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Baby Shower Gift Program
Submitted by admin on 14:07 pm - Friday, January 18, 2013
Give Life to a Baby Girl
Every day in China, the words "It's a girl!" are received with sadness and disappointment, leading many Chinese couples to engage in gendercide: the act of eliminating girls by pre-natal sex selection, infanticide, abandonment and trafficking.
Community and family pressure to have a son, paired with China's One-Child Policy, form a lethal combination. For every 6 boys born in China, only 5 girls survive. Cumulatively, this has led to an excess of 37 million men in China. Girls are twice as likely to die in their first year of life than boys.
The Baby Shower Gift is bringing life, value and dignity to baby girls in China by showing their families that girls have value. Pregnant couples who enroll in this program receive a monthly stipend to support their baby girl through the first year of her life. All Girls Allowed workers keep families accountable to ensure that the stipend is used for the baby's nutrition, clothing, and shelter.
Profile of a Mother: Shen Hongmei
Although the birth of a girl didn't please her father-in-law, Shen Hongmei was still happy. Not only did she receive the monthly assistance from the Baby Shower Gift program, envy and talk of fellow villagers gave her encouragement. She said, “In my mind, if I am to have a second one, and if the second one is a girl, I would still have her. I don’t care what others say.”
Baby Shower Gift Photos from the Field
If you are viewing this site from a mobile device, you can access the above photo album by clicking here.
What changes have happened so far?
After sending workers to some of China's most impoverished villages, we have seen gender gap lessen dramatically in these villages. Families are keeping girls. Some families who enrolled in the program now say that their neighbors are jealous of them for having girls. Meanwhile, a professor who studied gendercide in Asia found that financial stipends are the best way to encourage families to keep girls. It looks like this program is on the right track!
Sounds great, but I still have some questions.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions; if your question isn't covered, please contact us.
Isn’t the Chinese government doing something to stop the gendercide of girls?
China is troubled by the ever-expanding gender imbalance, but unfortunately has not done anything effective to deal with the issue. The Chinese government has begun information campaigns to tell citizens that it is good to keep their baby girls, but these propaganda methods have not had any impact. In 1994, the government outlawed the use of ultrasound to determine the gender of the baby in the womb; however, little has been done to enforce this law as illegal makeshift ultrasound clinics have popped up around the country. The absence of a social security system in China perpetuates the preference for sons, who traditionally take care of their parents. Finally, the One-Child Policy is the primary driver for the gender imbalance, as gender ratios clearly increased following the establishment of the policy in 1980:
106:100 in 1979 (106 boys for every 100 girls)
111:100 in 1988
117:100 in 2001
Unfortunately, the Chinese government has not identified the One-Child Policy as the main cause of the problem and has expressed its intentions to continue the policy for decades to come.
How much of my monthly Baby Shower Gift goes to the baby girl?
100% of your donation funds our programs in China and none of your donation will be used to cover administrative expenses. For the Baby Shower Gift, a monthly gift of $20 will go to China; 100元 (approximately $15) will go directly into the hands of the mother, and the remainder covers our program expenses and Chinese field workers.
What parts of China are you working in and how do you choose them?
We work in the provinces and villages where gendercide is most entrenched, where the gender ratios at birth are most heavily skewed (as high as 140 boys born for every 100 girls). Our Baby Shower Gift Program is currently active in dozens of villages in four different provinces with the most skewed gender ratios. We have strategically chosen to work in the poorest villages because:
The financial need is greatest (468 million people in China live on under $2/day).
The preference for sons is strongest.
The at-birth gender ratios are most skewed.
How long do Baby Shower Gift recipients receive their monthly stipends?
Baby Shower Gift recipients receive their monthly stipends until the daughter turns 1. After one year, the parents and the daughter have sufficiently bonded emotionally that the risk of infanticide or abandonment is extremely low.
What happens to the girls in the Baby Shower program after their one year is finished?
Once a baby girl turns one, she is no longer eligible for the Baby Shower program and her family no longer receives monthly financial stipends. The reason that the program lasts for a year is that this amount of time is what is needed to establish bonding between the mother, father and the baby girl, ensuring that she won’t be neglected or abandoned. Since we are focused on fighting gendercide, we will use our funds to save the lives of as many baby girls as possible, so it is a strategic decision to terminate the Baby Shower program after one year. However, we are exploring possibilities of partnering with other organizations to provide holistic care for these girls in the future (ie, education) or to provide employment opportunities for their mothers (ie, microloans).
Why doesn’t All Girls Allowed give food, nutrients and clothing directly to mothers for the Baby Shower Gift?
We believe that it is a more empowering and attractive incentive to provide a financial stipend, as it gives the mothers of these baby girls dignity to choose how best to use the stipend. We do not presume to fully understand the different needs of each unique family, and so a financial stipend empowers our families to make the best choices to nurture their baby girl. We are following the model of other “conditional cash transfer” programs of other organizations such as Mexico’s widely successful Oportunidades program, which serves around 25% of Mexico’s population.
What accountability is there for how the Baby Shower Gift is used?
When a family joins the Baby Shower program, they must commit to use the financial stipend only for the benefit of their baby girl. Each month when they receive their stipend, they renew that commitment and explain to our field worker how the stipend was used. Moreover, our Director of Operations makes regular calls directly to families to ensure that they are receiving their stipend and to make sure that they are using the funds to support their baby girl. In addition, we conduct regular in-person surveys of Baby Shower Gift recipients to assess the goals and effectiveness of the program.
By supporting girls, will the Baby Shower Gift program lead to gendercide of boys instead?
Thousands of years of preference for boys will unlikely lead to the gendercide of boys as a result of a one-year program of limited financial support. We collect data to ensure that boys are not being aborted, killed, abandoned or trafficked as a result of the Baby Shower Gift. The goal of the program is to provide just enough financial incentive for couples to keep their baby girl, but not enough incentive for couples to abort their baby boy in favor of a baby girl.