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Celebrate Solutions: Magic Bus Transports Youth Out of Poverty

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Shazia Malik grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Delhi, India, with little hope for her future. When Magic Bus arrived in her community, Shazia was excited to engage in its sports-based activities. Soon, she became a volunteer and led weekly training sessions in handball and football. “I enjoyed it,” . “I could play and also it made me feel like I was capable of something.” In 2011, she was offered a paid job as a Youth Mentor. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Role-playing Workshops Turn Adolescent Indian Girls Into Leaders

By: Pratik Phadkule, Michael Matheke-Fischer and Casey Mixter, Real Medicine Foundation

Girls in rural India are given little information about the physical, emotional, and social changes that go along with puberty and adolescence, yet proper education and guidance during this developmental phase has critical implications that affect individuals, families and entire communities; Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) has developed a series of workshops to empower adolescent Indian girls and turn them into community leaders, breaking the cycle of poverty and establishing a model for women’s rights in India. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Social Franchising for Affordable, Quality Health Care

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, the maternal mortality rate of 359 out of every 100,000 live births is nearly double the rate for the entire country, 212 out of every 100,000 live births. This is largely due to economic disparities—the poor have limited access to skilled health care providers at a cost they can afford. The Merrygold Health Network (MGHN) has been  through a network of private health care providers using a social franchise model. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Securing Land Rights through Women’s Support Centers

By: Sanjoy Patnaik, Landesa

An innovative program created by the state government of Odisha and Landesa is helping thousands of women climb out of extreme poverty in Odisha, India. The solution comes in the form of Women’s Support Centers. This program relies on government (child and mother health workers) to identify single, landless rural women, such as widows and abandoned women to help them receive land, training, job cards and other important government services through the centers. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Clinical Skills Trainings in India

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

With support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jhpiego recently trained more than 170 nurses, paramedics, and other health providers on how to improve their quality of care provided to pregnant women, mothers and infants, and women experiencing complications in pregnancy and childbirth in India’s second-most-populate state, Maharashtra. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Rural Girls in India

By: Yousra Yusuf, Women Deliver

In India, like many places throughout the world, girls and women experience gender-based discrimination in areas such as education, job opportunities and even marriage options. Rural girls face an even greater degree of gender inequality. Shakti, a girl-child empowerment program implemented by Aangan, has been working to empower girls 12 to 18 years of age. In 2011, about 2500 girls from different communities participated in this program. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Using Cash Transfers to Promote Safe Births in India

By: Yousra Yusuf, Women Deliver

Global maternal mortality rates may be on the decline, but mothers in India continue to die from preventable causes at alarming rates. In 2010, 56,000 deaths were reported throughout the country, with one in every 140 women dying from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. Through a conditional cash transfer program, Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), the Indian government is working to ensure that no woman dies while giving life. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: PATH’s Sure Start

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

If you brave the helter-skelter road out of the capital city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh—where rickshaws, motorcycles, and oversize trucks compete with cows for two narrow lanes—then turn onto the dirt road between the rice fields, you will find something remarkable in the quiet village of Devpuri. Despite India’s dire maternal and newborn health record (each year, 78,000 women die giving birth and a million babies don’t survive their first month), mothers and newborns are surviving. Read more...

Akshaya Tritiya: Hotbed of Child Marriages

By: Chaitra Arjunpuri; Originally posted on Al Jazeera

AlJazeera_AkshayaTritiya.jpgI am one of those unfortunate Hindu women whose hard lot is to suffer the unnameable miseries entailed by the custom of early marriage. This wicked practice of child marriage has destroyed the happiness of my life. It comes between me and the things which I prize above all others - study and mental cultivation. Without the least fault of mine, I am doomed to seclusion; every aspiration of mine to rise above my ignorant sisters is looked down upon with suspicion and is interpreted in the most uncharitable manner..."
- Extract from a letter written by a woman named Rukhmabai to The Times of India on June 26, 1885, reproduced in Child Marriage in India: Socio-legal and Human Rights Dimensions, by Jaya Sagade (Oxford University Press, 2005). Read more...

All for Mum and Mum for All

By: Christy Turlington Burns, mother, model, film-maker and founder of Every Mother Counts; Originally posted on the Dfid blog

dfid-india.jpgI celebrated the 101st International Women's Day in the halls of the United Nations last week. I followed Twitter, and shared blogs and news stories that collectively called we women to action. When I take a step back, as I did last week, I'm reminded that the "women's rights are human rights" movement is still very much a process in many parts of the world. One thing that I have noticed through filming women around the world is that most of us girls and women are inspired by one another's stories.

