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For a Better World for All

By: Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UNFPA and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women; Originally posted on The Huffington Post

It is now 100 long days since the abduction of 276 girls from their school in Chibok in northern Nigeria shocked and outraged the world. While a few of the girls have managed to escape their captors, the majority remain separated from their shattered families.

It is the nature of news - and, sadly, terrible events happening elsewhere -- that the Chibok girls, and indeed, more Nigerian girls who have been kidnapped since, are no longer in the global spotlight. We must not forget them, and we must keep demanding action to bring back our girls. Read more...

New Study Shows Effects of Health and Nutrition on Fetal Growth and Newborn Size

A new study by the INTERGROWTH-21st Project proves that the health and nutritional status of an expecting woman, and not their race or ethnicity, influences fetal growth and newborn size. This challenges earlier misconceptions that a baby’s country of birth or their race influences their growth and development.

The study reveals that the educational background, type of nutrition, environmental effects, and the health care an expecting woman receives shape fetal grown and newborn size.  Results from the study indicated that babies born to healthy mothers are surprisingly similar worldwide.

The study also shows that the fetal growth and birth length are similar when babies are born to well-nourished, well-educated mothers, despite their diverse ethnic and genetic backgrounds. The reverse of this is equally true: when expecting women are not educated and are unhealthy with poor nutritional care, the growth of the womb and newborn size is poor. Read more...

Deaths and Infections from HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Plummet Globally

Originally posted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

New HIV infections dropped by almost one-third from the epidemic peak; TB deaths declined by 3.7% between 2000 and 2013; child deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have dropped 31.5% in the past decade. Despite major progress, the quality of programs to treat HIV varies widely.

PRESS RELEASE: SEATTLE—Today, fewer people are dying from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, according to a new, first-of-its-kind analysis of trend data from 188 countries. The pace of decline in deaths and infections has accelerated since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established to stop the spread of these diseases by 2015. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Magic Bus Transports Youth Out of Poverty

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Shazia Malik grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Delhi, India, with little hope for her future. When Magic Bus arrived in her community, Shazia was excited to engage in its sports-based activities. Soon, she became a volunteer and led weekly training sessions in handball and football. “I enjoyed it,” . “I could play and also it made me feel like I was capable of something.” In 2011, she was offered a paid job as a Youth Mentor. Read more...

When You Invest In Girls and Women, Everybody Wins

By: Katja Iversen; Originally posted by Huffington Post

Katja Iversen is the CEO of Women Deliver

After she got married, she had to drop out of 7th grade.

This is the beginning of a story I heard at the +SocialGood event last month from Miriam Enerstrida, a young woman who escaped child marriage in Zambia. When she was in 7th grade, Miriam was sold into marriage. Her husband's family kept her in their basement, naked, so she could not run away. When she asked about going back to school, she said she was beaten and they made her repeat the phrase "school is for boys and not for the girl child."

I'm sure just by reading this you can tell what is wrong here. Although marriage below the age of 18 is not permitted in most countries, social norms and discriminatory laws often allow the practice to continue even where laws are on the books. Every day, 39,000 girls under the age of 18 will be forced into early marriage. One in seven girls living in developing countries is married before her 15th birthday.

The real question is: Why?

Child marriage is not only wrong from a legal and human rights perspective, but also from a broader economic and developmental perspective. When girls are married young, they are more likely to drop out of school; more likely to acquire HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections; and more likely to live their lives in poverty - a poverty that often is passed on to their children. Read more...

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