10 Young Leaders, 10 Promising Solutions (2014)
In honor of International Women’s Day, Women Deliver celebrates the tremendous progress we have made to advance girls’ and women’s health and rights. This year, Women Deliver showed its support by awarding seed grants of $5,000 each to 10 different youth advocates who will launch projects that aim to address girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive health, education, gender equality, rights and more. The Women Deliver C-Exchange Seed Grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global.
ADOLESCENT AND YOUTH MOTHERHOOD PROJECT, Cecilia García Ruiz & Espolea (Mexico)
Cecilia’s “Adolescent and Youth Motherhood Project” (AYMP) will increase the capacity of adolescent and young mothers in marginalized urban areas of Mexico to advocate for better sexual and reproductive health (SRH) policies – and, simultaneously, the capacity of non-governmental organizations to support this underserved population. Specific tactics will include peer education, advocacy workshops and social media campaigns. At the end of this seven-month project, Cecilia and her team will present a policy recommendation to local government officials to help increase political commitments for SRH.
ADOLESCENT PREGNANCIES: TRADITIONAL RULERS SPEAK OUT, Numfor Alenwi Munteh & Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (Cameroon)
The “Adolescent Pregnancies: Traditional Rulers Speak Out” (AP-TRSO) project will encourage traditional leaders (“Fons”) in Cameroon to actively promote adolescent reproductive health and rights. Recognizing traditional leaders’ enormous influence over cultural practices in Cameroon, this project will target local leaders with the goal of transforming them into public opponents of adolescent pregnancy. Through radio placements, poster messages and the training of North West Fons Union members, this project also hopes to spark positive change in broader community attitudes and behaviors to reduce adolescent pregnancy.
BETTER-QUALITY ACCESS FOR YOUTH, Martin E. Wanzala & Allied Youth Initiative (Uganda)
Through the “Better-Quality Access for Youth” (BAY) project, Allied Youth Initiative will work with partner organizations across Uganda to increase investments in youth-focused sexual and reproductive health programs. BAY and its partner organizations will gather one million youth voices in support of reproductive rights through an online platform (Ning-site), essay competitions, street interviews and a petition. The petition will be presented to the Speaker of Parliament to advocate for increased funding for youth sexual and reproductive health education and services.
CAMPUS SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROMOTION INITIATIVE, Ajidagba Emman Babatunde (Tunde) & Campus Health & Rights Initiative, (Nigeria)
The “Campus Sexual and Reproductive Health Promotion Initiative” will provide information, education and communication materials to improve the reproductive health of students at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Nigeria. Young people, ages 15-24, are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection in Nigeria, accounting for more than 60% of new cases. The project will promote contraceptive use and offer youth-friendly, voluntary HIV and sexually-transmitted infection testing, counseling and information to more than 25,000 students at OAU.
FRESH: FULLY AND RICHLY EMPOWERED ABOUT SEXUAL HEALTH, Nargis Shirazi & WO-MAN Foundation (Uganda)
The “Fully and Richly Empowered about Sexual Health” (FRESH) project will address urban and slum youth’s unmet need for youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services. Through a youth hotline and social media outlets, including Facebook, YouTube and blogs, urban Ugandan youth will be better educated about sexual and reproductive health and rights. The FRESH project will provide a platform for youth to share their stories, dispel myths and discuss issues affecting young people’s sexual health – and, ultimately, attract national attention to these issues.
JAGORONI – SOCIAL RISING FOR DOWRY AND EARLY MARRIAGE PREVENTION, S M Shaikat & SERAC-Bangladesh (Bangladesh)
The “Social Rising for Dowry and Early Marriage Prevention” project – known as Jagoroni, or “wakeful,” in Bengali – will be Bangladesh’s first program aimed at monitoring and preventing early marriage and dowry violence. Jagoroni will help 650 young people advocate against child marriage by creating youth-led “watchdog” groups. Using cell phones and online networking, these groups will track and report dowry and child marriage cases to local law enforcement agencies.
PEER EDUCATORS ACADEMY, Humphrey Nabimanya & Reach a Hand Uganda (Uganda)
The Peer Educators Academy (PEA) seeks to strengthen young people’s ability to advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Uganda. PEA will raise awareness about gender and reproductive health issues, including HIV/AIDS, by providing Ugandan youth with comprehensive sexual health education. The project will train 50 Peer Educators to conduct intensive mentoring programs in 20 secondary schools across central Uganda. The project will also offer trainings to health staff to help them deliver high-quality, youth-friendly reproductive health services.
PLAN AT HAND GIRL EMPOWERMENT PROJECT, Maureen Anyango Oduor & African Peace Ambassadors Tanzania (Tanzania)
The “Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment” project will use mobile phones to overcome issues that lead to high rates of maternal mortality, unsafe abortion and girls’ withdrawal from secondary school in the Muheza district of Northern Tanzania. Adolescent girls will be able to consult qualified educators, counselors and medical professionals about health concerns through anonymous text messages. Mobile phones will also be used to disseminate a text message quiz that will help educate adolescent girls, ages 13-19, about sexual and reproductive health.
REDUCING THE BURDEN OF HIV/AIDS AMONG FEMALE SEX WORKERS AND THEIR CLIENTS, Chukwudera Bridget Okeke & Concern Women International Development Initiative (Nigeria)
The “Reducing the Burden of HIV/AIDS among Female Sex Workers and their Clients” project aims to enable female sex workers in Nigeria’s Benue State to negotiate safer sex with their clients. In Benue State, female sex workers account for just 1% of the population, but 23% of new HIV infections. The project involves three components: 40 female sex workers will teach HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in brothels; peer educators will conduct educational sessions in gathering spots, like bars and clubs; and pre-existing HIV/AIDS prevention information, education and communication materials will be translated into Tiv, the local language. Ultimately, Bridget hopes this project will help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Benue State.
RISING BIRDS PROJECT: COMBATING CHILD MARRIAGE, Yemurai Nyoni & Bulawayo Youth Development Organization (Zimbabwe)
The “Rising Birds” project seeks to end child marriage in rural Zimbabwe through innovative, youth-led approaches that target key decision-makers. Zimbabwe’s customary laws allow child marriage, despite overwhelming evidence that the practice limits girls’ access to education and increases the risks of HIV-infection and adolescent pregnancy. This project will address this pervasive problem by increasing community awareness, engaging youth groups to educate and pressure decision-makers, encouraging greater male involvement and strengthening Zimbabwe’s legal system.