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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...

Anti-Violence Bill Campaign Launched Friday in Nigeria

Since 2001, the Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women (LACVAW) has worked to pass a comprehensive legislative bill in Nigeria which would criminalize sexual and physical acts of violence against girls and women. Though the bill has been supported by LACVAW,  a network of over 70 civil society groups, religious organizations, international human right groups and other stakeholders working on women’s rights (including UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF), it has repeatedly failed to pass through the National Assembly. Read more...

Ford Foundation Launches Child Marriage Map and Partner Index

The Ford Foundation, in partnership with the Girls Not Brides campaign, has recently shared their child marriage interactive map, and partner index of Girls Not Brides member organizations. The map is linked to the recent article from Time magazine titled, “Why Is It So Hard to Combat Child Marriage?

The website examines 30 countries with the highest rates of child marriage, and offers some alarming statistics: “Across the developing world, more than one-third of girls are married by age 18, and one in seven is married by age 15, with devastating effects on girls’ health, education, earning power and independence.” Read more...

Save the Children Says Pregnancy Kills or Injures One Million Girls a Year

Originally posted on Save the Children

WESTPORT, Conn. (June 26, 2012) — Pregnancy is the biggest killer of teenage girls worldwide, with one million dying or suffering serious injury, infection or disease due to pregnancy or childbirth every year, Save the Children said today.

In a new report, Every Woman's Right: How family planning saves children's lives, the international humanitarian and development agency highlights the many ways that lives are saved when women can choose the timing and spacing of their pregnancies. Read more...

Why Women’s Needs Must be Part of the Conversation at Rio

By: Suzanne Ehlers and Michael Brune; Originally posted on GristBy: Suzanne Ehlers and Michael Brune; Originally posted on Grist

The outcome document for this week’s Rio+20 summit is 49 pages long. Some 23,917 words.

Women were mentioned in less than 0.01 percent of the text. And only two of the 283 sections addressed women’s needs for family planning.

At first, this might not seem like a big deal. It’s easy to think of Rio as a purely environmental conference, dealing with issues related to sustainable development and a green economy. It’s easy to say that Rio is not about “women’s issues.” Read more...

Rio+20: Highlighting the Voices of Women

By: Corine Milano; Originally Posted on World Pulse

World Pulse delivered the voices of grassroots women leaders to the UN’s 2nd Landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Of the 55 statements from women in 28 different countries, eight recommendations were highlighted on the website, exposing that sustainable development must tackle issues ranging from sanitation to land rights to economic empowerment for women. Read more...

Women and Sustainability: WAGGGS at Rio+20

By: Harshi Hettige, Women Deliver; Blogs originally posted by WAGGGS

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is represented at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) in Brazil by a delegation of 24 young women from 15 different countries.

With 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, WAGGGS is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. The World Association supports girls and young women to develop their full potential as responsible citizens of the world by focusing on leadership development and active citizenship. Read more...

Women and Sustainability: Global Advocates Concerned by Language About Women and Reproductive Rights

By: Women Deliver and Worldwatch Institute

Women Deliver is collaborating with the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project  to highlight the important role of women, youth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

After days of negotiations, world leaders and the over 50,000 participants at Rio+20 will be presented with a draft outcome agreement, known as “The Future We Want.” The draft, which will be finalized on Friday, will be presented to heads of state at the end of the conference and will likely serve as the framework for future goals on economic, social, and environmental sustainability, including the Sustainable Development Goals, which could replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. Read more...

The Guardian Announces Journalism Competition Finalists

The Guardian newspaper has announced 16 finalists in the 2012 Guardian International Development Journalism Competition. The competition, which aims to highlight overlooked or underrepresented issues in the developing world, called on contestants to submit a feature piece on an aspect of global poverty deserving of greater attention. Of the hundreds of entries submitted, a long list was narrowed down to 40 contestants, and then short-lists of eight amateur and eight professional writers were finalized. Read more...

Women and Sustainability: Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health at Rio+20

By: Women Deliver and Worldwatch Institute

Women Deliver is collaborating with Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project to highlight the important role of women, youth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

The Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC) is a consortium of 16 former heads of state, policymakers, and other national leaders who, in collaboration with The Aspen Institute, who advocate for expanded access to reproductive health as a breakthrough strategy for lasting development and prosperity worldwide. Read more...

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