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Women Deliver and Bayer HealthCare Launch World Contraception Day Ambassadors Project

New York, NY, 27 July 2015 – In support of World Contraception Day and the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program, Women Deliver and Bayer HealthCare are happy to announce the launch of a three-year World Contraception Day Ambassadors Project. This partnership is designed to promote the shared goals of Bayer and Women Deliver and compliment their common work of raising awareness of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues and priorities. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: What Does Patient-Centered Family Planning Care Look Like?

By: Claire Watt Rothschild and Catherine Owinga, Jacaranda Health

“I’ve heard it’s a huge metal thing,” Njeri, a new mother, told Jacaranda Health midwife and nurse-in-charge Catherine Owinga at a recent family planning consultation. Njeri was describing what she knew about the copper-bearing intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), or the “coil,” as it is called locally. Njeri’s fears about an IUCD – that it is so large that it has to be inserted under general anesthesia or can travel through your veins and get stuck in your heart – were familiar to Catherine. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Harnessing Peer Networks to Promote Family Planning

By: Claire Watt Rothschild and Shalmali Radha Karnad, Jacaranda Health

At Jacaranda Health, efforts to expand access to postpartum contraception have resulted in a rate of family planning that is more than three times higher than Kenya’s national average. Despite these successes, Jacaranda is still trying to understand why so many women do not adopt family planning at the recommended six weeks after childbirth. A key part of the human-centered program development is talking with clients – in focus groups, interviews, and informal chats – to understand their needs and build programs to address them. When postpartum clients were asked why they were not using family planning, the overwhelming response was that clients’ friends and family members told them six weeks was too early for family planning. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Engaging Men in Family Planning Decision-Making

By: Shalmali Radha Karnad and Claire Watt Rothschild, Jacaranda Health

On any given morning, the seats in the reception at Jacaranda Health’s Kahawa West maternity hospital are full – young mothers nursing newborns, pregnant women thumbing through antenatal care brochures, toddlers clambering over benches as they await their immunisations, and men – husbands, partners, fathers – all attending the maternity to support and care for their wives and children. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Do We Encourage Healthy Birth Spacing?

By: Claire Watt Rothschild, Jacaranda Health

Nearly half of women in Kenya who are new family planning users stop within the first year of use. It’s called “contraceptive (or family planning) discontinuation” and the high numbers of women in Kenya who stop using contraception early is of major concern. Family planning discontinuation has been called a “leaky bucket,” and high rates are undermining gains made in the number of women who start taking contraception (called “uptake”). Last week, this blog series highlighted how Jacaranda Health is encouraging family planning among postpartum women to encourage healthy spacing of delivery and pregnancy. While focusing on uptake is important, it is only part of the story. Healthy birth spacing requires women not only to decide to start family planning before the return to fertility, but also to continue using family planning – consistently and correctly – for nearly two years or longer. Read more...

Men, Theatre and New Masculinities: Breaking Barriers to Modern Family Planning

By: Mallah Tabot, Women Deliver Young Leader

“I now understand the physical, emotional, and hormonal changes my partner goes through during pregnancy. It is now easier for me to recognize a problem and jointly plan to stop having children. She has been pregnant almost each year for the past 8 years and it’s funny how I didn’t realize I could be part of the solution.”

When a man in rural Cameroon utters these words, you know change is coming. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Creating a “One-Stop Shop” to Encourage Postpartum Contraception

By: Claire Watt Rothschild, Jacaranda Health

Everyone said she could not become pregnant while breastfeeding. This is what Wanjiru*, a new mother, told a nurse midwife at Jacaranda Health’s Ruiru maternity hospital.  When she became pregnant just 3 months after the birth of her first baby, she felt lied to. Family planning use in the first year after childbirth – known as the postpartum period – is both essential and rare in Kenya. At Jacaranda Health, the aim is to make family planning acceptable and convenient for new mothers and their families in a setting where 90 percent of women are not using postpartum family planning at all or until after they are already at risk of pregnancy. 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...

Striving for a Better Tomorrow on International Day of the Midwife

By: Brittany Tatum, Women Deliver  

May 5 of each year marks International Day of the Midwife (IDM) in which we celebrate the progress that has been made towards the vision to reduce all preventable maternal and newborn deaths. 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...

Celebrate Solutions: Boys Learning to Take a Stand against Violence in Kenya

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Violence against women is prevalent in Kenya. According to government data from 2008-2009, nearly half of Kenyan who have ever been married have been physically abused by husbands. The same survey showed that over half of women believe that men have the right to beat their wives.

Ujamaa Africa, whose mission is to promote health, personal security and economic empowerment for vulnerable women and children, is trying to change this. The organization is currently running a program called Your Moment of Truth, a project to end violence against girls and women in slums in Nairobi by encouraging adolescent boys to take action. Read more...

Girls and Women Must be at the Center of the Global Development Agenda

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver

I am an optimist. Some would say I am a naïve optimist. Others would say I am an impatient optimist. There may be some truth to this, but after more than a decade working in global health I can say with confidence that over the next ten years we will make significant and sustainable change to improve the lives of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. It will happen gradually and require a strong global strategy, but it is possible. Just think about how much progress has been made over the last two decades: maternal deaths have dropped by almost half, contraceptive use has increased, more girls are in school, more women are in leadership positions, and women’s rights are more widely recognized. Read more...

Highlights From the FRESH Campaign


These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Nargis Shirazi, FRESH Campaign (Uganda)

Running the FRESH campaign has been an adventure! It started out with learning how to write proposals, thanks to the C Exchange Youth Initiative. Implementing the program has been an opportunity for me to unlearn, learn, and relearn the best practices in managing the project. I do believe that my best lesson learned is that for a project to succeed, one needs to plan. Not just plan for activities, but also plan and be prepared for any challenges along the way. Teamwork is also essential to the success of a project. The only way a project succeeds is when it has a team on the ground shares the same visions and has well outlined and defined responsibilities. Read more...

