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What role can young people play in ending female genital mutilation in Nigeria?

By: Nnamdi Eseme, Women Deliver Young Leader

Female genital mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria continues to raise the concern among young people, especially girls and women. According to the World Health Organization, female genital mutilation is defined as all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.  The procedure can be incredibly painful, and it can also lead to harmful side effects such as excessive bleeding, genital tissue swelling, fever, infections, urinary problems, and even death. The need to end this practice is great. Read more...

What Does ‘Equality’ Mean on International Women’s Day?

On International Women's Day 2016,  Women Deliver Young Leaders share what "equality" means to them.

“In 2014, I shared a picture with some of the Nigerian adolescent girls I work with of a female Civil Engineer in her bright orange overalls, deeply engrossed in a building project with her all-male-but-one team. The girls cringed. They all thought it was a ‘weird’ place for a young woman to be. To my mind, equality means that this table of ‘weirdness’ is flipped, and all members of my society cringe instead at the absence of women across several socio-economic spaces.” –Olaoluwa Abagun Read more...

Harnessing Africa’s Demographic Dividend: Reflections on ACSHR

By: Onward Chironda, Women Deliver Young Leader

The 7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR) took place from February 8-12 in Accra, Ghana. The conference’s theme, “Realising Demographic Dividend in Africa: the Critical Importance of Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,” highlighted that there is need to invest in youth to harness Africa’s Demographic dividend. Read more...

Women Deliver Young Leaders Advocate to Advance RMNCAH in Nigeria

By: Ajidagba Emman Babatunde, Women Deliver Young Leader Alumnus

Young people took center stage at a three-day inaugural summit titled “Accountability Now, Advancing RMNCAH in Nigeria,” organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Champions for Change, the public health institute, and other major stakeholders with supports from many international organizations including Women Deliver on February 16-18, 2016. The aim of the summit was to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)into the country’s effort to ensure the accountability of life-saving health care delivery for marginalized women, newborns, children and youths in Nigeria. The summit was an advocacy conference on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), where key leaders, innovators, and technical experts aimed to highlight the need and opportunities for RMNCAH within Nigeria. Read more...

‘I Thought It Was a Nightmare:’ Rape and Unintended Pregnancy

By: Ephraim Kisangala, Women Deliver Young Leader

“I thought it was a nightmare!” said Jovia Alar*, who shared her nine-month ordeal with tears in her eyes. Jovia is a 14 year-old girl from Ssemuto, Mubende in Uganda. She is the eldest child of a single mother who supports her family by selling second-hand clothes in a seasonal market several miles away from home. One night, Jovia went to the nearby bushes to pick firewood that she would use to prepare supper, as she often did. Jovia recounts what happened next in her own words. Read more...

Ensuring Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services Through SDG3

By: Jennifer Amadi, Women Deliver Young Leader

Young women in Nigeria are caught between tradition and a shifting cultural landscape, brought about by urbanization, globalized economies, and a media-saturated environment. Many young women are unprepared to face the challenges that accompany limited access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including forced child birth, banishment from the community, infections, and even death. Read more....

We Must Educate Girls to End Child Marriage

By: Onward Chironda and Nehsuh Carine Alongifor, Women Deliver Young Leaders

Fifteen million girls are married every year before they turn 18. That means 15 million childhoods interrupted, 15 million lives forever changed. Child marriage is a violation of girls’ rights. It disrupts their access to education, jeopardizes their health, and makes them vulnerable to violence. It also keeps girls from reaching their full potential and from fully contributing to the social and economic growth of their families. Read more...

