Margaret Chapman Pomponio, the executive director of WV FREE, a women’s reproductive health organization, was among the West Virginian civil society actors who seemed surprised, but eager, to welcome a visitor from the U.N.

“At first I was surprised. I had gotten an email from the U.N. and then I spoke to them [Alston’s team] ahead of time and it became very clear. It is easy to understand why West Virginia would be selected. We have such high poverty and it’s really heartening he came to hear from us and lift up the challenges that people on the ground see,” Chapman Pomponio explained.