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Celebrate Solutions: “Dropping the Knife” Celebrations as Alternatives to FGM in The Gambia

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Bat mitzvah. Sweet sixteen. Quinceañera. Russefeiring. Ceremonies to celebrate rites of passage are often an energetic party, defining a coming of age moment and cultivating a sense of hope for the future. These celebrations also often serve as a marker of maturity and preparedness for the “real world.”

Yet for millions of girls, their rite of passage includes a serious violation of their basic human rights through female genital mutilation (FGM). Current trends suggest that at least 30 million girls will be at risk for FGM over the next decade. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM, with 92 million over the age of 10 and residing on the African continent. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Magic Bus Transports Youth Out of Poverty

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Shazia Malik grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Delhi, India, with little hope for her future. When Magic Bus arrived in her community, Shazia was excited to engage in its sports-based activities. Soon, she became a volunteer and led weekly training sessions in handball and football. “I enjoyed it,” . “I could play and also it made me feel like I was capable of something.” In 2011, she was offered a paid job as a Youth Mentor. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Using Mobile Phones to Combat Healthcare Inequality Worldwide

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Supporting medicine and public health using mobile technology, also known as mHealth, is changing the landscape of healthcare service delivery in the world today. It is transforming lives of both health workers and communities by bringing technology to hard to reach areas.

Many health advocates, public health practitioners, social enterprises and civil society organisations have created mHealth solutions and implemented them in various parts of the world. Medic Mobile, a social entrerprise, is one such organization that is creating mobile tools and innovations to improve health and lives of people in rural areas worldwide since 2009. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: A True Story of A Child Bride from New York

By: Tyler LePard; Catapult

This year, 14 million girls – some as young as eight years old – will be married against their will, often to men decades older than themselves. Some girls are so young that they hold on to their toys during the wedding ceremony. The recent death of an eight year old Yemeni girl on her wedding night from internal bleeding, after a forced marriage to a man five times her age has caused a global outcry and re-energized commitment to ending this horrific human rights abuse. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Creating Education Opportunities for Girls in South Sudan

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Despite the recent atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan over the last two decades, the VAD Foundation and the Marial Bai Secondary School (MBSS) have only become more committed to their mission of educating Sudanese young people, particularly girls.

Between 1983 and 2005, the turmoil of the civil war in Sudan killed two and a half million people and displaced nearly six million more. South Sudan gained independence in 2011, but faced a new wave of violence in December 2013. Due to this resurgence of fighting, many government agencies, aid organizations, and international companies have left the country for security reasons. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bicycles as Vehicles for Change in Zambia

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Fifteen year-old Ethel used to walk more than two hours every day from her home in rural Zambia to reach her school. Last year, she received a bike from World Bicycle Relief that shortens her commute down to 45 minutes, allowing her more time and energy to learn and manage her many responsibilities. “When I received my bicycle, I was so excited,” Ethel told World Bicycle Relief. “Now I would have time to study, travel comfortably to school, and still help with chores... this bicycle has changed my life.” Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Reaching Some of China’s Most Vulnerable Young People

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Young people around the world often face barriers in accessing comprehensive, age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information and services. That is why PATH and the China Family Planning Association implemented a comprehensive program to meet the needs and improve the health of China’s young people. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The ABC’s of Basic Integrated Health Care in Nigeria

By: Lindsay Menard Freeman, Women Deliver

Affordable, universal, and high-quality health care saves lives, saves time, and saves money. The Access to Basic Medical Care (ABC) program in Oyo State, Nigeria ensures free healthcare for residents from any of the 33 Local Government Councils of Oyo State. Every resident has a fundamental right to high quality and effective healthcare, and the ABC program is designed to extend basic healthcare solutions to the masses. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Providing Life-Changing Surgeries for Fistula Patients

By: Isabel Garcia, Catapult

Obstetric fistula—a hole in the birth canal resulting from prolonged or obstructed childbirth—is a preventable condition that leaves up to 100,000 girls and women each year, with life-long incontinence. As a result of the stigma associated with the condition, women living with fistula are often isolated, neglected or abandoned by family and community, and left to rely on the charity and mercy of others. The Tamale Fistula Centre in northern Ghana, which is supported by UNFPA, provides life-changing surgeries for girls and women facing this condition. Through Catapult, they raised the funds needed to provide 136 gynecological surgeries in 2013, 81 of which were fistula repair surgeries. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Scoring Big for Mothers and Babies in Malawi

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with one in 36 pregnant women dying from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Many of these women die from hemorrhage, one of the leading causes of maternal death worldwide. An increase in blood supply, especially at rural health clinics, has the potential to save the life of a mother experiencing hemorrhaging. In an innovative push to save lives, the Silver Strikers Football Club partnered with MamaYe Malawi and Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) earlier this month to organize a football match and blood drive to raise awareness and to collect 59 units of blood for health clinics.