Engaging a Community to Ensure “Every Girl, One Contraceptive”

By: Maureen Odour, Women Deliver Young Leader

Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant. The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl's control. Early pregnancy takes a toll on a girl's health, education and rights. It also prevents her from realizing her potential and adversely impacts the baby. A country's economy is also affected by teenage pregnancies as adolescent mothers are prevented from entering the workforce. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Reusable Sanitary Pads are Empowering Women in Uganda

By: Brittany Tatum Women Deliver 

Imagine you are a young girl or woman, who has begun to menstruate and the only thing you had available to you in the realm of sanitary products were pieces of foam, toilet paper, or banana fibers. For some girls and women that’s a reality they face every month. They face embarrassment and vulnerability to infections, all because they can’t access or afford proper menstrual hygiene management (MHM).  This becomes an even larger problem when young girls miss school because of their periods. A study done in Uganda in 2013 showed that over 60 percent of girls skip school during their period. That’s where organizations like AFRIpads come into play. Read More...

The Importance of Comprehensive Sexuality Education

By: Maureen Odour, Women Deliver Young Leader

The right to education is a human right. Investing in education is the right thing to do; it enables young people to transition into decent work and empowers girls and young women to fulfill their dreams and aspirations for equality. Young people everywhere have the right to quality education, including comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), and together we can make it happen. Read More... 

The Challenge of Girls’ Education in Nigeria

By Nnamdi Eseme, Women Deliver Young Leader

As Nigeria celebrated Children's Day on 27 May, one cannot help but lament the challenges facing girl’s education in the country. Nigerian girls face many challenges in their bid to acquire an education, from threats from terrorist groups to gender norms. Nigeria has recently come under intense international scrutiny following the declining levels of education, especially among girls, and the increasing insecurity. While various efforts have been made by the government, private sector, and international organizations, very little has been achieved in reversing this disturbing trend. Read more...

21 ways the SDGs can have the best impact on girls

By: Anna Leach; Originally posted on The Guardian

How can the sustainable development goals (SDGs) tackle the underlying gender inequality that holds girls back? Our expert panel had these suggestions. 

Invest in research: The effectiveness of goals and policies aimed at reducing gender-based inequalities continues to be undermined by knowledge gaps. We need a better understanding of how gender inequalities are produced, reproduced or challenged during the transition to adulthood and between the generations. Read More...

UNFPA and IPPF to Partner in Providing SRHR Services to Earthquake Affected Women and Girls in Nepal

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have entered into a partnership to ensure that the need for sexual and reproductive health care of young girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers in Nepal is urgently met in the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake. Read more...

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...

Bringing Girls to the Table: Coalition for Adolescent Girls Holds Event During CSW 59

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Engaging adolescent girls has garnered a great amount of attention this year, both during the recent 59th Commission on the Status of Women and in talks about the post-2015 development agenda. That dedication to engagement, however, is not always accompanied by a clear understanding of how best to do so. Following a rousing speech or panel, many are left with the following question: “How exactly to address the needs of or issues most affecting adolescent girls?” And in a sea of experts, advocates, and government officials, it’s easy to lose sight of the best source of information about adolescent girls – adolescent girls themselves. Read more... 
 

Celebrate Solutions: Investing in Local Communities to Transform Lives

By: Lauren Himiak, Women Deliver

Half of the world’s population is under the age of 30 making today’s generation of young people the largest in history. Their choices and opportunities define the present and the future of our world, yet barriers such as child marriage, HIV, poverty, and others, hold back our youth from realizing their full potential. Luckily, there are organizations working to combat these issues and empower the next generation of leaders. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Girls Can Realize Their Power Through Sports

By: Melissa Hattab, Women Deliver

The Women’s Sports Foundation strives to make every girl active and healthy. And we know that when we invest in women’s health, everyone wins. Their mission is one we at Women Deliver support wholeheartedly – “To advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity." Founded in 1974 by tennis legend, Billie Jean King, the Women's Sports Foundation is dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. 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...

Women Deliver Responds to UN Secretary-General Report on Next Development Agenda

Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon released his synthesis report on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the road ahead for development efforts in the post-2015 era. We, at Women Deliver, welcome this report and its call to action to leave no one behind.

We are pleased to see that human rights and health for all people – regardless of gender, age or nationality – will form the foundation of the next development agenda. And we are particularly encouraged that the report specifically recognizes the critical importance of improving women’s health and rights – as well as the rights and involvement of young people, who are rightly called the “torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030.” 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...

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