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Unleash Adolescent Girls’ Potential: A Response to the UN Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report

On Thursday, December 4, 2014, the United Nations Secretary-General released The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet, a report that laid out six human rights and sustainability principles to guide us towards achieving sustainable development. The Report highlighted the importance of including youth in the post-2015 international development process, but could have gone further in affirming the unique rights and needs of more than 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty today. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: GAP Inc. P.A.C.E. Program Drives Female Garment Workers’ Success at Work, Home

By: Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver

Sujatha, a young garment worker from South East Asia, was struggling to care for her family while working as a low-level garment worker. Without access to education or professional training, she had little hope for a better future. Sujatha’s situation dramatically changed whenshe joined Gap Inc.’s Personal Advancement, Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) workplace education program. Today, Sujatha is a supervisor at a Gap Inc. source factory, a role model for her family and community, and living proof that that the benefits of corporate investments to improve the world for women ripple across society and business. Read more...

More Countries and Partners Join Global Effort to Expand Voluntary Access to Contraceptives

Originally posted by Family Planning 2020

Five new commitments to Family Planning 2020 will improve health and drive economic development in the world’s poorest countries.

Family Planning 2020 also announces Rights and Empowerment Principles for Family Planning.

Washington, DC – December 9, 2014: Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), the global partnership dedicated to improving access to family planning information, services and supplies, today announced three additional African nations – Burundi, Cameroon and Togo – made commitments that will enable more women to decide, freely and for themselves, whether and when to have children. The new additions increased the total number of focus countries making pledges to FP2020 to 32. Further commitments to support the achievement of FP2020’s goal through funding and programming were made by The Brush Foundation and EngenderHealth. Read more...

Women Deliver Responds to UN Secretary-General Report on Next Development Agenda

Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon released his synthesis report on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the road ahead for development efforts in the post-2015 era. We, at Women Deliver, welcome this report and its call to action to leave no one behind.

We are pleased to see that human rights and health for all people – regardless of gender, age or nationality – will form the foundation of the next development agenda. And we are particularly encouraged that the report specifically recognizes the critical importance of improving women’s health and rights – as well as the rights and involvement of young people, who are rightly called the “torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030.” Read more...

New Adding it Up Report Shows Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Falling Short

Originally posted by Guttmmacher Institute

Spending $25 Per Woman Each Year Would Dramatically Reduce Maternal and Newborn Deaths

LONDON, 4 December 2014—A new report finds a staggering lack of basic sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries. The report, Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health 2014, finds that currently, 225 million women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraceptives. In addition, tens of millions of women do not receive the basic pregnancy and delivery care they need to protect their health and that of their newborns. Read more...

It Takes Two Campaign Participates in Flash Mob in Uganda

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

To commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1, the It Takes Two campaign joined Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) to organize a flash mob to increase awareness about safe sex practices. Together with Kyuka Youth Outreach – a community-based youth organization that uses dance and creative arts to reach young people with important messages – the Dancing to a Safer Sex Flash Mob Activation sought to empower Ugandan youth with information to help them make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Read more...

Improving SRHR Outcomes For Youth In Uganda Is Within Our Reach

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

By: Wanzala E. Martin, Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda

In a bid to take the quest for improved sexual & reproductive health (SRH) outcomes for young people a notch higher, Allied Youth Initiative - Uganda (AYI - Uganda) conceived the Better-Quality Access for Youth (BAY) project idea to scale-up and deepen engagement around the issue. We have worked with partner organizations across the country over the last six months to advocate for meaningful investments in youth-focused SRH programs as a means to accelerate progress towards achieving the country’s local and international development targets by 2015. Through this initiative, we specifically targeted a diverse group of young people ages 15-30. Read more...

Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Convenes Members in Mexico

Global reproductive health practitioners and advocates convened for the 10th annual general membership meeting of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) in Mexico on October 20th-24th.  The RHSC is a global partnership of public, private and non-governmental organizations working to ensure access and use of affordable, high-quality supplies for better reproductive health in low and middle-income countries. Read more....

For Freedom of Choice

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

By: Maureen Anyango Oduor, Plan At Hand Girl Empowerment Project (Tanzania)

Over the last several decades, there have been continuous efforts to promote and improve access to family planning and reproductive health services, especially in the developing world. Despite these efforts, unmet need for contraceptive is likely to grow by 40 percent in the next 15 years In sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania, where almost half the female population is of reproductive age, 35% of married women still do not have their contraceptive needs met, and the total fertility rate of 5.3 is more than double the world average. In response, the Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment Project has worked over the last 6 months to bridge unmet family planning gaps among adolescents girls in the Tanga region through mobile phone SMS. This project provides girls with an opportunity that most of them term as ''one of its kind”, enabling them to discuss myths and religious misconceptions about reproductive health, and finally have correct information right at hand. Read more... 

The Power of Peer Education

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

By: Humphrey Nabimanya, Reach a Hand Uganda

From a survey that we at RAHU conducted last year, nearly 85% of young people, ages 15-24, think that there is a need for them to whether freely access information on sexual and reproductive health. Young people face issues like unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and cross-generational sex and, therefore, require full access to sexual and reproductive health information and services to protect themselves.

