Ending Motherhood in Childhood

By: Lynn ElHarake, Council on Foreign Relations; Originally posted by Council on Foreign Relations

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Lynn ElHarake, research associate for CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program. Here she discusses how motherhood in childhood undermines economic growth, health, gender equality, and development.

Last month, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) published a report on the tragic consequences of unplanned adolescent pregnancies around the world. The report, Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy, begins with a sober introduction by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. He writes, “When a girl becomes pregnant, her present and future change radically, and rarely for the better. Her education may end, her job prospects evaporate, and her vulnerabilities to poverty, exclusion and dependency multiply.” Read more...

Countries with Greatest Family Planning Needs Lead Progress to Expand Access to Contraceptives

Originally posted at FP2020

At global conference, five more nations announce landmark family planning pledges to improve health and drive economic development

FP2020 partnership establishes new measurement and evaluation framework to monitor and guide progress on extending contraceptive access to 120 million more women and girls by 2020

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, 13 November 2013 – Countries that have the greatest needs for family planning are at the forefront of global progress to expand access to contraceptive information, services and supplies according to a new progress report released by Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) at the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). Also at the conference, five governments – Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mauritania and Myanmar – announced major new national family planning pledges. Read more...

Reaching Most Vulnerable Young People With Family Planning and HIV Services

By: David J. Olson, Global development communications expert; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Ethiopia -- where international advocates will open their biennial International Conference on Family Planning on Nov. 12 -- has succeeded in bringing down the unmet need for family planning from 36.6 percent of currently married women 15-49 in 2000 to 26.3 percent in 2011. But the unmet need is greatest among those aged 15 to 19. In that age range, almost one-third want contraception and cannot get it. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Pakistani Midwives Provide Postpartum Family Planning Services

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

A new initiative, led by Jhpiego and funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, is providing counseling to women about postpartum family planning methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies and space births to improve the health of the mother and child. The program has trained 425 maternal health care providers of different skill levels across 21 facilities about postpartum family planning methods, including the postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD). It has also included input from district managers from the Government of Pakistan’s health and population departments and has taught them how to provide appropriate and supportive supervision to health facility staff. Read more...

Global Citizen Festival Calls for Women’s Equality

By: Janna Oberdorf, Women Deliver

On Saturday, September 28th, more than 60,000 people will come together at a musical festival on the Great Lawn in Central Park, New York City, to focus on one goal – to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The Global Citizen Festival, which will feature musical performances by John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, and Stevie Wonder, gives “Global Citizens” the opportunity to join a movement of people who together are creating a world without extreme poverty. By taking action on, citizens from around the world can earn points to enter a chance to win passes to the festival.

The focus of the Festival this year will not only be on global poverty, but on accelerating progress on the issues of health, education, women’s equality, and global partnerships. Coinciding with the UN General Assembly, the Festival serves as an important platform for citizens to come together and raise their voices for change in a moment when critical leaders are gathered together. Read more...

The Everyday Heroes

By: Pamela Barnes; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Did you know that today is World Contraception Day? Many articles in your newsfeed today will likely call attention to the fact that despite ongoing advances in global reproductive health, there are still 220 million women around the world who want to avoid or postpone pregnancy but who lack access to modern contraception. World Contraception Day shines light on the urgent need for family planning and how best to get it into the hands of the women who need it most. A crucial but often forgotten link is the health care provider. When I think about World Contraception Day, I'm reminded that at some point in our lives, all of us need access to reproductive health information. Who gave you the information you wanted and needed? I would like to introduce to you to Nurse Peace Ametsitsi, an everyday hero whom I met while I was in Ghana. Peace helps women at the Koforidua Polyclinic in Eastern Ghana -- up to 50 a day -- find peace of mind in their lives. This post is dedicated to Peace, and to all health care providers whose guidance puts us on a healthy path. Read more...

World Contraception Day Tweetchat

This year on World Contraception Day, we raised our voices for the 222 million women worldwide with an unmet need for contraceptives. World Contraception Day is held each year to advocate for a world where every pregnancy is wanted, and to empower young people to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bridging Sustainability and Family Planning for a Brighter Future

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

The East Africa Population, Health and Environment (PHE) network was founded on the belief that integrated issues require an integrated approach. Women are drivers of change, and their ability to choose if and when to have children has a profound effect on population growth and resilience to climate change. In Ethiopia, PHE is working to bring essential family planning and HIV services, along with materials for natural resource conservation and food source diversification. Now, family planning usage rates have skyrocketed and hundreds of households are using energy-saving stoves. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Women in Zambia are Fighting Gender Discrimination and HIV Stigma

By: Constance Ngenda, Key Correspondents

Violence and discrimination against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions, but in Zambia one woman is taking on the challenge to change her community. Jamillar Katambo from Lusaka was widowed when her husband died of an AIDS-related illness. When Jamillar found out her HIV positive status a few years ago, she and a friend started running an orphanage with the support of the Muslim community where she lives. Read more...

The X Factor: Why Investing In Family Planning Can Yield The Greatest Impact

By: Pamela W. Barnes, EngenderHealth; Originally posted on

There are certain moments in our lives when the dots connect, the numbers add up, and things just make sense. Last month in Malaysia, I experienced the dots connecting from all over the world when I was among world leaders, policymakers, and advocates — including Melinda Gates, Chelsea Clinton, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia, and Princess Mary of Denmark, to name just a few — at Women Deliver 2013, the largest meeting of the decade to accelerate progress for women and girls. Read more...

