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The Struggle for Our Dignity

By: Nebila Abdulmelik, Women Deliver Young Leader

As reports and videos emerged of women being stripped naked in public in both Kenya and Tanzania, activists and citizens of conscience began organizing around a campaign, #MyDressMyChoice which was also trending online. A protest was organized on November 17, in which hundreds of us took to the streets to protest the indignity and the violence that was faced by the women, as well as the affront to personal safety, security and choice. Read more...

Improving SRHR Outcomes For Youth In Uganda Is Within Our Reach

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

By: Wanzala E. Martin, Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda

In a bid to take the quest for improved sexual & reproductive health (SRH) outcomes for young people a notch higher, Allied Youth Initiative - Uganda (AYI - Uganda) conceived the Better-Quality Access for Youth (BAY) project idea to scale-up and deepen engagement around the issue. We have worked with partner organizations across the country over the last six months to advocate for meaningful investments in youth-focused SRH programs as a means to accelerate progress towards achieving the country’s local and international development targets by 2015. Through this initiative, we specifically targeted a diverse group of young people ages 15-30. Read more...

Why Are Women and Children Still Dying?

By: Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning, Founder and Executive Director, Let Girls Lead, Champions for Change, and Youth Champions Initiative; Originally posted by

Nigeria, one of the richest countries in Africa, also boasts one of the world’s highest rates of maternal, newborn, and child death.  One in 13 Nigerian women dies during pregnancy or childbirth, and one in 8 Nigerian children dies before their fifth birthday.

And Nigeria is not alone. The global realities are equally devastating – nearly three million newborn babies die annually, and 800 women die in childbirth every single day. That means that two women will die by the time you finish reading this article – assuming you read fast. Read more...

Stand Up and Be Counted: How the Data Revolution Strengthens Advocacy

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

At first glance, data might not seem particularly political or rights-based. But beyond the numbers and graphs, key questions emerge: Who is and isn’t counted? Who decides this? How can we track the data on issues we care about? And once we have the data we need, how can we then translate it into impactful advocacy tools so that partners worldwide, regardless of resources, can drive progress? Read more...

Raising Youth Voices to Stop Child Marriage and Dowry in Bangladesh

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

By: SM Shaikat, SERAC-Bangladesh

The title of my project - “Jagoroni” - means rising. This rising is to prevent two major disparities and human rights violations in Bangladesh society - child marriage and dowry. The plan was to engage youth to lead this rising, and Women Deliver’s C Exchange Youth Initiative became our opportunity to start.

I wanted to train young people so they could become change agents in their communities and, as a group, these volunteers were named as “Jagori,” meaning wakeful. The project was aimed to develop a watchdog group of young people that will be on the lookout for dowry violence and child marriage issues in Mymensingh, the district that has the highest rate of dowry cases in Bangladesh. Read more...

Can Young People End Child Marriage?

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

By: Yemurai Nyoni, Bulawayo Youth Development Organization (Zimbabwe)

I remember the words of the Minister of Health from Zimbabwe on the sidelines of ICASA 2013, when I told him about the Rising Birds Project. He said, “I’d like to see how you plan to end child marriage in Zimbabwe, it’s a deeply complicated issue…” His response was devoid of excitement and, to me, it sounded more like a challenge to justify our project’s optimistic goal of ending the practice, which had taken hundreds of generations to establish, in just seven months. 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...

Working with Young People to Have Their Say in the Post-2015 Development Dialogue

Originally posted by UNAIDS

Today’s generation of young people is the largest in history, with 1.8 billion adolescents and youth making up one quarter of the world’s population. Young people have a critical role in ensuring that political momentum to achieve the end of the AIDS epidemic and to secure specific targets around sexual and reproductive health and rights in the post-2015 development agenda is sustained. Read more...

On The March Towards Improved SRHR Outcomes For Youth In Uganda Through Think-And-Thin

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

By: Wanzala E. Martin, Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda

Since March 2014, the Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda (AYI-Uganda) has been working with partner organizations across the country to increase investments in youth-focused sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programs as a means to accelerate progress towards achieving the country’s local and international development targets by 2015. The goal of AYI Uganda’s “Better-Quality Access for Youth” (BAY) project is to gather as many as one million youth voices in support of reproductive rights through online platforms, essay competitions, and street interviews and then petition the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament to ensure adequate investment in youth SRH education and services. Read more...

Young People Must Be Listened To

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

By: Nargis Shirazi, FRESH Campaign (Uganda)

What does it mean to be fully and richly empowered about sexual health? Is it having adequate comprehensive information about sexual reproductive health and rights? Is it about changing behavior based on the knowledge of harmful sexual practices? Is it having access to sexual reproductive health services? Or could it be the government making the conditions in the country favorable to accessing sexual health information and services? We have been asking ourselves these questions on the FRESH social media platform. We want to know how effective the platform is – how many people it is reaching and is it influencing behavior. Read more...

Women Bearing the Brunt of the Ebola Crisis Must Be Central to the Solution

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver; Originally posted by The Huffington Post

Medical authorities worldwide are struggling to contain the deadly Ebola virus wherever it breaks out, but one reality in the countries most affected is not receiving adequate attention. The outbreak is affecting girls and women more than boys and men - those who are infected as well as those who are not. Read more...

