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ONE’s Erin Thornton moves to Every Mother Counts

Erin Thornton, one of Washington’s top international development leaders, has moved from Bono‘s ONE campaign to take a role at Every Mother Counts, an organization focused on maternal health and created by supermodel Christy Turlington. After helping ONE grow into a worldwide grassroots campaign with over 2 million members, Thornton is now seeking to replicate ...

Erin Thornton, one of Washington’s top international development leaders, has moved from Bono‘s ONE campaign to take a role at Every Mother Counts, an organization focused on maternal health and created by supermodel Christy Turlington.

After helping ONE grow into a worldwide grassroots campaign with over 2 million members, Thornton is now seeking to replicate that success by working with Turlington’s organization, which is still in its infancy.  In an interview with The Cable, Thornton said that she wants to focus more attention on maternal mortality and maternal health, which she sees as a sometimes overlooked development issue.

"I’ve been with ONE for 8 years, it’s still my family, and through those 8 years I’ve become more cognizant that women are crucial in development," she said. "I’m eager to really connect on a single issue that I care so much about and use some of the strategies I’ve learned at ONE."

Turlington and Thorton will be working to build both grassroots support and partnerships with larger organizations such as ONE and CARE. Turlington worked with CARE before starting her own organization. She became involved in maternal health and maternal mortality after suffering through a pregnancy with complications.

One of Thornton and Turlington’s first projects will be to complete and release Turlington’s documentary this spring. No Woman, No Cry is designed to raise awareness about the issue of maternal health by telling the story of at-risk pregnancies in four countries: Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala, and the United States.

Thornton is also planning to lobby both parties on Capitol Hill to build support for her issue. "We’re both going to try to build a grassroots constituency while at the same time try to build some bipartisan support," she said.

Thornton argues that maternal health and pregnancy support is inextricable from all the other development goals that receive more widespread funding and attention. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has focused on women’s health as one of the key U.N. Millennium Development Goals, has made a similar argument.

Thornton warns the problem is drastic and the solution will require years, if not decades, of work.

"1,000 women dying a day Is really just not acceptable," she said. "When it comes to giving birth and having basic services available we still have a long way to go."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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