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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...

Celebrate Solutions: Improving Education in Afghanistan by Training Better Teachers

By: Rati Bishnoi, Catapult

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)—an award-winning civil society group committed to improving Afghanistan’s future— is developing Afghanistan’s next cadre of innovative educators, one teacher at a time. Training teachers is a critical solution for helping increase the capacity of one of the weakest education systems in the world. A high illiteracy rate and resistance against educating girls serve as modern-day reminders of Afghanistan’s dark past. Read more...

 

Celebrate Solutions: Improving Sanitation Facilities for Girls and Women

By: Yousra Yusuf, Women Deliver

In a Celebrate Solutions column earlier this month, we saw how financial constraints can lead menstruating women to resort to unsanitary alternatives instead of disposable pads in India and other developing countries. Unfortunately, monetary restrictions are not the only obstacles preventing women from maintaining proper menstrual hygiene. Lack of access to sanitary facilities prevents girls and women around the world from reaching their potential in terms of health, education, productivity and self-empowerment. This past year, BRAC, a non-profit organization based in Bangladesh, celebrated tremendous progress made in incorporating menstrual hygiene management into its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program. Read more...

We Have a Dream

Everyone has a dream in life. These dreams help us define our own individual path, purpose, and goals. In this project, Women Deliver, DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung) and The Lancet want to highlight and explore the dreams of young people living across the world.

If you are a young person under the age of 30, we want to hear from YOU about YOUR dreams for a better future! Tell us your desires, hopes, goals– this can be about what you would like to achieve in life or about what you would like to see happen for your family, community and country. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Educating Girls for a Brighter Future

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

This Thursday, we celebrate the first ever International Day of the Girl, a global call to action to advocate for girls’ rights. In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish this day to raise awareness on the issues girls face every day, promote girls’ rights, and highlight gender inequality. Girls Not Brides and its members in more than 30 countries are marking this day with action. Read more...

Upcoming Films Focusing on Girls and Women

By: Harshi Hettige

Look out for important and informative films about girls and in the upcoming months. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a four-hour broadcast event airing on PBS in October, focusing on the links between sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, maternal mortality, and most importantly, how women are fighting for change. Girl Rising, coming in Spring 2013, spotlights ten adolescent girls’ powerful stories from ten developing countries, written by ten talented writers and narrated by ten actresses. It’s a Girl is screening globally starting in Spring 2013, delving into the “gendercide” that has led to 200 million girls “missing” in the world today. Click to watch the trailers and read more...

Educating Girls Like Chrissie Can Save a Nation

By: Joyce Banda; Originally posted on CNN

Editor's note: Joyce Banda assumed the presidency of Malawi in April and is a member of the Aspen Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health.

When I was young, one of my best friends lived in my grandmother's village. I saw Chrissie every weekend as we made our way through childhood -- she in the village school and I in the town school. We finally came together as students in secondary school. Sadly, Chrissie studied with me for only one term, as her parents could not afford the school fee of $6. She returned to her village, married early and had more than a half-dozen children. Read more...

New Somali Constitution Bans Female Genital Cutting

The new constitution of Somalia officially bans female genital cutting/female genital mutilation (FGC/FGM). Under Article 15, the constitution explicitly states “Circumcision of girls is a cruel and degrading customary practice, and is tantamount to torture. The circumcision of girls is prohibited.”

According to the World Health Organization, about 140 million girls and women worldwide have been directly impacted and are living with “consequences” of FGM. In the African continent alone, 92 million girls age 10 and older have undergone the procedure, with most procedures happening between infancy and the 15 years. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Making Schools in Zambia Safer Spaces for Girls

By: Harshi Hettige, Women Deliver

Over 600 Zambian girls have been empowered to stand up against violence as a result of the Tisunge Ana Athu Akazi (Lets Protect Our Girl Children) Coalition (TAAAC). The Coalition took action in a country where one-third of girls surveyed reported that they knew of girls who had been sexually harassed by a teacher, and half reported knowing girls who had been exploited by a family member.

Led by Equality Now and with a grant from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, TAAAC unites Zambian organizations to take action against gender-based violence. Read more...

Early Marriage Robs Children of Their Opportunities

By: Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu; Originally posted on Washington Post

Graça Machel was the first education minister of Mozambique. Desmond Tutu is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. They are members of The Elders, a group of independent leaders working for peace and human rights.

“If adults know child marriage is wrong, why do they allow it to happen?” a teenage girl asked one of us during a visit this year to Bihar , a state in northeast India where, despite national law to the contrary, 69 percent of girls are married before age 18. Read more...

Family Planning is Key to a Sustainable World

By: Danielle Nierenberg, Jill Sheffield; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

In June, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, global leaders missed a historic opportunity to put reproductive health and family planning at the center of global sustainability and development.  Today’s London Summit on Family Planning, hosted by the United Kingdom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, succeeded where the Rio+20 conference fell short, by making clear the inextricable links between women, reproductive health, and poverty reduction. Read more...

UK Family Planning Summit Concludes with $2.6 Billion Pledged

The London Summit on Family Planning, hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with UNFPA, national governments, donors, civil society organizations, private sector representatives, the research and development community, and many others, was held today. Read more...

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