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Former Women Deliver Co-Chair Appointed to Tanzania Cabinet

This week, the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, announced the appointment of Saada Mkuya as Finance Minister and Asha-rose Migiro as Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. These appointments of two women to powerful government positions are seen as part of an ongoing effort to promote gender equality within Tanzania. Migiro was named Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, making her the first woman in Tanzania to hold this position. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Zambia and Uganda Reduce Maternal Mortality by One Third in One Year

by: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Maternal mortality is regarded as an indicator of the overall functioning of health systems. That’s to say that when women are to dying in pregnancy and childbirth, it’s crucial to look at how services are delivered. The year one evaluation of Saving Mothers, Giving Life reveals a significant reduction in number of women dying in pregnancy & childbirth due to the a focus on services delivered at these critical points: labor, delivery, and the first 48 hours postpartum. Read more...

An Open Letter to Africa’s Leaders

By: Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique; Originally posted on The Africa Report

H. E. Joaquim Chissano is the former President of Mozambique and current co-chair of the High-Level Task Force for the ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development)

This is a transformative moment for Africa – and indeed, for the world. Decision-makers from across the continent, under the able leadership of Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are finalising a crucial document outlining a common position for Africa on the development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015. Since the 1990s, Africa has gained considerable strength in international negotiations by sticking together and forging consensus on important issues. It is a strategy that has empowered us in many ways. And it means that our voices will be heard when the framework that will guide governments, donors and development partners for years to come is negotiated. So we need to be careful what we ask for. Read more...

Mind the Gap: Engaging Young Men and Boys in Getting to Zero

By: Remmy Shawa, Sonke Gender Justice and Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver; Originally posted by FHI 360

Throughout the session rooms of this 17th ICASA, it’s clear that gender inequality is a key driver of HIV in Africa. Gender-based violence, harmful practices against girls (like child marriage and female genital cutting) and violence against women in key affected populations all increase risk for HIV infection. In addition, HIV risk is closely connected to stigma, discrimination and blame for women, particularly women living with HIV and women who experience violence. But how can the HIV response encourage men to challenge gender inequality to get to Zero? Read more...

African Ministers of Health and Education Commit to End Child Marriage by 2020

By: Yemurai Nyoni, WD 100 Young Leader and Youth SRHR Advocate; Originally posted by FHI 360

Ministers of Health and Education from 21 countries in the East and Southern African region have committed to end child marriage as part of a broader commitment to ensure comprehensive sexuality education for young people in the region by 2015. The commitment was endorsed on the 7th of December 2013 during the on-going 17th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa and is titled the ‘Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African (ESA). Read more...

World AIDS Day: Sexual Health an Uphill Struggle for Women in Rural Zimbabwe

By: Hazvinei Mwanaka, Key Correspondents

World AIDS Day is December 1st

Ester Lorence lives deep in rural Zimbabwe and when she was diagnosed with HIV she knew little about the disease. This story is not uncommon as many young women not only struggle to negotiate safer sex but often don’t even realise the risks they are taking.  Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Maasai Girls Through Education

By: Rati Bishnoi, Catapult

Located in the Trans Mara district of Kenya, the Kakenya Center for Excellence is a primary boarding school focused on serving the most vulnerable underprivileged Maasai girls. The academy provides girls a space for academic excellence, female empowerment, leadership, and community development. This summer—through a fundraising campaign on Catapult.org—the Kakenya Center for Excellence was able to raise funds to provide uniforms, foods, books and supplies, and personal items for 30 students and support a teacher's salary. Read more...

Women Living with HIV Struggle to Access Family Planning Services

By: Nina Kouassi, Key Correspondant; International Treatment Prepardness Coalition

One year on from the launch of the Ivory Coast’s national plan to provide family planning services to all women in the country there is much progress, but more than 50% of women still lack access to vital services.In the Ivory Coast, the fertility rate is estimated to be four births per woman and in 2010 only 12% of women of childbearing age used family planning services. Preventing unplanned pregnancy among HIV-positive women through family planning services is one of the four pillars of a comprehensive program for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (the others being prevention of HIV in women, prevention of HIV parental transmission, and provision of care and support for HIV-positive women, their infants and families). Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Girls, Period

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kenya, young women aged 15-24 are four times more likely to contract HIV then young men their age. Education has the power to turn these statistics around. Research by The Global Campaign for Education suggests that if children receive comprehensive primary education, around 700,000 cases of HIV in young adults could be prevented each year. Yet many young girls in Kenya have been forced to miss school while menstruating, often because they aren’t able to afford hygienic sanitary pads. Since 2008, Huru International has been working to change this. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Preparing Girls for Political Leadership in Kenya

By: Atieno Oduor, iGLOW

Girls Leading Our World Initiatives (iGLOW) is a grassroots Kenyan NGO dedicated to advancing the personal, professional and political leadership of young girls and women in Kenya. It is run by a group of dynamic young Kenyan women, and its mission is to broaden the horizon of possibilities for young women in underprivileged regions of Kenya and to advance the next generation of Kenyan leaders. Read more...