‘I Have Seen My Friends Die’: Why We Need to Talk Frankly About Girls’ Reproductive Health

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

Last year, on World Population Day, I was in London with a range of world leaders for the Family Planning Summit. There, a global movement was catalyzed to focus on renewed commitments to ending the unmet need for contraception. Our goal: ensure 120 million more women and girls have access to contraception by 2020. Now, on the one year anniversary, there is one group in particular that needs increased focus for contraception: adolescent girls. Read more...

Global Leaders Call for Accelerated Progress on Family Planning at Women Deliver 2013

Melinda Gates, Babatunde Osotimehin and others highlight progress in expanding contraceptive access

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29 May 2013 – On the second day of Women Deliver 2013, the largest conference on girls and women of the decade, global leaders announced progress and new commitments toward expanding contraceptive access for women in developing countries. They also outlined plans for sustaining this momentum in the years to come. Read more...

Contraception and Gamified Advocacy

By: Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver and Matti Navellou, Global Poverty Project; Originally posted on Huffington Post

It's time to modernize advocacy efforts to empower girls and women.

222 million women currently lack access to modern contraception. That's 222 million women who can't plan their fertility, and 222 million women who can't plan their lives.

As notable policymakers, government leaders, civil society representatives and corporate leaders come together this week to discuss the global health and empowerment of girls and women at the 3rd Women Deliver Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - now is the time to rethink effective advocacy in this area. Read more...

Girls’ & Women’s Health and Rights in Focus at Women Deliver 2013 in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian Prime Minister Honourable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak and other global luminaries
open largest conference on girls and women of the decade

World Bank and Guttmacher Institute release new data on the value of investing in girls and women

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28 May 2013 — Today, more than 4,000 global leaders and advocates from nearly 150 countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Women Deliver 2013, the largest conference of the decade focused on the health and wellbeing of girls and women. The opening sessions of this three-day event highlighted the critical need to invest in girls and women to spur development worldwide.

Malaysian Prime Minister Honorable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak delivered welcoming remarks and discussed Malaysia’s efforts to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women as a critical component of the nation’s development and economic growth. The Prime Minister highlighted Malaysia’s success in reducing maternal mortality, and offered to share lessons learned with countries working to improve maternal health. Read more...

Women Deliver Catalyzes Conversations With Young People about Reproductive Health

By: Purnima Mane, President and CEO of Pathfinder International; Originally posted on Huffington Post

The first official day of the 3rd annual Women Deliver Conference just wrapped up. Perhaps the biggest takeaway here so far is the incredible presence and engagement of young people.

More than 100 young leaders have travelled from around the world to share their experiences, energy, and wisdom. Each of these young leaders is working to improve the health and well-being of women and girls in their communities. They joined a catalyzing pre-conference event on Monday that inspired Pathfinder's Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Advisor Callie Simon to share, "These young leaders here rock my world. Days like these that make it all worth it." Read more...

Getting Down to Business: Harnessing the Reach of the Private Sector to Deliver Affordable, Quality

By: Dr. Priya Agrawal, Executive Director, Merck for Mothers

As the saying goes, “If better is possible, good is not enough.” This is certainly the case with efforts to reduce maternal mortality, which is not declining fast enough.

One area where I believe we can do “better” in delivering maternal health services is within the local private health sector.

In many developing countries – like India, Nigeria, and Uganda – most people get their healthcare from private providers. When people are in need of care, they often turn to a local doctor or nurse because of flexible hours; or visit a nearby pharmacy because it’s convenient; or perhaps even get care from a community health worker traveling door-to-door who they know and trust. Read more...

Partner Spotlight: Creating the Healthiest Generation Ever

By:  Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Last year, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) joined other independent organizations, governments, and private foundations at the London Summit on Family Planning in committing to expand women’s access to contraception around the world.

The London Summit set an ambitious goal for the global community: to increase access to contraception for 120 million women living in the world’s poorest countries by 2020. Read more...


Time to Bridge the Gap for Women’s Health

By: Serra Sippel and Zeda Rosenberg; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Nearly 20 years ago, the global community gathered at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and declared -- for the first time -- that a woman's right and ability to control her reproductive health was fundamental to her well-being and key to global development. That meeting sparked two decades of advances for women, and the pace has been accelerating. In just the past year, the London Summit on Family Planning led to unprecedented pledges to increase access to products and services for women in developing countries, a UN Commission called for increased access to life-saving maternal health products, and the UN created new policy standards to end violence against women and girls. Read more...

A Former Sex Worker’s Story About Learning to Protect Her Sexual Health and Rights

By: James Kityo, The Key Correspondents Programme

The Key Correspondents Programme is covering the Women Deliver 2013 global conference live from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 28 – 30.

Former sex worker and single mother Rose lives in Bwaise on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital Kampala. These days Rose, 23, provides for her three children by working in a salon plaiting hair, a skill she acquired through training from the Uganda Youth Development Link drop in centre. Read more...

Christine Obuya’s Dream Job: Helping Mothers and Babies Affected by HIV

By: Sarah Nakimbowa, The Key Correspondents Programme

The Key Correspondents Programme is covering the Women Deliver 2013 global conference live from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 28 – 30.

Her name is Christine Obuya, but she is known as Pastor and she earned her nickname for her dedication to reducing the rate of HIV transmission from mothers to their children.

As a midwife at Iganga government hospital in Uganda, Obuya has seen firsthand the importance of integrating HIV with sexual and reproductive health services. And as an HIV activist Obuya, 63, has had a huge impact on women in her community, but it was almost a very different story. Read more...

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