Washington, D.C. – The maternal health community has called on President-Elect Obama and the US government to allocate US$1.3 billion in fiscal year 2010 for maternal and newborn health and support US$1 billion for family planning programs* with clear budgetary tracking. This call to action was endorsed by Family Care International, CARE, White Ribbon Alliance, and many other maternal health organizations.
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January 5th, 2009
December 10th, 2008
New York – Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the conclusion of the campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. The campaign, which bookends November 25th (the International Day Against Violence Against Women) and December 10th (Human Rights Day) and encompasses Women Human Rights Defenders Day (November 29th), World AIDS Day (December 1st), and the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (December 6th), provides opportunities to link women in global solidarity around human rights, and women’s rights in particular.
This year, hundreds of organizations used 16 Days to plan events and call for recognition of women's right to live free of violence. Organizing themes this year included: ending violence against women, directing resources to gender-based violence advocacy, focusing on violence and experiences of women human rights defenders, and strengthening the UN system to better address the human rights of women.
Examples of 2008 16 Days advocacy:
In India, groups used street plays and road shows to raise awareness about domestic violence in more than 500 towns and villages.
In Switzerland, unions, women's organizations, peace organizations, and churches planned a joint calendar of over 50 events, including an exhibit of portraits of 1,000 women from around the world.
In Uganda, a local network worked with over 30 African organizations to engage men in dialogue about masculinity and violence.
In Fiji, a local group ran a mobile women's radio campaign that gives rural women the chance to produce media content.
In Belize, activists held a Torch Run across the country to bring attention to the intersections between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.
As Charlotte Bunch, Executive Director of the Center for Women's Global Leadership, notes, "We are proud that the 16 Days Campaign has taken root in 156 countries, and well over 2000 civil society groups have highlighted women's creative and strategic anti-violence advocacy. Even governments and UN agencies have adopted this civil society campaign to promote their own anti-violence programming."
For more information about the 16 Days Campaign, visit the Center for Women's Global Leadership website.
For information about the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, visit the Defending Women Defending Rights website.
And, for more information on maternal health as a human right, visit the International Initiative for Maternal Mortality and Human Rights website.
November 25th, 2008
New Delhi -- To mark the first anniversary and the achievements that have been made since the Women Deliver conference in October 2007, a group of activists, policy makers, and grant making organizations met in New Delhi on 13th November 2008 to strengthen local partnerships for addressing high maternal mortality in India. The meeting was coordinated by Rema Nanda, Convening Chair for the group.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold: First to explore a role for Women Deliver in India and, second, to begin a consultation with a broad range of stakeholders already working to improve maternal health in India.
November 11th, 2008
Washington DC – President-Elect Obama will reverse US family-planning and AIDS-prevention strategies that have long linked global funding to anti-abortion and abstinence education, a public-health adviser said.
October 28th, 2008
UK -- The BBC has produced a new multi-series documentary called "Survival" that includes a 45-minute look at maternal health in Bangladesh. To capture the true story, the filmmakers traveled to a remote area in the North East of Bangladesh and filmed the labor of a young woman, Morjina, in her small hut with the aid of traditional birth attendant, or dhai.
Bangladesh is one of the most dangerous places in the world to have a baby, and over 90% of women will give birth at home, most without the help of trained medical staff. The dhais are the most common birth attendant choice for women, and the only equipment they use are a razor blade and a piece of string for cutting and tying the umbilical cord. If there were any complications during birth, such as hemorrhage or obstructed labor, the dhai could do little to help. The film exposes the dangerous conditions in which women give birth in Bangladesh and many of the traditional customs that affect the health of the mother and the newborn child.
Specially edited short versions of the documentaries have been created and are available for free download and use (available in English, French, German and Japanese) as well as factsheets and a series of video podcasts by leading global health experts and political figures. To watch the short version, see below, or click here to watch the full-length film.