Women Deliver 2010: Global Communications and Advocacy Strategy

photo credit: Women Deliver and Sam Hurd

Women Deliver 2010: Global Communications and Advocacy Strategy

The Ask: The global advocacy group Women Deliver asked GHS to develop the communications strategy for its upcoming international conference, Women Deliver 2010. GHS would manage media relations and communications for the conference in the lead-up to, during and after the event. The goal was to position Women Deliver as a leader in maternal health advocacy, ensure that Women Deliver’s messages resonated with policy makers worldwide, and galvanize political commitments to provide at least US$12 billion in new funding for global reproductive, maternal and newborn health.

The Approach: Given the global scale of the conference, GHS developed a multi-pronged strategy to engage global media, including an op-ed campaign in donor and developing countries, social media outreach, outreach to journalists, on-site logistics and media relations, four official press conferences, and facilitation of partner press conferences and media events. GHS also coordinated a multi-national communications advisory group, secured a webcasting vendor for the conference plenaries and press conferences, and advised Women Deliver on moderators and plenary speakers who could expand the reach of conference sessions. Finally, given Canada’s role as the host of the 2010 G8/G20 Summit and the government’s public commitment to maternal health, GHS led advocacy efforts to engage Canadian opinion leaders in the conference. This outreach resulted in new funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The Outcome: The Lancet hailed Women Deliver 2010 as “the most significant event for the future of women and children in 20 years.” Nearly 3,500 people attended from 146 countries and more than 235 journalists covered the conference, including 170 on-site and another 65 who followed Women Deliver 2010 remotely. Through July 2010, more than 300 print, broadcast and online stories on Women Deliver have aired or been published. In addition, approximately 16,000 unique visitors watched the conference webcast. The GHS-led op-ed campaign, which included articles authored by local maternal health champions, resulted in placements in 23 outlets in 14 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The first Women Deliver, held in London in 2007, put MDG5 on the global development agenda; Women Deliver 2010 was considered a success of exponential proportions.