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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...

Press Release: 206,000 More Girls to Benefit from HPV Vaccine with GAVI Alliance Support

10 countries approved in latest round of HPV vaccine demonstration programmes

GENEVA – An estimated 206,000 girls in 10 developing countries are expected to benefit from the introduction of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against the leading cause of cervical cancer, announced the GAVI Alliance on World Cancer Day. The latest round of approved HPV vaccine introductions will see 10 countries begin targeted demonstration projects. The new approvals bring the total number of countries lined up to receive GAVI support for HPV vaccine to 21. 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...

Raising Our Voices: Young Leaders at the International Conference on Family Planning

By: Ms. Makda Mikre Tessema, Let Girls Lead AGALI fellow, YWCA Ethiopia

The International Family Planning Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia included more than 4000 people from all over the world bringing together family planning educators, researchers, practitioners and most importantly, the highest number of young people attending an international conference.

Before the official opening of the ICFP conference, I had the great honor to speak at the Family Planning + Social Good pre-conference event, representing Let Girls Lead’s Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative and the YWCA of Ethiopia. Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for over 3 million girls globally. I graduated from Let Girls Lead’s AGALI program in 2010, where I learned to lead changes that improve young people’s lives, including increasing their access to family planning. 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...

More than 7 Million Girls in Poor Countries Give Birth Before 18 Each Year, Finds New UNFPA Report

Originally posted by UNFPA

Motherhood in childhood is a huge global problem, especially in developing countries, where every year 7.3 million girls under 18 give birth, according to The State of World Population 2013, released today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Of these 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls 14 or younger, who suffer the gravest long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy, including high rates of maternal death and obstetric fistula, according to the report, entitled, Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy. 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...

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...

The World We Want: An End to Child Marriage

Originally posted on Girls Not Brides

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that a new agenda for international development should ensure the empowerment, wellbeing and social protection of the world’s most vulnerable people. In a commentary for the renowned medical journal The Lancet, three prominent figures in international development argue that to translate these principles into action and tangible results, we must end child marriage. 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...

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...

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...

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...

How the EU Can Make Valentine’s Day Happier for the World’s Girls

By: Véronique Mathieu and Katarína Neveďalová; Originally posted on EurActiv.com

The right to choose your partner is vital for achieving global gender equality and development: It is the EU’s duty to take the lead in ending forced child marriage, say MEPs Véronique Mathieu and Katarína Neveďalová.
Véronique Mathieu (EPP, France) and Katarína Neveďalová (S&D, Slovakia) are members of the European Parliament’s Working Group on Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS and Development.

Alongside Christmas and Halloween, there are few days in the European calendar that arouse more attention that Valentine’s Day. Love is something universal that unites us all. Read more...

We Can Only End Violence Against Women Together

By: Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women; Originally posted on Huffington Post

I am often asked whether ending violence against women is possible given the pervasiveness and persistence of these crimes. My answer is yes. It is possible. But we can only do it together. We are all responsible and it is time for leaders to fulfill the promises made to women. Today, looking towards Sunday's International Day to End Violence against Women, I call on all leaders: Take a stand to end violence against women and girls. Last year I launched the 16-step policy agenda. Today, I urge all Heads of State and Government to end the scourge of violence that affects every society by participating in an exciting global initiative to showcase national commitments to end violence against women and girls. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Addressing Malnutrition with Innovative Strategies in the Philippines

By: Yousra Yusuf, Women Deliver

Across the world, 510 million women and girls lack access to proper nutrition. In the Philippines, 5 million adults were found to be underweight in 2010. To fight malnutrition in the Philippines, nonprofit organization Roots of Health introduced the Vertical Gardening project to help women grow their own plants to feed their family and community. After the project’s implementation in May 2010, 101 vertical gardens have been installed in the Pulang Lupa community to-date. Read more...

Young People Have the Power to Change the World

By: Babatunde Osotimehin; Originally posted on The Atlantic

... despite half of the world's youth living on less than two dollars a day.

A social media revolution is unfolding before our eyes, forever changing the way we connect. I see this whenever I travel; the young boys of Lagos preoccupied with their cell-phones; a young girl tweeting from a health-care clinic in Bogota; a young Liberian nurse taking notes on an iPad. I also see how my own children connect with friends on Facebook. Read more...

Additional Investments in Family Planning Would Save Developing Nations More Than $11 Billion a Year

Access to family planning is an essential human right that unlocks unprecedented rewards for economic development, says new UNFPA report

  • 222 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for family planning
  • Additional $4.1 billion in funding is needed to address current needs and those of the growing youth population

LONDON, 14 November 2012—Making voluntary family planning available to everyone in developing countries would reduce costs for maternal and newborn health care by $11.3 billion annually, according to The State of World Population 2012, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Read more...

AU Builds Common Platform For African Champions of Maternal Health – And Looks For More

Today the African Union’s Commissioner for Social Affairs, H.E Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko launched a new website for its Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) – www.carmma.org.

The new website which has been pulled together by a team in the Department of Social Affairs promotes maternal and newborn survival, and provides evidence on progress in achieving the targets African leaders have set. Read more...

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