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Carving a Way Forward in the Fight Against HIV

By: Catherine Nyambura, Women Deliver Young Leader

It has been 30 years since Kenya’s first case of HIV was diagnosed. The efforts to fight HIV/AIDS have been bittersweet, with a lot of lessons, challenges, and opportunities. The International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) provides just the platform to reflect on the journey thus far and to carve a way forward. Read more...

Beyond World AIDS Day, Continuing the Work to End HIV in Nigeria

By: Isaac Ejakhegbe, Women Deliver Young Leader

While scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment and laws exist to protect people living with HIV, the work is not over. Worldwide, a large proportion of all new HIV infections occur in people under age 25. In Africa, the burden of HIV among youth is high. Despite this, many young people in Nigeria do not know the facts about how to protect themselves, and both stigma and discrimination remain a reality for people—particularly young people—living with the condition. Read more...

Ensuring Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services Through SDG3

By: Jennifer Amadi, Women Deliver Young Leader

Young women in Nigeria are caught between tradition and a shifting cultural landscape, brought about by urbanization, globalized economies, and a media-saturated environment. Many young women are unprepared to face the challenges that accompany limited access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including forced child birth, banishment from the community, infections, and even death. Read more....

We Must Educate Girls to End Child Marriage

By: Onward Chironda and Nehsuh Carine Alongifor, Women Deliver Young Leaders

Fifteen million girls are married every year before they turn 18. That means 15 million childhoods interrupted, 15 million lives forever changed. Child marriage is a violation of girls’ rights. It disrupts their access to education, jeopardizes their health, and makes them vulnerable to violence. It also keeps girls from reaching their full potential and from fully contributing to the social and economic growth of their families. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Securing Women’s Land Rights in Rwanda

By: Brittany Tatum, Women Deliver

It was not until 1999 that women gained the right to own land in Rwanda. As a country with one of the highest population densities in Africa, Rwandan land is a valuable commodity. Even though women now have the right to own land, almost 80 percent of women in rural areas of Rwanda do not know their property rights. For those who do, customary laws can still undermine their right to inherit land. These disparities have not gone unnoticed. There are some notable organizations in Rwanda helping women learn about and enforce their land rights. Read More...

Celebrate Solutions: Partnership to Save Women and Babies in Uganda, Zambia, and Nigeria

By: Sara Pellegrom; Women Deliver

Last week, at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference, USAID and partners released the Saving Mothers, Giving Life Mid-Initiative Report. Halfway through the five-year project, the report highlights a reduction of nearly 50 percent in maternal deaths in targeted Ugandan and Zambian facilities. Read More...

Say NO to Child Labour and YES to Quality Education

By: Isaac Oriafo Ejakhegbe, Women Deliver Young Leader

“Education helps young people know about trending issues like the Sustainable Development Goals, one’s basic right as citizens and how to contribute to government developmental plan”  - 13, Junior

Between 50 and 60 million children between five and 11 worldwide are involved in some form of labour according to the ILO. This labour may threaten their education, health, and safety and too often many of these children are engaged in a manner that is hidden from the public eyes or in settings where child labour is considered normal and acceptable.

Fighting HIV/AIDS through Ending Stigma and Discrimination

By: Segawa Patrick, Women Deliver Young Leader

“…most people assume that someone with AIDS is immoral. They do not realize that there are other ways of transmission. They simply believe that if someone has AIDS, they must have acquired it through immoral behaviour. They associate you with criminals and hence discriminate against you.” (Male, PLHIV)

Uganda is lauded as a champion against HIV and AIDS for decades, having made tremendous strides in containing the epidemic and reversing its spread. However, the current statistics depict an increase in the incidence of HIV and young people are the group most affected. According to 2011 statistics by the Ministry of Health, 37 per cent of youths are HIV-positive and HIV prevalence is higher among female youths than their male counterparts.Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: What Does Patient-Centered Family Planning Care Look Like?

By: Claire Watt Rothschild and Catherine Owinga, Jacaranda Health

“I’ve heard it’s a huge metal thing,” Njeri, a new mother, told Jacaranda Health midwife and nurse-in-charge Catherine Owinga at a recent family planning consultation. Njeri was describing what she knew about the copper-bearing intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), or the “coil,” as it is called locally. Njeri’s fears about an IUCD – that it is so large that it has to be inserted under general anesthesia or can travel through your veins and get stuck in your heart – were familiar to Catherine. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Harnessing Peer Networks to Promote Family Planning

By: Claire Watt Rothschild and Shalmali Radha Karnad, Jacaranda Health

At Jacaranda Health, efforts to expand access to postpartum contraception have resulted in a rate of family planning that is more than three times higher than Kenya’s national average. Despite these successes, Jacaranda is still trying to understand why so many women do not adopt family planning at the recommended six weeks after childbirth. A key part of the human-centered program development is talking with clients – in focus groups, interviews, and informal chats – to understand their needs and build programs to address them. When postpartum clients were asked why they were not using family planning, the overwhelming response was that clients’ friends and family members told them six weeks was too early for family planning. Read more...

