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Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Young Girls in Egypt through Youth Centers

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Eygpt.jpgIn Egypt, young girls living in rural areas often do not have the opportunity to attend school. Instead, they help their families and are socially isolated due to conservative gender norms. They often marry young and have little access to public life, as they are confined to the home to raise children and take care of their households. These girls have little access to health care, education, or peers in their communities. To break the cycle of this isolation and enable these girls to reach their full potential, the Population Council launched Ishraq  (meaning “sunrise” in Arabic) in 2001. The program brings adolescent girls from Upper Egypt together in youth centers and provides training to improve their educational, health, and social opportunities. Read more...

A Formative Close to the Maternal Health Dialogue Series

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Yesterday, in Washington, DC, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Maternal Health Task Force, UNFPA, USAID Bureau for Global Health, and the African Population and Health Research Center co-hosted the last session of the two year maternal health dialogue series. The partners launched the report, “Delivering Solutions: Advancing Dialogue to Improve Maternal Health,” which captures the strategies and recommendations that emerged from the series.

Since December 2009, this maternal health dialogue series has hosted 28 sessions with over 100 panelists engaging in conversation and debate around some of the most pressing maternal health topics.   A total of over one thousand participants attended sessions on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS and maternal health service integration to family planning in fragile states; new applications of existing communications technologies; and addressing maternal health in urban slums. The series focused on major challenges and opportunities for moving the maternal health agenda forward, and affirmed that solutions for saving the lives of women and girls are plentiful and powerful. Read more...

Making Life: A Risky Proposition, A Diane Sawyer 20/20 Special

ABC News continues its year-long global health series by examining the most dangerous thing a woman can do: why so many women are dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Diane Sawyer and a team of correspondents report on a special edition of “20/20,” Friday, Dec.16 on ABC.

New York, NY, December 12, 2011 -- The numbers are staggering: every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth – that’s about 1,000 women a day. Yet experts say that more than 80% of these deaths are totally preventable if only the mothers-to-be received proper medical care. At the bottom of the list, countries like Afghanistan, with its child brides, and Sierra Leone, which has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. The US ranks surprisingly low in the industrialized world -- number 41 on the maternal mortality list. It is an issue that experts all over the world say is “unforgiveable” because even the most basic medicine and intervention could prevent the majority of these deaths. Read on...

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women Announces the 2011 Call for Proposals

The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women is accepting applications for its 16th grant cycle (2011) from government authorities, civil society organizations and networks — including non-governmental, women’s and community-based organizations and coalitions, and operational research institutions — and UN Country Teams (in partnership with governments and civil society organizations). Read more...  

Corporate Buzz: Partnering for Healthy Girls, Women and Economies

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Farm.jpgIn November 2010, GBCHealth (formerly the Global Business Coalition) launched a cross-sectoral initiative, Healthy Women, Healthy Economies (HHWE), to highlight the importance of investing in the health of girls and women in order to promote economic sustainability and growth. Each HHWE corporation works to strengthen their programs while also collaborating with other partners to learn ways in which they can invest better in girls and women through the development of best practices and strategic innovations.

The partnership between GBCHealth, the U.S. State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues, and companies including Coca Cola and Chevron (among many others) guides corporate investment to areas where companies can have the most impact: improving health systems, bolstering the health of the female workforce, and supporting girls’ education. Read more...

Family Planning Conference Brings New Funding and Declarations of Support

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager at Women Deliver

Yesterday, at the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning, Senegal’s Minister of Health announced his country’s pledge to double its investment in family planning, while the British Department for International Development (DFID) pledged an additional £35m in funding for family planning programs in developing countries. These two groundbreaking announcements have been pivotal moments at the global conference in Dakar, Senegal, where over 1,500 participants have gathered to share best practices. Read more...

