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Leaders of Today: Youth Leadership for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver; Originally posted on Huffington Post

I’ll never forget the energy of this moment. Yemurai Nyoni was amongst a hard-hitting roster of speakers tasked with closing the PMNCH Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2014. The list included Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin of UNFPA, Dr. Ariel Pablos Mendez of USAID, and Dr. Carole Presern of PMNCH - true giants in the reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) space. Read more..

Girls and Women Must be at the Center of the Global Development Agenda

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver

I am an optimist. Some would say I am a naïve optimist. Others would say I am an impatient optimist. There may be some truth to this, but after more than a decade working in global health I can say with confidence that over the next ten years we will make significant and sustainable change to improve the lives of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. It will happen gradually and require a strong global strategy, but it is possible. Just think about how much progress has been made over the last two decades: maternal deaths have dropped by almost half, contraceptive use has increased, more girls are in school, more women are in leadership positions, and women’s rights are more widely recognized. Read more...

Nalia’s Story: Adolescents Who Sell Sex in Ethiopia

By: Nina Benedicte Kouassi

When Nalia left her village for Addis Ababa, she expected to find a job and send money home to her family. She was looking for work as a maid, but says: “As I did not know anyone in the city, I lived in the streets. And I had to do this [sex work] to earn some money while finding a job.” At 16, she is still a sex worker and her story is far from unusual. Read more...

Ending Child Marriage in Malawi: A Roadmap to Sustainable Change

By: Emily Teistworth, Director of Programs, Let Girls Lead; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Malawi outlawed child marriage last week. Following more than five years of undaunted advocacy by Malawian girls, their allies and civil society leaders, the country's Parliament tabled and passed the "Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Bill," increasing the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. This legal victory is a huge step forward for girls' and women's rights globally. The fact that it has been a painfully slow step merely serves to underscore its vital importance. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Reducing Social Isolation Can Also Reduce the Risk of HIV Infection

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Despite years of investment and progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the disease remains the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 in Ethiopia. In addition, adolescent girls remain disproportionately at risk of infection. The Population Council’s Biruh Tesfa project is seeking to change this by taking a “whole girl” approach to addressing HIV infection – social isolation, economic insecurity, poor access to services, and sexual and gender-based violence. Read more...

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