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Denise Dunning Unlocks Girl Power Through Let Girls Lead

By: Stacy Teicher Khadaroo; Originally posted by The Christian Science Monitor

To help girls stay in school, women and girls in Malawi are taking a stand against child marriages. So far they have persuaded leaders in 22 villages to penalize men who try to marry a woman under age 21. One possible penalty? Taking away some of the man's goats or chickens.

It's the kind of strategy that probably wouldn't have occurred to a US-based nonprofit. But in countries where girls and women bear the brunt of poverty, Let Girls Lead, an Oakland, Calif.-based initiative founded by Denise Dunning, helps them amplify their voices and broaden their hopes, turning small victories into large-scale changes. Read more...

Girls: The World’s Greatest Return on Investment

By Dr. Denise Dunning; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

My mom is from Argentina, and we often spent Christmas holidays there while I was growing up. When I was 12, I was riding on a train with my parents to spend Christmas Eve with family friends living outside of Buenos Aires. The mood on the train was festive – everyone was dressed up and many carried holiday gifts. At a station about 20 minutes outside the city, I saw a teenage girl board the far end of the train. The girl, only a couple years older than me, was carrying a baby and dragging a toddler along behind her. They were ragged and very poor – their faces were streaked with dirt and their clothes were torn. 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...

New Study Shows Access to Information and Services Does Not Lead to Sexual Risk Taking

A new study in Pediatrics has found that young women who are vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) do not participate in riskier sexual behavior as a result. HPV is the most common STI in the United States and the leading cause of cervical cancer. These findings show, again, that providing young people with sexual and reproductive health information and services is not linked to riskier sexual behavior. Read more...

World Economic Forum Event on Investing in Girls

This week, approximately 2,500 global leaders, key decision-makers, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and youth from around the globe have gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Over the next few days, participants will discuss this year’s theme, The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. The meeting presents a tremendous opportunity to shape global policy through advocacy events, such as the United Nations Secretary-General's MDG Advocacy Group event Scaling Up Success: Investing in Girls’ Empowerment for MDG Acceleration. Read more...

CFR Launches Interactive Guide on Child Marriage

Originally posted by Council on Foreign Relations

A new interactive guide from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) examines the threat that child marriage poses both to the prosperity and stability of the countries in which it is prevalent and to U.S. development and foreign policy interests. "Child marriage is linked to poor health, curtailed education, violence, and instability, and perpetuates an intergenerational cycle of poverty that is difficult to break, as the InfoGuide shows," said CFR Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy Rachel B. Vogelstein, formerly director of policy and senior adviser on global women's issues at the U.S. State Department. "Its effects harm not only girls but entire families, communities, and economies—and U.S. interests around the world." Read more...

The Most Inspiring Women and Girls I Met This Year

By: Melinda Gates, Originally posted by Impatient Optimists

Nargis Shirazi, featured in the article below, is one of Women Deliver's 100 Young Leaders selected to attend the Women Deliver 2013 Conference.  
 
One of the things I love about my job is the women and girls I meet as I travel around the world and around the country — from high-ranking government officials to mothers in remote villages in northern India to high school teachers in the Bronx. I'm struck by the common goals and aspirations that they share. They want to create a better future for themselves, their children, and their families. They want to improve their own communities, and also aspire to create change at a national and global scale. Read more...

 

 

Start 2014 In The ‘Rights’ Direction

By: Tyler LePard, Catapult; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Girls and women are disproportionately more affected than men by armed conflict, sexual violence, injury, death, intimidation, and human trafficking. Yet less than 7.5 percent of private foundation funding goes towards girls and women's rights, and two years ago one in four of women's organizations were in danger of closing.

That's why we started Catapult, the first crowdfunding platform dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women around the world. We aim to make a real difference and to use the power of the internet to connect people who care about justice with trusted organizations that are working issues like reproductive rights, child marriage, and girls education, and desperately need financial support. 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...

Celebrate Solutions: For Young Female Asylum Seekers, Hope for the Future

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Around the world, there are 15.4 million people who have fled from their country for fear of persecution or because they are fleeing a dangerous conflict zone. Of these, almost half are children. For many of these children arriving with no one watching over them, a new place means new dangers of being exploited or trafficked. In the United Kingdom, The Global Fund for Children is helping young female asylum-seekers to avoid this fate through a 12-week training program. Read more...

