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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...

Celebrate Solutions: How Reducing Social Isolation Can Also Reduce the Risk of HIV Infection

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Despite years of investment and progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the disease remains the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 in Ethiopia. In addition, adolescent girls remain disproportionately at risk of infection. The Population Council’s Biruh Tesfa project is seeking to change this by taking a “whole girl” approach to addressing HIV infection – social isolation, economic insecurity, poor access to services, and sexual and gender-based violence. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Sisterhood in Girls’ Education

By: Melissa Hattab, Women Deliver

Sadhana is one of five sisters, living in a remote village in Maharashtra, India. Like many others, they were born to parents who felt that girls were a burden and who were therefore indifferent to them. We discovered her story hidden in the New York Times as an opinion piece. It was written by Priyanka Chopra, known globally as a prominent Indian actor but by her own preferred definition, a UNICEF ambassador devoted to promoting child rights. Read more...

Most Girls In Her Village Don’t Finish Elementary School. Maureen Graduated From College.

By: Women Deliver and Maureen Oduor

Women Deliver eagerly celebrates the gradtion of one of our Young Leaders, Maureen Oduor, who received her Bachelors degree Kampala International University in December. Rather than shining the spotlight on herself, Maureen took the opportunity to use her graduation celebration as a platform to bring local and international light to the issue of education accessibility and the need for girls’ access to schooling. This is her story. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Finding the Beauty in Education

By: Melissa Hattab, Women Deliver

Every girl deserves an education, and one major American magazine is joining the global campaign to prioritize the education of at-risk girls all over the world. Glamour magazine has collaborated with four nonprofits to raise money for girls to help them attend secondary school.

Cindi Leive, Glamour’s editor in chief, said that the magazine started The Girl Project in part because of recent world events, including the girls kidnapped from their school in Nigeria and the many schools damaged in Gaza. Read more..

Celebrate Solutions: GAP Inc. P.A.C.E. Program Drives Female Garment Workers’ Success at Work, Home

By: Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver

Sujatha, a young garment worker from South East Asia, was struggling to care for her family while working as a low-level garment worker. Without access to education or professional training, she had little hope for a better future. Sujatha’s situation dramatically changed whenshe joined Gap Inc.’s Personal Advancement, Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) workplace education program. Today, Sujatha is a supervisor at a Gap Inc. source factory, a role model for her family and community, and living proof that that the benefits of corporate investments to improve the world for women ripple across society and business. Read more...

For Girls, Success Starts with Safe Schools

By: Katja Iversen, Women Deliver; Originally posted by Thomson Reuters Foundation

When I think back to my schooldays, the memories are mostly bright and fond: learning, laughter, friends and play – and the occasional quarrel and teenage tension that come with being a child and growing up.

Most people remember their schooldays fondly, but for too many children the reality is very different. We see bullying; we see fighting; we see sexual assaults. Every year, millions of children, particularly girls, experience physical and/or sexual violence at or on their way to school. Sadly, it is most often teachers, peers, neighbors, and even friends who are the perpetrators. 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...

The Power of Peer Education

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

By: Humphrey Nabimanya, Reach a Hand Uganda

From a survey that we at RAHU conducted last year, nearly 85% of young people, ages 15-24, think that there is a need for them to whether freely access information on sexual and reproductive health. Young people face issues like unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and cross-generational sex and, therefore, require full access to sexual and reproductive health information and services to protect themselves.

In January 2014, we started the first ever Peer Education Academy in Uganda - a unique initiative to empower young people with life development skills, self-awareness skills, and sexual reproductive health and rights information. Through this program, we trained 50 young people (23 female and 27 male) in peer education; counseling and guidance; sexual and reproductive health and rights; drug, alcohol, and substance use; and integration of social media and sexuality education. Read more...