Promoting the SRHR of Adolescent and Young Mothers

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Cecilia García Ruiz, Espolea (Mexico)

As the Adolescent and Youth Motherhood Project (AYMP) draws to a close, there are a few highlights that are worth sharing.

As mentioned in previous posts, it is important that human rights advocates have a deep understanding of the diverse realities, needs, interests and expectations of the populations they seek to benefit and reach. When working with adolescent and young mothers the first lesson to be learned is: do not take anything for granted. This means, for instance, that we cannot assume that adolescent and young mothers have more information and tools to access quality sexual and reproductive health services than any other young person in their community. Misconceptions about their experiences with the healthcare system are common. Very often, we find that a significant percentage of these young women have faced discrimination and violence from health providers, education workers, peers, and even members from their own families and communities. Read more...

Adolescent Motherhood: Challenges and Lessons Learned for SRHR Advocacy

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, Espolea (Mexico)

Working on the phenomenon of adolescent and young motherhood requires a deep understanding of the various structural factors leading to early pregnancies and parenting. As my team and I have carried out our project, the first challenge we faced was the invisibility of teenage and young mothers as key populations within the country’s sexual and reproductive health policies.

What we learned from this was the importance of exploring the diverse realities of the adolescent and young mothers in Mexico, while contextualizing the strategies aimed at promoting and ensuring their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). An example is identifying potential protective (e.g. family and community networks) or risk factors (e.g. violence and exclusion) in an adolescent or young mother’s life that could enable or hinder her to overcome the economic, social, and cultural barriers they face to fully exercise their rights. Read more...

Too Frequently, Too Many, Too Young: Preventing Adolescent Girls Mortality

By: Felogene Anumo, FEMNET

On 11th August 2014, my beautiful daughter, Zhane Lindiwe, turns exactly 11 months old. Needless to say, she is a huge blessing in my life. However, as I thank God each and every morning for her, I am cognizant of the fact that every day many young women and girls find themselves carrying a pregnancy that they neither planned nor hoped for. This may result in feelings of regret, hopelessness, and loss of opportunities. But worse still, is the high number of young women and girls who die while looking for a way out of their situation by seeking an unsafe abortion. Other brave girls, despite the negative feelings associated with an unwanted pregnancy, forge ahead for nine months only to lose their lives during childbirth since their bodies are not ready for parenthood. Read more...

Q&A with Katja Iversen About Her Vision for the Future

In this Q&A, Women Deliver’s new CEO Katja Iversen shares her motivations for becoming an advocate for girls’ and women’s health and rights; discusses lessons she has learned in her career; offers advice for emerging advocates; and describes her vision for the future for girls and women around the world.

Q: What first inspired you to become a maternal and reproductive health advocate?

I’m proud to say it was my grandmother. Back in the 1930s she – in her own quiet and behind-the-scenes way – fought fiercely for girls’ and women’s reproductive rights in Denmark, where I am from. At the time, only married women could get access to modern contraceptives.  She and my granddad lived together without being married, and she worked seven days a week to get him through college, so getting pregnant just wasn’t an option. Even when she got married and had kids, she kept up the fight for all women’s reproductive rights – because it was just the right thing to do. Read more...

Traditional Rulers Take Action Against Adolescent Pregnancy in Cameroon

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Numfor Alenwi Munteh, Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD)

There is an African proverb which says, “The piper – not the dancers – determines the rhythm of music.” Similarly, in Cameroon, traditional rulers – not community members – define cultural and traditional practices that influence attitudes and behaviors.

For centuries, cultural practices and beliefs promoted by traditional leaders (“Fons”) in the North West Region (NWR) of Cameroon have led to high rates of adolescent pregnancy. In many Cameroon villages, people believe that if a man or woman dies without a child, they should be buried with a stone as a sign of disgrace. There is also the belief that a newlywed girl must prove her maturity and fertility by giving birth as soon as possible after marriage. These societal pressures make early motherhood a likely outcome for many young women. Read more...

Campus-Based Initiative Delivers SRH Information and Services to University Students in Nigeria

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Ajidagba Emman Babatunde (Tunde), Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

Every year in my home country of Nigeria, there are 6.8 million pregnancies. Approximately one in five of them are unintended. There are 3.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS and 60% of new infections occur among young people ages 15 to 24. One reason for these staggering numbers is the low level of contraceptive use among young people, who encounter socio-cultural barriers that prevent them from accessing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Having worked for over 10 years in the field of young adults’ sexual and reproductive health, I have seen firsthand the challenges that young people, particularly those in university settings, confront. They include engaging in risky behaviors like having transactional sex, unprotected sex, and sex with multiple partners, as well as facing the threat of sexual violence. Read more...

Adolescent and Youth Motherhood: What Do Comprehensive SRH Policies Look Like?

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, Espolea (Mexico)

 

Advocating for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people entails much more than giving visibility to what happens when rights are restrained or denied. This endeavor requires a deep understanding of the specific needs that young people have in this regard - usually linked to individual and collective diversities - as well as of the different barriers we might encounter along the way. 

The family planning strategies implemented around the world in the last couple of decades have proven their effectiveness but not necessarily amongst the youngest population. The State of World Population1 released in 2013, revels a startling reality: 7.3 million births occur among girls under 18 every year in developing countries. Among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes a number of middle-income countries, Mexico has the highest birth rate (64.2 per 1,000 births) among adolescents between 15 and 192. Read more...

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