Celebrate Solutions: Family Planning Messages Provided in Barber Shops and Beauty Salons in Liberia

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Since 2009, Jhpiego and USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) have been working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to increase access to family planning information and services in Liberia. According to the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey, adolescent pregnancy continues to be a major problem, with approximately one-third of Liberian girls having begun childbearing between the ages of 15 and 19. Jhpiego and MCHIP have developed key strategies for increasing awareness and knowledge of family planning by distributing condoms in the community, engaging religious leaders to promote family planning, and integrating family planning with immunization services. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Emergency Relief in the Philippines

By: Tyler LePard, Catapult

Super Typhoon Haiyan left many children in the Philippines without protection, food or clean water. The city hardest hit by the storm was Tacloban, where 11-year-old Marie lives. She remembered, “It was horrifying; I thought I was going to die. Half of our rooftop went flying.” Fortunately, the Catapult community and Johnson & Johnson funded SOS Children’s Villages to provide emergency relief for families in the Philippines and help them recover from Haiyan. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: WASH Helps Girls Learn in Zambia

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

There is a clear link between a girl’s access to quality education and her ability to live a healthier, more productive life. We also know that one of the major reasons why girls drop out of school is that they lack of access to sanitary facilities and supplies. Without access to basic menstrual supplies and sanitation, girls’ health and educational opportunities are marginalized. The long-term consequences of this preventable reality for girls create a ripple effect among their communities and, collectively, the global economy. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Community Well Brings Access to Clean Water

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

For some of us, accessing clean water means a short walk to the faucet. Yet in many parts of the world, such as the Tigray region of Ethiopia, girls and women are tasked with walking hours, sometimes through unsafe terrain, to collect water from polluted rivers. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Access to Contraceptive Implants Increased Nine-Fold in Some African Countries

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Between 2008 and 2012, Marie Stopes International (MSI) provided 1.7 million contraceptive implants in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a Global Health: Science and Practice article published last month. The organization’s success is based on a mix of mobile outreach, social franchising, and clinic-based service provision. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: CUBS Project Empowering Women in Nigeria

By Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Nigeria’s population of people living with HIV/AIDS accounts for about four million of a global total of 40 million, which makes it the nation with the second largest population of people living with HIV/AIDS after South Africa. As a result, many orphans have been left homeless, without any financial support for basic needs like education. With support from PEPFAR, USAID in partnership with Management Health Sciences (MHS) and Africare is implementing the Community-Based Support for OVC Project (CUBS). The project aims at improving the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in 11 Nigerian states by integrating a currently fragmented OVC service delivery system, mobilizing community support, and raising awareness of the issues and needs of OVCs. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Role-playing Workshops Turn Adolescent Indian Girls Into Leaders

By: Pratik Phadkule, Michael Matheke-Fischer and Casey Mixter, Real Medicine Foundation

Girls in rural India are given little information about the physical, emotional, and social changes that go along with puberty and adolescence, yet proper education and guidance during this developmental phase has critical implications that affect individuals, families and entire communities; Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) has developed a series of workshops to empower adolescent Indian girls and turn them into community leaders, breaking the cycle of poverty and establishing a model for women’s rights in India. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: OBGYNs Improving Maternal & Infant Health in Ethiopia

By: Madeline Taskier, University of Michigan, Global Initiatives

In Ethiopia, women are 200 times more at risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes than women in developed countries. Almost a third of all maternal death and morbidity in Ethiopia is caused by unsafe abortion procedures., and the country has a strikingly high health workforce shortage. Due in part to these factors, Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Education Opportunities for Girls in Rural Honduras

By: Katia Gomez, Executive Director, Educate2Envision

According to UNESCO, only 28% of rural youth 15-25 years have completed a secondary school education compared with 60% of those from urban areas in Honduras. This truth is complicated by the fact that more than half of the secondary school age population resides in rural areas.

Aside from the average four hour walk round trip to reach the nearest secondary school and the total cost incurred by households to send their children to class equipped with all necessary supplies, the lack of opportunity for young people to gain practical leadership skills and play a direct role in developing their communities is a critical barrier to confronting generational poverty. This holds true especially for girls who must break free of the gender norms that are perpetuated daily in their isolated surroundings. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions:  Peer Educator Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening in Mozambique

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in developing countries. In 2009, the government of Mozambique launched the first ever national cervical cancer program, offering screening and treatment as part of reproductive health services. With support from USAID, and working closely with Jhpiego and local partners, the program has increased the number of women accessing screening facilities. Nostina Ngomane, a 43-year-old widowed mother of two, is one of the program’s beneficiaries. Persuaded to get screened through a cancer awareness presentation at a church gathering, Ngomane has taken on the role of a peer educator and is now working directly with screening sites supported by USAID’s global Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP). Working to raise awareness, Ngomane reaches out to other women and talks to them about cervical and breast cancer, HIV, and family planning. Read More...

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