When Challenges Turn Into Highlights

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)

Although I faced some difficulties in implementing my project, there were also some highlights. The first was the reception of the SMS services. The text messaging campaign was the first of its kind on campus and the students were excited about it and really wished it could continue. We also had a positive reaction to the educational and informative pamphlet we produced. We have been getting positive feedback since we started distribution and it has been very encouraging.

Another highlight of my project initially started out as a challenge. When my project site at Obafemi Awolowo University was forced to close down due to strikes, we had to look for another school to continue. Just as my project was set to come to a close, the school re-opened and the HIV counseling and testing services and Campus Health Forum were brought back to the school. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Youth as Agents of Change in Sierra Leone

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Every 10 minutes, an adolescent girl dies from violence somewhere in the world, according to a new UNICEF report. Think about that for a moment—in the timespan of an 8 hour workday, forty-eight girls will have died as a result of violence. And many more will suffer from the violence they face day after day, minute after minute. We may never truly know the exact number, due to the shame, stigma and sometimes dangerous repercussions girls face when they attempt to speak out. Read more...

Creating an Enabling Environment for Youth to Access SRHR Information and Services

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

By: Humphrey Nabimanya, Reach a Hand Uganda

According to statistics from the Uganda Demographic and health survey, the teenage pregnancy rate stands at 24%.  This means one in four teenage girls is pregnant or has had a child. Due the negative attitudes towards sexuality education in schools from School Management and Governance Boards, young people have limited access to accurate information and youth-friendly services while in school. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Ghanian Girl Soccer Stars Change the Playing Field

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

When Eunice, Christiana, Francesca and Rose first joined the Plan International-sponsored soccer team for girls in their village in Ghana, they never expected that they’d one day be playing for the National Women’s Soccer Team. The soccer team requires players to be enrolled in school and provides leadership and life skills taining. Since the team was started in 2008, dropout rates for girls in the area have dropped by 80-90%. 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...

Girls and Women Need Access to Education and #SRHR to Become Fully Empowered

New impact evaluation (IE) briefs released by the World Bank Group (WBG) highlight the best global strategies to empower girls and women in the world today. Published on August 11th in anticipation of International Youth Day on August 12th, the briefs shed light on interventions tackling current social issues young people, especially girls and young women, face, and showcase what works best to empower them.

The IEs support WBG’s twin corporate goals that aim to educate, empower and employ today’s generation of young people, the largest ever in decades. The briefs, also accessible through enGENDER IMPACT,   echo multiple approaches and strategies in addressing three critical social issues: ensuring access to education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and ending child marriages.

According to the WBG, the IEs take a deeper independent analysis of each of these social issues, giving recommendations on what works best in all the intervention areas. Below are excerpts from the IEs: 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...

Young People: Our Present and Our Future

By: Katja Iversen, Women Deliver

Nelson Mandela once said: "Whenever I am with young people, I feel like a recharged battery." I couldn't agree more, after having spent the last couple of days with a good bunch of the Women Deliver Young Leaders at the Partnership on Maternal, Child and Newborn Health (PMNCH) Partners' Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

When young people tell me what motivated them to advocate for girls' and women's health and rights, their stories are at once heartbreaking and inspiring. For Yemurai Nyoni in Zimbabwe, it was a 12-year-old girl named Tecla who was sold into marriage and contracted HIV. For Mary Mwende in Kenya, it was the violence of male-dominated politics that she witnessed as a child in the slums of Mombasa. When faced with injustice, these young leaders took action to improve the world around them -- and their stories, in turn, inspire others. 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...

FRESH - Fully and Richly Empowered about Sexual Health

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)

“I cannot use a condom. Condoms cause cancer in the long run. I prefer to go live!”

I gasped when one of my acquaintances said this. I know the picture you have in your head… a rural girl with unkempt hair and dirty nails who had dropped out of school. Well that’s not quite it – let me paint the picture. These words came from an intelligent lawyer who has been practicing for more than three years. She wears high heels, speaks with confidence and is currently working toward her master’s degree. That myth was actually embedded in the mind of what society would call “a learned individual!” Read more...
 

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