News

Updates


Getting Girls in the Game – And What it Can Mean for Development

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver and Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager, Women Deliver; Published by the Center for Global Health and Diplomacy

Girls playing sports is not about winning gold medals. It’s about self-esteem, learning to compete, and learning how hard you have to work in order to achieve your goals.
-Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympian and Former Track and Field World Champion

Right after Nawal El Moutawakel crossed the finish line in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympics, the King of Morocco called to speak with her. Nawal was astonished as the King told her how proud he was.  She indeed made history that day, as the first Moroccan athlete – and the first Muslim female athlete – to win an Olympic gold medal. “As a hurdler, I’m used to jumping barriers,” she told The Olympic Review. “Now these barriers are coming down in other countries because I showed Muslim women a wider horizon.” Read more...

Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development

By: Gary Darmstadt, Sarah Henry and Luca Passerini; Originally posted by Impatient Optimist

Over the last decade the Grand Challenges family of programs has fostered innovation and partnership to address some of the world’s most difficult global health and development challenges for the poor and marginalized.  This week, as part of an exciting evolution at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are launching a new Grand Challenge to more effectively reach and empower the most vulnerable women and girls. Read more...

Gates Highlights Centrality of Girls and Women in Development

In an article today in Science, Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation writes on the need to recognize girls and women as central to development and to systemically address gender inequality. She also discusses the Gates Foundation’s current shortfalls around gender equality and women’s empowerment, and how those areas will be addressed through new initiatives in the coming year. 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...

Let’s Go Deeper into Remote Areas for the Post-2015 Development Goals

By: Mary Mwende, Kenya

The first day of the PMNCH Partners’ Forum was an exciting one. I have listened to all of the sessions with keen interest. The forum is a fountain of knowledge and information, with every sentiment converging at the same point. The unity of thought clamors for one common goal - to create a better and healthier world for mothers and newborns around the world, particularly for those who are most vulnerable and impoverished.

I agree with all of this and hope it will be achieved.

As we discussed during the youth pre-forum yesterday, there is a lot left to achieve when it comes to Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. More young people have to be meaningfully involved to continue making progress. A drive to create change among youth must be led by the young! Regrettably, the most afflicted youth - particularly girls - are seldom involved in these conversations. Read more...

The World’s Biggest Problem: Young People

By: Denise Dunning; Originally posted by Huffington Post

Denise Dunning is the Founder and Executive Director, Let Girls Lead, Champions For Change, and the Youth Champions Initiative

The world seems to keep getting worse -- every day, the news tells us shocking stories of violence, brutality and war. And the truth is, we often blame young people for these seemingly insurmountable challenges. We blame terrorism on the unemployed young men who become radicalized extremists. We blame poverty on the uneducated young women who become pregnant and give birth to babies they can't afford.

If you believe the news, the world's biggest problem is young people. There are currently over 1.8 billion young people in the world, with 88 percent of all adolescents living in poor countries (UNICEF 2012). Too many of these young men and women are uneducated, unemployed, and unable to access basic health services and information.

The world's biggest problem certainly is young people, but not in the way you might think. The world's biggest problem is this -- we as a global community have failed to provide young people with the basic tools and resources they need to thrive, much less create a better world. Read more...

2014 Gates Letter Highlights Women’s Empowerment and Family Planning

The 2014 Annual Letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation effectively highlights common myths about global aid and development, and what areas need to be prioritized to see real progress for the poor and marginalized. In particular, increasing women’s empowerment and their access to contraception are discussed as key interventions that lead to measurable change and a more equitable, sustainable world. 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...

Celebrate Solutions: Guatemalan Girls Advocate for Change

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Girls are powerful agents for change. The global health community has proven time and time again that when girls are healthy, educated and safe, they can move mountains. The Adolescent Girls and Leadership Initiative (AGALI) has demonstrated that girl-centered leadership and advocacy programs work for girls, and for their families and communities. Leveraging these results, AGALI is launching Let Girls Lead, a new film and participatory media initiative that amplifies the power of girls to create their own solutions, tell their own stories, and lead social change around the world. 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...

 

Let Girls Lead

By: Denise Dunning, AGALI; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

Like most girls in war-torn Liberia, 19 year old Oretha Yeagan has lived through more than her share of poverty and violence, dropping out of school in sixth grade when her mother couldn’t pay her school fees. But Oretha was lucky – she went to live in a safe home in Monrovia run by THINK, a Liberia-based NGO focusing on the rights and wellbeing of women and girls. There, she learned tailoring, finished school and now has plans to continue studying and become a computer analyst. Read more...

Girl-centred advocacy could protect 600 million girls from violence

By: Denise Raquel Dunning, AGALI; Originally posted in Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network

At the end of May, 4,500 political leaders and practitioners from 149 countries convened in Malaysia at the Women Deliver conference, which highlighted adolescent girls as the key to advancing the post-2015 development agenda.

Policymakers attending Women Deliver stressed the need to invest in girl-centred advocacy to improve girls' lives and achieve global development goals: "Girls need to be at the centre of the global development agenda. We need both stronger laws to protect girls, and greater political commitment to effective implementation," said the Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Daughters of Sex Workers Pave a New Path Ahead

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Sixteen-year old Aparna Bhola may be young, but she is also a confident, knowledgable teacher to the teenage girls that gather for her sex education class. She is a member of Kranti, an organization based in Nepal and India that provides women rescued from prostitution and their daughters with education and new opportunities. Her mother, Malti, was a sex worker, and often struggled to access medical treatment and better opportunities in the face of violence and discrimination. Malti’s story is not uncommon—in 2009, it was estimated that 3 million women are trafficked through India every year. Read more...

Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield: What Women’s Empowerment Means to Me

By: Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver President: Originally posted on BSR

As part of BSR’s celebration of International Women’s Day during the month of March, we asked BSR partners to contribute a guest blog on their experience with women’s empowerment through their lives and work.

My journey as a women’s health advocate began when I worked in the family planning/reproductive health outpatient clinic of Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. I was 27 at the time, and I met a young Kenyan mother, my exact age, who had already been pregnant 11 times but had only six living children. She came to the clinic for contraceptives but was legally barred from obtaining them without her husband’s permission. Read more...

 

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