16 Days Campaign Challenges MIlitarism And Violence Against Women

16Days.pngNew Brunswick, New Jersey -- On November 25, 2011, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) will launch the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. Hundreds of events by organizations worldwide are planned to campaign against gender-based violence, which is experienced by up to 70% of women in their lifetime, according to the United Nations. It is estimated that worldwide, one in five women will experience rape or attempted rape. Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria. Read more... 

Women’s Health Issues in a World of 7 Billion

By: Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver
Originally posted by The Huffington Post

yemengirls.jpgThis past month, the world met a milestone. We officially live in a world of seven billion people -- an impressive figure that drives home just how much responsibility we all have to take care of our globe, ourselves and each other. This benchmark has sparked many conversations anew, from the impact of population on the environment to the undeniable importance of contraception. But as UNFPA's recently launched State of the World's Population 2011 report points out, a world of seven billion is not a time to ask, "Are we too many?" but rather, "What can I do to make our world better?" Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: One Country’s Plant Is The Whole World’s Treasure

By: Dr. Aoife Kenny, Volunteer at Women Deliver

bamboobike.jpgWhat is stronger than steel, completely sustainable, and could transform the lives of underserved rural women and girls worldwide? The answer is Bamboo. And Ghana’s commitment to bamboo bicycles is a powerful first step in showing how resourceful this plant can be.

Access to rural transport is critical to poverty reduction and development. When unavailable, communities that can’t get their goods to market, can’t bring in new capital; nor can individuals reach new and more lucrative employment opportunities. In addition, statistics have shown that countries with the least access to rural transport have the highest maternal mortality and gender education disparity, as issues of mobility are intrinsically linked to a country’s economic growth and the global issue of climate change. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Shaping our Future, Access to Reproductive Health Care in 2015

By: Saundra Pelletier, CEO, WomenCare Global

Many smart people love the idea of alleviating poverty; however, because it is such an overwhelming proposition, they quickly shift their thinking to more attainable goals. What they do not realize is the answer is simple; the puzzle can be solved; and it as easy as investing in the world’s women. Women, after all, hold up half the sky. A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her health, education, and well being by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family, and building a strong community. Yes, Women Deliver.

When I look ahead to the year 2015, I envision a world where there is a cultural consciousness and awareness of why preventing mothers from dying in childbirth is so vital. Women’s health, particularly women’s reproductive health, will no longer be pushed aside for more “pressing issues.” The lives of women and mothers will be at the core of conversations in both global health and global development circles. One of the most important benefits will be that 600,000 children will not grow up without the love and care of a mother. Read more...

2015+: Join Our Critical Online Discussion Forum on the Future of Reproductive and Maternal Health

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With the deadlines for the Millennium Development Goals and the International Conference on Population and Development’s Program of Action fast approaching, Women Deliver is calling on the entire reproductive and maternal health community—from policymakers to health workers to advocates—to participate in an online discussion to shape the future of our field.

Join this critical global conversation at www.knowledge-gateway.org/womendeliver and weigh in on where we are, where we need to be, and how we need to get there. This means taking stock of lessons learned, challenges ahead, and tackling the critical question: What will—and what must—happen to the MDGs and ICPD after 2015? Read more...

2015+: What Happens To the Millennium Development Goals When They Expire?

By: Rachel Cernansky, winner of the Women Bloggers Deliver contest

2015+.JPGThe Millennium Development Goals are set to expire in 2015, which means it's time to start looking ahead to what happens once they do. And looking back to see what good they've served. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a report in July, highlighting progress achieved toward the goals so far, including: Read more...

G(irls)20 Summit Communiqué Lists Recommendations for G20 Leaders on Closing Gender Gap

Girls20-Logo_France-URL.jpgDelegates participating in the G(irls)20 Summit in Paris presented French President Nicholas Sarkozy with a communiqué featuring recommendations on how G20 leaders can help reduce gender inequality and recognize the pivotal role women and girls play in advancing the global economy. Drafted by 21 young delegates -- all women under the age of 20 -- the communiqué features more than 30 specific recommendations on gender-based violence and inequality; education, training, and employment; political, economic, and social representation; and health; designed to influence global leaders convening at the G20 meetings in Cannes, France next month. Read more...

