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Addressing Maternal Mortality from a Human Rights Perspective

Since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, the development world has made some impressive strides in addressing maternal health. Maternal mortality rates have reduced by 45% since 1990, and the role of global health practitioners and advocates has been commendable. However, our work is far from over. Today, almost 300,000 women die each year from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. Of these deaths, 99% occur in the developing world, and almost 90% are preventable. Reversing this trend will require recognizing that surviving pregnancy and childbirth is a fundamental human right, which should not be contingent upon a woman’s age, where she lives, or her income level. In From Risk to Rights: Realizing States’ Obligations to Prevent and Address Maternal Mortality, a new publication by the Center for Reproductive Rights, this obligation is clearly outlined. Read more...

Why Sexual Rights Are Important

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Chukwudera Bridget Okeke, Concern Women International Development Initiative (Nigeria)

My project, the Concern Women International Development Initiative, seeks to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS among female sex workers (FSW) and their clients in Benue State Nigeria. To do this, we trained FSWs to be peer educators, conducted interpersonal communication capacity-building to reach clients of FSW and non-brother-based FSW, held sensitization workshops on FSW-friendly services for 10 private providers, and translated informational and educational materials on HIV and STIs into local dialects. Read more...

For Freedom of Choice

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Maureen Anyango Oduor, Plan At Hand Girl Empowerment Project (Tanzania)

Over the last several decades, there have been continuous efforts to promote and improve access to family planning and reproductive health services, especially in the developing world. Despite these efforts, unmet need for contraceptive is likely to grow by 40 percent in the next 15 years In sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania, where almost half the female population is of reproductive age, 35% of married women still do not have their contraceptive needs met, and the total fertility rate of 5.3 is more than double the world average. In response, the Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment Project has worked over the last 6 months to bridge unmet family planning gaps among adolescents girls in the Tanga region through mobile phone SMS. This project provides girls with an opportunity that most of them term as ''one of its kind”, enabling them to discuss myths and religious misconceptions about reproductive health, and finally have correct information right at hand. Read more... 

The Power of Peer Education

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Humphrey Nabimanya, Reach a Hand Uganda

From a survey that we at RAHU conducted last year, nearly 85% of young people, ages 15-24, think that there is a need for them to whether freely access information on sexual and reproductive health. Young people face issues like unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and cross-generational sex and, therefore, require full access to sexual and reproductive health information and services to protect themselves.

In January 2014, we started the first ever Peer Education Academy in Uganda - a unique initiative to empower young people with life development skills, self-awareness skills, and sexual reproductive health and rights information. Through this program, we trained 50 young people (23 female and 27 male) in peer education; counseling and guidance; sexual and reproductive health and rights; drug, alcohol, and substance use; and integration of social media and sexuality education. Read more...

When Challenges Turn Into Highlights

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Tunde Ajidagba, Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

Although I faced some difficulties in implementing my project, there were also some highlights. The first was the reception of the SMS services. The text messaging campaign was the first of its kind on campus and the students were excited about it and really wished it could continue. We also had a positive reaction to the educational and informative pamphlet we produced. We have been getting positive feedback since we started distribution and it has been very encouraging.

Another highlight of my project initially started out as a challenge. When my project site at Obafemi Awolowo University was forced to close down due to strikes, we had to look for another school to continue. Just as my project was set to come to a close, the school re-opened and the HIV counseling and testing services and Campus Health Forum were brought back to the school. Read more...

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