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A word’s worth: How storytelling can help the world achieve gender equity

By: Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver

Earlier this week, a small group of journalists, global health advocates, and young people gathered for a conversation between Melinda Gates, Barbara Bush and Katie Couric on how to increase awareness and galvanize action to make society a more just and equitable place for girls and women.

The launch of “Better By Half”— a new online platform to share stories of women serving as agents of change in the world—was the impetus for the conversation. The meeting also served as an opportunity for the public to weigh-in on Gates’ September announcement that gender will now sit at the center of the Foundation’s development work. Read more...

Delivering on the Promise of Multisectoral Collaboration

By: Sharon D'Agostino, Johnson & Johnson; Saundra Pelletier, Woman Care Global; and Katja Iversen, Women Deliver; Originally posted by Devex

No individual, organization or sector can solve major global health and development challenges alone. But how we can work together to improve the health, rights and well-being of women and girls everywhere?

That question was at the center of a recent conversation between Women Deliver CEO Katja Iversen, Woman Care Global CEO Saundra Pelletier and Sharon D’Agostino, vice president of corporate citizenship at Johnson & Johnson. Read more...

All in to Win: Better Business is Everyone’s Business

By: Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver

Here is what we know: traditional business models are becoming obsolete as the global economy grows more complex. In fact, business approaches to philanthropy that center on cash donations or even corporate social responsibility are increasingly viewed as unsustainable. Read more...

Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Convenes Members in Mexico

Global reproductive health practitioners and advocates convened for the 10th annual general membership meeting of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) in Mexico on October 20th-24th.  The RHSC is a global partnership of public, private and non-governmental organizations working to ensure access and use of affordable, high-quality supplies for better reproductive health in low and middle-income countries. Read more....

Assisting developing countries with contraception from Oss

Originally posted by MSD

  • 70 million euro investment in ‘state-of-the-art’ plant
  • ‘Lean’ manufacturing required to meet the demand

Oss, October 8, 2014 – During the past three years, MSD has invested more than 170 million euros in high-quality manufacturing in Oss. Today, the new 'flagship' was officially opened: a state-of-the-art plant costing 70 million euros where MSD can manufacture and package over ten million contraceptive implants per year. The implants are destined for developing countries in Africa and Asia in particular. Read more...

Bayer Supports World Contraception Day to Help Young People Build Awareness for Contraception

Originally posted by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

  • “Framework for Action” plan calls for empowerment of young people through bette raccess, information and education
  •  International survey reveals that 43.8% of young people report having sex with a new partner without using contraception

PRESS RELEASE: Berlin, September 26, 2014 – On the occasion of today’s World Contraception Day (WCD), Bayer supports the publication of the WCD Coalition “Framework for Action” plan calling on individuals, governments and organizations to address the alarming number of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)  worldwide. More than 41% of the 208 million pregnancies that occur globally each year are unplanned. Nearly half of those unplanned pregnancies end in abortion.i An estimated 33 million unintended pregnancies each year are a result of contraceptive failure or incorrect use,ii so it is important that young people are well-informed about the different methods of contraception available.

“Taking Care” of Business: Investing in Girls and Women Makes More Than Cents

By: Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver

Most of us working in the global health and development space know that the world is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focused on girls and women. While many countries have made progress, it’s not enough, and gender inequity remains a grave issue for half the world’s population. As government representatives, corporate executives, and NGO leaders meet in Manhattan for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and CGI annual meeting, the expiration of the MDGs and the questions of what targets will be included on the sustainable development agenda, as well as who will be responsible for hitting those targets, loom large. Read more...

Advancing Access to Youth-Friendly SRH Services and Information

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

By: Martin Wanzala, Allied Youth Initiative (Uganda)

I personally believe that a country’s youth population is one of its greatest assets. However, to harness our young people’s vibrant ideas and potential, we must give them opportunities to leave a lasting impact on our communities and nations.

Young people under the age of 30 account for more than half of the world’s 7 billion people. In Uganda – the second youngest population in the world – more than 78 percent of the population is under the age of 30. The time is now for Uganda to increase investments in its young people.

One of the best ways to ensure that young people can lead healthy and productive lives is improve access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Although the government of Uganda and its development partners support sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programs and policies, there are still not enough services to support widespread need. 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...

The Outreach with Maureen Odour, Tanzania

Orginally posted by Maafanta.com

An interview with Maureen Odour, a Women Deliver Young Leader and Founder of Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment Project

Oumie: Greetings Lady Maureen! It’s indeed an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with a fantastic, extremely brilliant and committed young woman as you. I must admit that I am delighted having you as our guest, especially for this month that we are celebrating International Youth day. It’s an honor to showcase your work in the Outreach. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Maureen: Oumie, I am really honored to be part of the Outreach. I am Maureen Oduor, a development specialist by profession and women and girls reproductive health rights activist. I am Kenyan but work in Tanzania with African Peace Ambassadors Tanzania. I am the regional coordinator of the organization. Also, I am one of Women Deliver’s 100 young leaders working on women and girl’s empowerment.

Oumie: Thank you. Let’s begin with a little bit of history here. We all have our different paths that have motivated us or influenced our involvement in the global women’s movement. Please tell us a little about how your journey began. Read more...

Making Progress Toward a Bangladesh Free From Dowry and Early Marriage

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

By: SM Shaikat, SERAC-Bangladesh

It’s still a nightmare for many girls and women from poor families in Bangladesh to get married without a dowry. Many women whose families fail to comply with dowry demands experience mental and physical abuse – and even death – at the hands of their husbands or in-laws. It is my dream to stop these atrocities and transform Bangladesh into a dowry- and early marriage-free nation.