11 Days of Action for International Day of the Girl Child

Adolescence is a critical time in a girl’s life, when choices and opportunities define the present and future of the world. While half of the world’s population is under 30, mostly living in developing countries, young people – specifically young women – face barriers to realizing their rights and full potential. From child marriage and unintended pregnancy to lack of education and exposure to violence, girls are often compromised from a safe and healthy transition from childhood to adulthood. Read more...

Youth Coalition Launches “The Post-2015 Development Agenda and Young People”

Originally posted by the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights

The Post-2015 Development Agenda process has become an important platform to advocate for human rights. While a vast body of literature is available on the linkages between sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the YCSRR recognizes a lack of resources that capture the linkages between youth sexual and reproductive rights and Post-2015 specifically. Read more...

Women Deliver’s UNGA Recap

Last week, we gathered together at strategy sessions, coffee shops, UN Assembly halls, high-level receptions and meetings to amp up the volume regarding development and the future of development for girls and women. From exciting announcements to campaigns and calls to action, there is a growing momentum for ensuring that the health, rights and well-being of girls and women are prioritized within the post-2015 framework and beyond. Women Deliver was on hand all week, participated in more than 50 events, and shared the message loud and clear that when we invest in girls and women, everybody wins!  Read more...

Delivering for Girls and Women Through UN General Assembly Week

As world leaders, international agency heads, government officials, civil society representatives, corporate executives, and youth advocates begin to gather in New York City for the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Women Deliver is poised to call for greater awareness of and investments for the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women. Read more...

Finding New Ways to Reach A Project’s Goals Despite Unexpected Challenges

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)

The goal of my project is to promote access to comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health services among students at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to reduce unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Although the project has faced some challenges, I have been able to provide strong solutions.

One major challenge for implementing the project was the change in the school calendar due to a national strike by the academic staff at the university. OAU is a federal university and for over two months, the lecturers at the university went on industrial strike to drive home some demands of the government. When the strike ended, the academic calendar had to be adjusted to compensate for the lost time – class schedules and exam periods were changed. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Education for All: What’s Advocacy Got to Do With It?

By: Emily Teitsworth; Originally posted by Global Campaign for Education, U.S Chapter

Emily Teitsworth is the Director of Programs at Let Girls Lead and Champions for Change

Why are we failing to deliver on the promise of educating girls? In rural areas in Nigeria, surveys have found that at the end of 3rd grade, only 6 percent of students are able to read a simple sentence. In Malawi, it is illegal for pregnant girls and young mothers to return to school. In Guatemala, only 10 percent of rural girls complete secondary education.

Educating girls has been shown to strengthen families, reduce maternal mortality, and break intergenerational cycles of poverty. A single year of secondary education can increase a girl’s potential income by up to 25 percent, and significantly reduce the likelihood that she will become pregnant young or die in childbirth (World Bank, 2012).  In spite of significant investment and political will going towards expanding girls’ access to education, the global development community has not yet achieved the transformative promise of a world where both girls and boys receive free, quality education. Read more...

Young People Won’t Be Forgotten at Uganda’s First National Conference on Family Planning

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

As Uganda’s first annual National Conference on Family Planning (July 28-30) drew to a close, the presence and impact of the country’s young people was clear. With nearly 80% of Uganda’s population under the age of 30, it is a demographic group that the country cannot afford to leave behind any longer.

Youth activists started their hard work before the conference, with a two-day workshop on July 23 and 24 organized by It Takes Two and UNFPA Uganda. Under the theme of making universal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services a reality for young people, the pre-conference’s nearly 100 participants were able to network with their peers, learn about their government’s commitments to SRH and youth, and strengthen their advocacy and communications skills. Representatives from the Ministry of Health, UNFPA Uganda, and PPD-ARO were all present to share how they are committed to helping Uganda’s young people realize their SRH. Read more...

Be seen! Be heard! Youth at the 3rd PMNCH Partners’ Forum

By: Yemurai Nyoni and Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

This 3rd PMNCH Partners’ Forum is the first large-scale involvement of young people to date. Out of the approximately 1000 participants here in Johannesburg, nearly 10% are youth representatives under 30. This is a great start, and a clear opportunity to increase meaningful youth engagement in the forum and others like it. Will PMNCH consider including a youth constituency to its other seven constituencies while mainstreaming youth within and throughout? We really hope so.

Partners’ Forum representatives come together from governments, civil society, development agencies, private sector, and the media to deliberate on how best to accelerate progress for women, children and adolescents in the context of RMNCH. Youth representatives are uniquely positioned to put our issues front and center, and to magnify our contributions to advancing maternal and newborn health. Read more...

Join Us in Celebrating a Lifelong Advocate for Girls and Women

Dr. Fred Sai, Ghanian Physician and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Advocate, Celebrates His 90th Birthday

Join us in wishing a very happy birthday to Dr. Fred Sai, Board Member Emeritus and long-time friend of Women Deliver. Dr. Sai has been a champion for maternal and reproductive health for his entire lifetime, and next week will celebrate his 90th birthday. We will be compiling birthday messages for Dr. Sai and would love your input! Read more...

 

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