The Challenge of Girls’ Education in Nigeria

By Nnamdi Eseme, Women Deliver Young Leader

As Nigeria celebrated Children's Day on 27 May, one cannot help but lament the challenges facing girl’s education in the country. Nigerian girls face many challenges in their bid to acquire an education, from threats from terrorist groups to gender norms. Nigeria has recently come under intense international scrutiny following the declining levels of education, especially among girls, and the increasing insecurity. While various efforts have been made by the government, private sector, and international organizations, very little has been achieved in reversing this disturbing trend. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Do We Encourage Healthy Birth Spacing?

By: Claire Watt Rothschild, Jacaranda Health

Nearly half of women in Kenya who are new family planning users stop within the first year of use. It’s called “contraceptive (or family planning) discontinuation” and the high numbers of women in Kenya who stop using contraception early is of major concern. Family planning discontinuation has been called a “leaky bucket,” and high rates are undermining gains made in the number of women who start taking contraception (called “uptake”). Last week, this blog series highlighted how Jacaranda Health is encouraging family planning among postpartum women to encourage healthy spacing of delivery and pregnancy. While focusing on uptake is important, it is only part of the story. Healthy birth spacing requires women not only to decide to start family planning before the return to fertility, but also to continue using family planning – consistently and correctly – for nearly two years or longer. Read more...

Women Deliver Young Leader Oumie Sissokho to Host Camp for Girls Affected by FGM

Women Deliver Young Leader Oumie Sissokho is a co-founder of The Girls’Agenda, a community-based organization in Gambia that empowers girls and women in areas like reproductive health, human rights, and life skills that protect girls and women from abusive relationships and forced and early marriages.

In August 2015, The Girls’ Agenda is partnering with For My Sister to host a summer Camp for 100 young women between the ages of 14 and 24. This intensive summer camp will focus on issues that affect the young women's well-being, progress, liberty, and freedom. The empowerment forum will focus on comprehensive sexuality education, leadership skill building, mentorship opportunities, and education on harmful traditional practices (with an emphasis on early marriage and female genital mutilation). Read more...

The Folly of Farring Pregnant Girls from School in Sierra Leone

By: Chernor Bah; Originally posted on Africa is a Country

Pregnant girls are now barred from school in my country Sierra Leone. The government has decided that as schools reopen this week for the first time since the vicious Ebola outbreak that has claimed over 10,000 lives – and plunged our country into fear, lock downs, economic and emotional pain – pregnant girls should simply stay away. Read more...

Youth Leaders: Prioritise Adolescent Health with Resources and Results

Youth leaders— 15 strong— gathered at the UNFPA offices in Kampala to share their recommendations on priorities for inclusion in the updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. Representatives of a wide range of interests from those of the Uganda Young Positives, to the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda to a teenage mother, the youth largely agreed on a need for the Global Strategy to focus on inclusivity – with a concerted effort to include the most vulnerable. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Boys Learning to Take a Stand against Violence in Kenya

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Violence against women is prevalent in Kenya. According to government data from 2008-2009, nearly half of Kenyan who have ever been married have been physically abused by husbands. The same survey showed that over half of women believe that men have the right to beat their wives.

Ujamaa Africa, whose mission is to promote health, personal security and economic empowerment for vulnerable women and children, is trying to change this. The organization is currently running a program called Your Moment of Truth, a project to end violence against girls and women in slums in Nairobi by encouraging adolescent boys to take action. Read more...

How Girl Activists Helped to Ban Child Marriage in Malawi

By: Denise Dunning & Joyce Mkandawire; Originally posted on The Guardian

Malawi has raised the legal marrying age from 15 to 18. A girls’ rights campaigner explains how advocates secured this victory

Malawi banned child marriage last week through new legislation that increases the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18, representing a major victory for girls in a country that has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. More than half of girls are married off as children, sometimes as early as the age of nine. 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: Increasing Access to HIV Medicine with Bicycles

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

When Sizwe Nzima was a high school student in Cape Town, South Africa, he would pick up his grandparents’ HIV medications because they had difficulty getting to the clinic themselves. There were long lines and Mzima usually had to wait several hours and make multiple trips to the clinic to get the medicine. He even tried to bribe the pharmacists to speed up the process, but it didn’t work. This sparked an idea: an HIV medication delivery service.

Nzima did some research on the topic. He found that although some companies were delivering medicine to people’s homes, no one was servicing the city’s low-income neighborhoods – where unemployment is high and most people live in makeshift homes. Nzima contacted the companies to find out why and was told that it was not because the companies were not interested in working in these townships, but because they could not find the houses. 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...

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