A Teen Girl’s Secret to Finding Real Power? Fix Something That’s Broken

By: Denise Restauri; Originally posted on Forbes

Elba Graciela Velásquez Hernández is a 16-year-old indigenous girl activist from Guatemala. The oldest of six children and proud daughter of Dario and Olivia, Elba is from Concepción Chiquirichapa, a small Maya Mam community in the country’s Western Highlands. She plans on studying law and becoming a lawyer and journalist. Her dream for the future is a world with better opportunities for adolescent girls, one where girls become respected leaders in their communities. Elba is a leader in Let Girls Lead’s girls’ empowerment program and a star of the upcoming short film ¡PODER!, which tells the story of how she and her friends convinced their town to stop discriminating against girls and start supporting girls’ education, health, and empowerment. The word poder has a double meaning, both “power” and “ability.” Read more...

The Right to Be a Girl: Moving From Rhetoric to Reality

By: Purnima Mane, Pathfinder International; Originally posted on Huffington Post

2013 has been an exciting year for girls. The rallying cry for girls' education, ending early marriage and pregnancies, and preventing gender-based violence is resonating with a more global and diverse audience than ever before. In May, the global health community convened at the Women Deliver conference around the central message that investing in women and girls is not only an important investment, but a smart one.In July, Malala—the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes—addressed the United Nations with an impassioned call to action in support of girls' education, "Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons." Read more...

On the International Day of the Girl, a Reminder to Let Girls Lead

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Today marks the second-ever International Day of the Girl, a call to action for the rights of girls worldwide. This year’s theme, “Innovating for Girls’ Education”, is representative of current global development needs, all of which center around girls’ access to education. When girls are educated, they are less likely to become child brides, less likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth, less likely to be infected with HIV, and more likely to have healthy children and long, empowered lives. Simply put, educating girls is a win for the entire world. Read more...

Experiencing the Clinton Global Initiative: Committed to Sustainable Change

By: Saundra Pelletier; Originally posted on Huffington Post

We have all attended conferences knowing that 10% will be substantive and 90% will be superfluous. CGI is not that conference. The substance of the program is unparalleled. Each of the main speakers is a well-developed leader in an area of global change and is strategically selected to provoke ideas and facilitate thoughtful exchange. And, as a result, this meeting left many of us realizing that sustainable change ABSOLUTELY requires total commitment and dedication. Not only do we all need to be better global citizens, but we must constantly recruit others to join us on the journey. 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...

Women’s Equality Day: Mobilizing the Women of the World

By: Saundra Pelletier, WomanCare Global; Originally posted on Huffington Post

What does investing in women and in their ability to advocate for themselves mean for the world? In Caribou, Maine, where I'm from, girls had two choices when they were growing up - who they would marry and how many children they would have. There were many "invisible women" who lacked access to resources, powerful female role models and, above all, choice. My mother encouraged me to advocate for myself and for those who felt invisible. As the CEO of WomanCare Global, a non-profit women's health company focused on delivering high-quality healthcare products, I believe that empowering women by ensuring their reproductive choice is critical for women who simply want to provide a better quality of life for their children and ultimately, themselves. On a global scale, an investment in female empowerment ensures healthier, wealthier and better educated communities. Read more...

 

Celebrate Solutions: Clinical Skills Trainings in India

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

With support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jhpiego recently trained more than 170 nurses, paramedics, and other health providers on how to improve their quality of care provided to pregnant women, mothers and infants, and women experiencing complications in pregnancy and childbirth in India’s second-most-populate state, Maharashtra. Read more...

Vocational Training for Young Women: What Works and What Doesn’t

By: Denise Dunning, Agali; Originally posted in The Guardian

Vocational training enables adolescent girls to earn an income and build crucial life skills. But programmes must also engage the private sector to be successful.

Girls, more than women or boys, lack access to financial capital and have limited opportunities to gain education, knowledge, and skills that can lead to economic advancement. Inadequate policy frameworks and inequitable gender norms also often create barriers to girls' economic advancement. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Black Girls Code Brings the Power of Technology to Girls Worldwide

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Kimberly Bryant started Black Girls Code (BGC) in 2011 as a way to help her then 12-year old daughter learn about computer programming. In an interview with siliconrepublic, Bryant said, “I was looking for opportunities for her to grow and find out what her own interests and passions were around technology.” In the years since, BGC has developed a comprehensive programming and technology curriculum for girls aged 7-17 who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. BGC has trained nearly 2,000 girls, and recently opened an international chapter in South Africa. Read more...

Help Malala’s Birthday Wish Come True: Support Her Fight for Education

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

On their 16th birthday, many girls around the world hope for new clothes or a cell phone. Tomorrow, when Malala Yousafzai celebrates her 16th birthday, her wish will not be small or simple, but it will have the potential to change the world. She will speak at the United Nations in support of the 57 million boys and girls who do not yet have access to education, asking that the global Education Emergency be put to an end. Read more...

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