Editors Note: Kelli Clifton, a Georgia native, joins the Gbomai Bestman Foundation’s advisory panel! Nichole briefly nterviews Kelli Clifton about her involvement and what led her to GBF.
I still remember the day Gbomai came home from an American Health Care Executives event in admiration of your accomplishments and boasting about the development work you’ve done in Ethiopia, Kelli! She really connected with you and was eager to speak further about getting involved with GBF. Fast forward 4 months, we are excited to welcome you on board and to introduce you as an advisor to GBF fans and supporters.
Kelli’s input on our case study on our recent trip to Liberia has been invaluable – from intake forms to advice about publishing. Currently, she guides the development of our proposal that is a direct response to our findings in Kolahun, Liberia.
Take it away Kelli!
1. Tell us how you ended up in the nation’s capital and what you’re currently doing here.
Thanks Nichole! I relocated to DC in July of 2010 from Columbus, OH where I was in graduate school and working for The Ohio State University Medical Center. I moved after completing my degree and I now am a healthcare consultant for a firm in DC.
2. How did you get involved with The Gbomai Bestman Foundation and why?
Earlier this year I was attending a professional development function and as I was preparing to leave, I met Gbomai. We initally talked about our careers and I causally mentioned my past experience and interest in international healthcare. Gbomai immediately told me about her vision for GBF and passion for maternal and child health in Liberia. At the time it seemed like an odd coincidence but given our mutual passion, I know it was a divine intervention! There are so many organizations to support and volunteer with in the DMV area but I was truly drawn to GBF because the mission of the organization has the potential to immediately pay it forward by impacting countless number of lives.
3. You are so well traveled and have a wealth of international experience! Tell us how you think GBF fits into the equation fighting maternal and infant mortality in Liberia.
Girls really do run the world! In all seriousness, the issues of reproductive and child health are critically important because more often than not, preventative care and access to timely healthcare can be the defining factors leading to healthy outcomes. According to The Human Rights Center at UC-Berkley, only 45% of Liberian woman have formal education compared to 73% of men. This bears heavily on the frequency and accuracy of information that women receive and their ability to advocate for themselves and their children. The situation is more dire in rural areas outside of Monrovia where health clinics and hospitals are limited and circumstances often require women to wait until the critical hours to receive medical attention. The GBF has a strong potential to change these factors for the positive. Empowering women to understand and have access to beneficial services can change the lives of themselves and ultimately their communities.On a national scale, women in Liberia already have a positive example in female President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Now is the time to bring advocacy to the grassroots level and inspire more women and children to control their health, education and economic future.
4. On our recent trip to Liberia, we asked the younger girls we worked with to draw three things every Liberian girls need. We’d like to know what you think, on a general scale: What 3 things do you think women and girls need to feel empowered and take their health into their own hands?
1) Accurate and consistant education pertaining to personal healthcare
2) Positive sense of self-worth
3) A community or cultural environment that supports female empowerment
You can learn more about Kelli here!