Stories create hope. Everywhere I travel, I listen to stories that blow my mind with the courage, personal sacrifices and perseverance of so many women. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Empowering Women with Rural Health Entrepreneurship

By: Smita Gaith

Drishtee.jpgIn rural India, Drishtee is improving health outcomes, one woman at a time. Previously, the organization set up several health kiosks around rural parts of India; now, they are taking them one step further by organizing them as small franchises. Each kiosk is run by local women who are trained in several different areas, such as maternal health, but also in simpler diagnostic testing such as pregnancy and blood glucose level tests. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bringing Light and Improved Economic Livelihoods to Rajasthan

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

barefoot.jpgAt only 12 years old, Kavita* stopped attending school to help her family with housework. By 15, she was married to a man from a village in the Ajmer District of Rajasthan, a western state in India. In this new village, she taught young children during the day and attended classes at night to improve her literacy. It was through this local literacy program, Kavita was approached by leaders of The Barefoot College; a new initiative trying to develop a cohort of female solar engineers. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Promoting Change in Reproductive Behavior in Bihar

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist at Women Deliver

In Bihar, one of India’s least developed and most populous states, men and women seeking information on contraceptives have faced barriers of all kinds: cultural, financial and socio-economic. The need for action is apparent: 58 percent of the population is under age 25, the median age of marriage for women from traditional villages is 15, and 28 percent of women give birth to their first child before the age of 18. In response, Pathfinder’s Promoting Change in Reproductive Behavior (PRACHAR) Project has been working since 2001 to transform attitudes and behaviors around contraceptive use and demand, with the aim of delaying and spacing pregnancies among adolescents and newlywed couples. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Converting Innovative Practices into Health System Change in Rajasthan, India

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

Indian_Mother_Daughter.jpgMore women die giving birth in India than in any other country in the world—an unfortunate distinction caused largely by the high number of deliveries in rural areas that occur without the support of trained health care providers. One Indian nonprofit, however, is saving the lives of women by using innovative practices to provide mothers around-the-clock delivery and newborn care and working to incorporate these interventions into the government-run rural health care services system. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Sure Start Project in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra

sure_start.JPGBy: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

Roughly 78,000 women in India die during pregnancy and childbirth per year, some of the world’s largest numbers of country-level maternal deaths. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are the two largest and most populous states in India, generating a large percentage of the maternal mortality and morbidity in the country. In 2008, PATH aimed to address these disparities with the Sure Start Project, a holistic approach to maternal health systems strengthening. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project, India

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver

Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula. The state faces major challenges in improving and increasing access to health care services, but they are making significant strides. The Government of Tamil Nadu developed a Health Policy in 2003 with a focus on the health of low-income communities and families. The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project supports this strategy through several interventions, especially those aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality. The World Bank recently provided more funds, in addition to the original financing in 2004, to further improve health services quality and access while supporting state-wide management systems implementation. Read more...

New Publications on Contraceptive Use, Access, Abortion, Early Marriage, and Youth

From contraceptive use in Cambodia and Central America and issues of access in Kenya and around the globe, to abortion trends and practices in India and Nigeria and early marriage and reproductive health outcomes in India, to youth policy and services from the WHO European Region - click through to find a variety of new research studies and publications.

Brief Insights From the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010

By: Kate Mitchell from the Maternal Health Task Force; orginally posted at the MHTF Blog

Today (August 30, 2010) marked the first day of the Global Maternal Health Conference in Delhi. Throughout the day, the nearly 700 conference participants–made up of maternal health researchers, programmers, advocates, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, and  young professionals–shared a number of insights, lessons learned, recommendations and innovative ideas for improving the health of women around the world.

Click through to read brief insights from the Inaugural Ceremony speeches...

Health Experts Convene at Global Maternal Health Conference 2010

From August 30 to September 1, more than 600 maternal health experts will gather in Delhi, India, for the Global Maternal Health Conference 2010, the first international technical conference devoted exclusively to maternal health. Hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth and the Public Health Foundation of India, the conference aims to increase consensus and coordination around the evidence, programs, and advocacy needed to advance maternal health. According to latest estimates, more than 342,000 women worldwide die due to preventable pregnancy or childbirth complications every year.

 

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