where their voices are heard.

Results: 1. An enhanced evidence base with proven solutions at the heart; 2. A changed narrative around maternal health and maternal death; Enhanced media coverage by more than 400%; A widened audience—the number of organizations and sectors addressing the issue has grown.

Conclusion: Through innovative communications and advocacy strategies, we as a maternal health community can and have successfully changed the narrative. We have engaged new sectors and used new ways to communicate evidence, solutions, and benefits to spur political will, investments, and action to reduce maternal deaths.