High-Level Task Force for ICPD Calls on African Leaders for Gender Equality

Originally posted by the High-Level Task Force for ICPD

Today, the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) launched its policy recommendations in Africa, calling on the region’s top decision-makers to step up political will and investments for advancing gender equality, the  empowerment of women and young people, and sexual and reproductive health and rights – fundamental human rights issues and also critical for the sustainable development of the region. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bridging Sustainability and Family Planning for a Brighter Future

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

The East Africa Population, Health and Environment (PHE) network was founded on the belief that integrated issues require an integrated approach. Women are drivers of change, and their ability to choose if and when to have children has a profound effect on population growth and resilience to climate change. In Ethiopia, PHE is working to bring essential family planning and HIV services, along with materials for natural resource conservation and food source diversification. Now, family planning usage rates have skyrocketed and hundreds of households are using energy-saving stoves. Read more...

A Fistula-Free Generation Is Possible

By: Pamela Barnes and Dr. Joseph Ruminjo; Originally posted on Huffington Post

We are thrilled to be in Uganda to recognize the achievements of EngenderHealth's Fistula Care project, the largest U.S. government-funded initiative to treat and prevent obstetric fistula in more than 10 countries throughout Africa and Asia. We are here with our incredible partners -- government officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, doctors, community health providers and hospital administrators -- to share lessons learned and chart the way forward toward achieving a fistula-free generation. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Integration Improves HIV and Family Planning Efforts

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

In the largest evaluation of different methods of HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) integration to-date, results have shown clear success, particularly in Africa. The five-year project, called The Integra Initiative, is managed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Population Council and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions:  Empowering Women Living with Fistula

By: Alyssa Tartaglione, Catapult

EngenderHealth, a leading global women’s health organization, has a proven track record working to repair fistula, having supported the provision of more than 25,000 surgeries in the last decade. But their work goes far beyond just providing this vital surgery. Read more...

Despite Newly Free Deliveries in Kenya, Some Mothers Opt for Traditional Birth Attendants

By: Mary Wairimu, Kenya News Desk; Originally posted on Global Press Institute

Although many mothers are taking advantage of newly free delivery services in Kenya’s public hospitals, some women still prefer traditional birth attendants. The government waived fees to lower the maternal mortality rate, as one in 55 women can currently expect to die from pregnancy-related causes in Kenya. Traditional birth attendants resent the government’s interference, which they say endangers their businesses. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Save a Mother, Save a Child

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

At Women Deliver, we believe that healthy mothers are the key to healthy families and communities. A recent study in rural Malawi proves this to be the case. Evaluations of a five-year program found that improving maternal health care reduced newborn mortality by 30% and saved at least 1,000 newborn lives. Read more...

An Africa Fit for Women and Girls

By: Yemurai Nyoni, Women Deliver 100 Young Leader; Originally posted on allAfrica

I believe in an Africa that is fit for women and girls; that protects their well-being and creates a supportive environment for them to realise their aspirations. As I look at the work done by African states in pursuit of gender equality, I am convinced that the continent is either on course for another dismal episode in the empowerment of women, or it's on the brink of a women's rights revolution.

The failure of African leadership in safeguarding the rights of women thus far has resulted in a sad state of affairs, where being a young African woman is perhaps the most perilous form of identity in the continent. Read more...

A Revolution from the Ground Up

By: Deborah Espinosa, Landesa; Originally posted on Landesa Field Focus Blog
 
Women in Ol Pusimoru, Kenya have much to celebrate today – but it hasn’t been an easy journey.
 
Back in 2010, Kenya adopted a revolutionary new constitution that offered women unprecedented protections and freedoms – including equal rights to land and family resources. Read more...

Global Leaders Call for Accelerated Progress on Family Planning at Women Deliver 2013

Melinda Gates, Babatunde Osotimehin and others highlight progress in expanding contraceptive access

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29 May 2013 – On the second day of Women Deliver 2013, the largest conference on girls and women of the decade, global leaders announced progress and new commitments toward expanding contraceptive access for women in developing countries. They also outlined plans for sustaining this momentum in the years to come. Read more...

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