In January 2014, we started the first ever Peer Education Academy in Uganda - a unique initiative to empower young people with life development skills, self-awareness skills, and sexual reproductive health and rights information. Through this program, we trained 50 young people (23 female and 27 male) in peer education; counseling and guidance; sexual and reproductive health and rights; drug, alcohol, and substance use; and integration of social media and sexuality education. 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...

On The March Towards Improved SRHR Outcomes For Youth In Uganda Through Think-And-Thin

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

By: Wanzala E. Martin, Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda

Since March 2014, the Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda (AYI-Uganda) has been working with partner organizations across the country to increase investments in youth-focused sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programs as a means to accelerate progress towards achieving the country’s local and international development targets by 2015. The goal of AYI Uganda’s “Better-Quality Access for Youth” (BAY) project is to gather as many as one million youth voices in support of reproductive rights through online platforms, essay competitions, and street interviews and then petition the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament to ensure adequate investment in youth SRH education and services. Read more...

Young People Must Be Listened To

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)

What does it mean to be fully and richly empowered about sexual health? Is it having adequate comprehensive information about sexual reproductive health and rights? Is it about changing behavior based on the knowledge of harmful sexual practices? Is it having access to sexual reproductive health services? Or could it be the government making the conditions in the country favorable to accessing sexual health information and services? We have been asking ourselves these questions on the FRESH social media platform. We want to know how effective the platform is – how many people it is reaching and is it influencing behavior. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Government Initiative Improves Abortion and Post-Abortion Care in Ghana

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Although Ghana has one of the most progressive abortion laws in sub-Saharan Africa, mortality from unsafe abortion is still a problem. The 2010 maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Ghana was 350 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to an average MMR of 240 in the developing world. One of the largest contributors to maternal deaths are complications from unsafe abortions. The 2007 Ghana Maternal Health Survey estimates that approximately 40% of abortions are performed by untrained providers. Evidence also suggests that many health care providers are not aware of the abortion law. Others may feel that performing an abortion conflicts with their religious beliefs. This lack of knowledge, along with social stigma that surrounds women seeking an abortion, drives the practice underground, resulting in clandestine procedures that are often performed by untrained providers or attempts at a self-induced abortion. Read more...

Creating an Enabling Environment for Youth to Access SRHR Information and Services

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

By: Humphrey Nabimanya, Reach a Hand Uganda

According to statistics from the Uganda Demographic and health survey, the teenage pregnancy rate stands at 24%.  This means one in four teenage girls is pregnant or has had a child. Due the negative attitudes towards sexuality education in schools from School Management and Governance Boards, young people have limited access to accurate information and youth-friendly services while in school. Read more...

Finding New Ways to Reach A Project’s Goals Despite Unexpected Challenges

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

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

The goal of my project is to promote access to comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health services among students at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to reduce unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Although the project has faced some challenges, I have been able to provide strong solutions.

One major challenge for implementing the project was the change in the school calendar due to a national strike by the academic staff at the university. OAU is a federal university and for over two months, the lecturers at the university went on industrial strike to drive home some demands of the government. When the strike ended, the academic calendar had to be adjusted to compensate for the lost time – class schedules and exam periods were changed. 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...

Young Leader Nargis Shirazi Nominated for The Waislitz Global Citizen Award

Nargis Shirazi, one of Women Deliver’s Young Leaders, Founder of the Wo-man Foundation, and It Takes Two Campaign Project Manager, has been nominated for the Waislitz Global Citizen Award in recognition of her work to empower girls and women in Uganda by advancing their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Global Poverty Project, in partnership with Alex Waislitz, presents the award to shine a spotlight on the outstanding individuals who are working to improve the lives of people around the world. Individuals are nominated based on four key areas: embodiment of global citizenship; proven impact with a substantial record of making lasting change and creating opportunities for the world’s poor; innovation that brings new thinking to overcoming the challenges of ending poverty; and the potential to improve their work. Nargis was nominated for this inaugural award alongside David Auerberch from Washington DC and Anoop Jain and Swapnil Chartuvedi, both from India. Read more...

Copenhagen Announced as the Official Location of the Women Deliver 2016 Global Conference

Denmark highlights commitment to girls and women with conference announcement and launch of a new gender framework

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 18 August 2014 – Today, with 500 days left until the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline, advocacy organization Women Deliver and the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Corporation, Mogens Jensen, announced that the next Women Deliver global conference  will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2016. The announcement was made at the Invest in Girls and Women – Everybody Wins event held at the Danish Parliament, where Denmark’s new Strategic Framework for Gender Equality, Rights and Diversity was also launched.

“We are beyond thrilled that the Women Deliver 2016 Conference will be in Copenhagen,” said Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield. “The Danish government has played a key role in advancing girls’ and women’s health and rights and, with its support, this conference could catapult these issues to the forefront of the global development agenda and unify advocates from all around the world around one simple ask: Invest in girls and women – it pays.” Read more...

Sustainable Development Depends on Ensuring Access to Young People’s SRHR

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

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

I’m demanding young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the post-2015 agenda because is their fundamental human right. It encompasses the right of all individuals to make decisions concerning their sexual activity and reproduction, free from all discrimination, coercion, and violence. Access to SRHR ensures individuals are able to choose whether, when, and with whom to engage in sexual activity; to choose whether and when to have children; and to access the information and services to do so.

As we celebrate International Youth Day, even though the global community has made major strides in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes since the International Conference and Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, it is important to remember that millions of people, mostly adolescents, still lack access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services. Read more...

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