Financing for Development: Invest in Women – It Pays

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver; originally published in the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Reference Report 2011

Improving maternal health gives a high return on investment. The loss of a woman’s life or health is not just a loss to her family, but it is also a loss to the community and the nation as a whole. While nations need to keep building towards the ultimate goal of strengthening health systems, there are investments that can be made today, right now, to decrease maternal death and injury. Most of these solutions are low-cost, highly effective, and can begin to show results almost immediately. Read more...

Women Deliver Congratulates 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winners

Leymah_Gbowee.jpgWe at Women Deliver congratulate this year’s three Nobel Peace Prize winners—Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee (pictured at right at Women Deliver 2010), and Yemeni peace activist Tawakkul Karman—on being recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Read more...

2015+: Achieving Universal Access Requires More Than Health Services

By: Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity

2015+.JPGThe International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadlines are coming up in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and will quickly pass. What will come next? Deadline extensions? A single health MDG? A combined solution of a new mechanism with new deadline? When it comes to maternal health—to women’s health—does this matter? 

Consider the ICPD goal of universal access to reproductive health through the primary health system by 2015. The goal was adopted in 2007 as a target for reaching MDG 5 on maternal health. Universal access to reproductive health through primary care is not merely access to contraceptive supplies, or safe delivery in pregnancy. Read more...

Women Deliver Has Strong Presence During UNGA Week

The third week of September was a busy one for Women Deliver. The United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), amongst other events, filled the city with Heads of State and agents of change, providing ample opportunity to discuss maternal health, sexual and reproductive rights and gender equity.  Here are a few of our highlights:

  • The World Bank: “Realizing the Demographic Dividend, Challenges and Opportunities for Ministers of Finance and Developmentpanel focused on the policy actions necessary in family planning, health, education, gender equality, and labor market policies, if positive economic returns are to be secured. Women Deliver Founder and President, Jill Sheffield, who spoke at the event, reinforced this point by stating: "The fact is: that women drive economic development. They operate the majority of small businesses and farms in developing countries and their unpaid work equals roughly 1/3 of the GDP." Read more...

World Contraception Day: “Hombres y mujeres jóvenes y el acceso a anticonceptivos”?

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

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What Is The Difference Between How Young Women And Men Learn About And Access Birth Control Methods? And Why?

By: Yunuén Flores, Director of the Gender Program

I’m a young female activist and even more importantly, I live in a Latin American country: Mexico. I come from a culture that is patriarchal, machista, religious and full of taboos. Ah, and I already told you that I’m a woman! So I have lived my life with different rules than the men in my community, typecast by social norms that we ourselves have created. Read more...

2015+: Ensuring Women’s Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean

By: Mabel Bianco, President of Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer – FEIM

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Prior to the creation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and particularly MDG 5 (to improve maternal health), there were many international agreements for improving the status of all citizens, including those focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Although these international agreements, including the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Programme of Action (PoA) and the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA), preceded the MDGs, the responsibilities and commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights that governments and donors established are broader than those encompassed in MDG5 and 5B. Read more...

The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development, Finds Gaps in Women’s Progress

Originally posted by The World Bank:Mother_and_Child.jpg

The lives of women around the world have improved dramatically, at a pace and scope difficult to imagine even 25 years ago. Women have made unprecedented gains in rights, education, health, and access to jobs and livelihoods.

Despite the progress, gaps remain in many areas. The worst disparity is the rate at which girls and women die relative to men in developing countries. Excess female deaths account for an estimated 3.9 million women each year in low- and middle-income countries. About two-fifths are never born due to a preference for sons, a sixth die in early childhood, and over a third die in their reproductive years. Read more...

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