During my legal studies, I learned that dowries and child marriage are root causes of violence against women – and I immediately realized that I had to do something to put an end to these harmful practices. Armed with little more than determination, I launched awareness campaigns aimed at young people in Bangladesh. Before I knew it, a good number of young people joined the effort. Together we pressured law enforcement agencies, worked with media and advocated with stakeholders to generate attention around our cause. Read more...

Giving Young People a Fighting Chance

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 grew up under difficult circumstances. My three siblings and I were raised by a single mother, my brothers taunted me constantly and I bore witness to the vulnerability of my little sister. From these experiences, I learned how to stand up for and defend myself and speak out against injustices endured by others. I became a firm believer in progressive alternatives to restrictive societal norms, especially those that limit opportunity and equality for women. 

In my home country of Zimbabwe, child marriage is a particularly egregious problem. 1 in 3 girls are married before 18 years of age, and 90 percent of adolescent pregnancies occur among girls who are married or in unions. Taking girls from their families threatens their health and educational development and violates their rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Read more...

WE ARE FRESH – ARE YOU?

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)

Enabling young people is one of the best ways to help a nation flourish. In my country of Uganda, youth make up nearly 80 percent of the population – an enormous wealth of untapped potential. However, poor economic and educational opportunities plague Uganda’s youth, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) has suffered unjustly.

Sex is not openly talked about in Uganda. Ugandans suffer from alarming HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy rates, yet we deprioritize SRH and inhibit access to the youth friendly services that millions across this country desperately need. Often times, the services youth can access are counterproductive to the issues at hand – what good is preaching abstinence to someone already engaged in sex? We need to be promoting proven solutions to help Uganda’s youth live healthier, more productive lives. Read more...
 

Dreaming of a World without Maternal Deaths

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

By: Numfor Alenwi Munteh, Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD)

I dream of a world where every woman can consciously plan and space her pregnancies, and each baby is delivered safely and in good health. However, the reality in many developing countries plays more like a nightmare.

In my home country of Cameroon, nearly 14 percent of deaths among women of reproductive age are due to maternal causes, compared to 1.5 percent in the United States and 0.5 percent in Switzerland. Globally, almost 800 women die every day due to preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Ending maternal deaths will not be easy, but I’ve made it my mission to conquer this challenge. Read more...

2016 Conference

WD C Exchange’s Saundra Pelletier on Empowerment & SRH

Last week, Women Deliver Board Member, C Exchange Member and CEO of WomanCare Global Saundra Pelletier appeared in an interview with Mike Walter on CCTV America, the American branch of CCTV News in China. In the interview segment, Walter and Pelletier discussed the importance of prioritizing sexual and reproductive health, particularly within the broader scope of global development. Read more...

Merck Investigator Studies Program Offers Funds for Medical Research

Merck, a leading research-based healthcare company, is offering funds for academic and community-based medical researchers in a number of areas, including maternal health. In particular, research on pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, post-partum hemorrhage and maternal morbidity is of interest. Researchers based in the United States may apply through this website, and researchers from outside the U.S. should contact their local Merck office. Read more...

Closing the Gap in Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Education

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 dream for the future is to live in a society where young people and other marginalised groups have full access to sexual and reproductive health services irrespective of their age, gender and ethnicity. As a girl growing up in Nigeria, I noticed that it was often difficult for young people – and young girls in particular – to access sexual and reproductive health education and care. It’s a reality I’ve always wanted to change.

In my experience, barriers to information and services were often a result of cultural practises or religious beliefs that undermined the right of women and girls in patriarchal environments. In some cultures, it is a general belief that young girls are expected to maintain self-pity, and therefore any attempt to seek sexual and reproductive health information or services is often considered taboo or unacceptable. I’ve always wondered: why do some cultures allow young boys, but not girls, to express their sexual desires without any reprimand? Read more...

Saving Lives: How Text Messaging Can Improve Access to Family Planning

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

By: Maureen Anyango Oduor, Plan At Hand Girl Empowerment Project (Tanzania)

I have a dream! I dream of a world where young women have information about and can access affordable and youth-friendly family planning services. I imagine family planning services being viewed as precious commodities, penetrating the hardest-to-reach markets effectively and consistently just like ice-cold bottles of Coca-Cola.

When adolescent girls don't have access to information about their sexuality, or to condoms and other contraceptive methods, the impact is intensely personal — an unplanned pregnancy, HIV or sexually-transmitted disease infection, or injury in an unsafe relationship — but the sum of these individual experiences are catastrophic for communities and for countries. Pregnancy-related deaths are a leading cause of mortality for girls aged 15-19 years-old in low-and middle-income countries.

In Tanzania, young people are at an elevated risk of experiencing sexual and reproductive health problems. The adolescent childbearing rates in Tanzania are among the highest in East Africa, where, by no coincidence, young people also have the highest unmet need for contraception. Investing in the health of adolescent girls is not only the right thing to do, but will also have a lasting impact on Tanzania’s economic and social development. Read more...

 

Knowledge is Power: Youth-Led SRH Education for a Brighter Future

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

By: Ajidagba Emman Babatunde (Tunde), Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

As a young advocate from Nigeria, I have seen the numerous challenges that young people experience in my country firsthand.  One of the greatest challenges I see in my country is a growing generation of young people – and the difficulties they face in accessing sexual and reproductive health services and realizing their reproductive rights. But I also see this as an opportunity for positive change.

Right now, most young people in my country have an unmet need for modern contraceptives. In other words, they want to use contraceptives, but are not using them for one reason or another. Socio-cultural barriers to youth-friendly information and care and a lack of government resources are among the biggest barriers to Nigerian youth accessing the sexual and reproductive health services they need. Read more...

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