UN Launches Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children

NEW YORK, 23 March 2012 – UNICEF and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, today launched a high-level commission to improve access to essential but overlooked health supplies that could save the lives of millions of women and children every year.

“Making sure that women and children have the medicines and other supplies they need is critical for our push to achieve the MDGs,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The Commission will tackle an overlooked but vital aspect of health systems, and ensure that women and children are protected from preventable causes of death and disease.” Read more...

It’s Time to Deliver for Girls and Women

By: Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, Regional Director of the Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office; Originally published in The Independent

A few weeks ago, on 8 March, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, which serves as a clarion call to honor girls’ and women’s contributions to their families, communities and nations. As our global population swells to over 7 billion, we must heed this call by working to ensure that every girl and woman lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Here in Africa, we are doing just that. On 27-28 March, policymakers, researchers and advocates from across the continent – including Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni and Minister of Health Honorable Dr. Christine Ondoa – are gathering in Kampala for a regional consultation on maternal and reproductive health. At this meeting, convened by Partners in Population and Development and global advocacy organization Women Deliver, experts will discuss lessons learned, best practices and challenges for improving the health and wellbeing of girls and women. Read more...

Two UNFPA Projects for Men Selected as Part of the ‘Women Deliver 50’

Originally posted by UNFPA; Schools for Husbands and Real Men Never Hit Women are winners of the Women Deliver 50.

family.jpgTwo UNFPA-supported projects dealing with men have been voted as among the 'Women Deliver 50' most inspiring ideas or solutions in terms of delivering for women. The competition, organized by Women Deliver in conjunction with International Women's Day, celebrates the progress made on behalf of girls and women worldwide.

The Schools for Husbands, launched by UNFPA in Niger, educates married men on reproductive health in order to improve access to maternal and newborn health services. The schools, which are endorsed by official authorities, traditional leaders, and religious leaders, bring together well-respected men in the community, twice a month, to discuss specific concerns centered on reproductive health. Read more...

The Word on Women - International Women’s Day: Voices from the Ground

By: Lyric Thompson, Originally posted on TrustLaw

This International Women’s Day, I had the privilege of sitting on the selection committee for Women Deliver’s 50 most inspiring ideas and solutions to deliver for girls and women, an annual campaign to honor the contributions of individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing female empowerment around the world.
It was a tremendous task. We received hundreds of submissions from across the globe, all inspiring accounts of innovations and ideas that are advancing women’s health, educational and economic opportunities, social and political empowerment and more. For someone whose entire career has been devoted to this field, I was newly energized by the number, quality and diversity of submissions, and grateful for the opportunity to learn about so much good work being done around the world, by organizations large and small.
I was personally pleased to see the efforts of phenomenal organizations I’ve had the pleasure to work directly with were finalists: Women for Women International’s work with male religious, military and community leaders to promote women’s safety and rights made the final 125, as did an innovative International Center for Research on Women program to protect and empower girls in Tanzania. 
And today, the votes are in. The 50 most inspiring ideas and solutions to deliver for girls and women have been announced and will be promoted throughout the forthcoming year. A big congratulations goes out to the groups and individuals involved in some of the most promising global efforts to promote equality, prosperity and peace through the full inclusion and empowerment of women and girls. From eco-friendly sanitary pads in Rwanda, to “Husband Schools” in Niger, to a youth leadership program engaging former sex slaves to end domestic trafficking in the U.S., these interventions and innovations truly do inspire.
There is hence much cause for celebration on this 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day. Yet there is also cause for reflection on the work left to be done.  As I reviewed the many submissions, I was particularly struck by the words of a Ghanaian woman who used the forum to write not about a particular idea or innovation that is helping women and girls, but about the areas in which she has seen little progress in her community: exploitation and violence against women. Her submission was a stark reminder of the distance we have yet to traverse before all women will enjoy security and true equality.
The words of our Ghanaian sister have awakened in me a deep appreciation for the reasons we observe International Women’s Day. My first experience living abroad was in Ghana, so the connection was all the stronger upon reading. Today I can think of no better way to honor the call to action she has put forward than by giving voice to them here. I have reprinted them below, providing slight edits for ease of reading, but the substance and the poetry of her testimony remains unchanged.
As we salute the year’s most inspiring progress in promoting the health, education, economic advancement and leadership of women and girls, I also offer the unmediated thoughts of our ally on the ground to serve as a reminder of the road ahead.
Happy International Women’s Day; may it be a day of celebration, inspiration and reflection for us all.
"Violence Against Women is the most common thing which is going on day in and day out in my country, killing of women as [they] come to stay with people. Any mistake a woman does will bring war at home, but every mistake a man does is right—why? Sexual Abuse in  homes,  Rape and Beating from [the] Husband—why?
I think this is The Right Time for every Woman to stand and fight for her rights, and to create a violence-free world for every Woman.  Woman has stayed for too long in the Dark. Let us also share the Good Things we have in us, for the whole world.
Maternal Health is very important for every pregnant woman. Every woman stands as a Big Tree in Her family. Whether you believe it or not, The Answer is Yes.  Because women are the people who suffer most in homes, I will be very glad if there would be a Law that will stop every pregnant woman from having to sell things on their heads at the road side. I think this can also help save more lives in some African countries as well. I think many organizations have to step in to train more and more African woman and girls in maternal health. I know this will enhance more understanding in many African communities, hospitals, and the World as a whole.
I would also like to share this with our African Men: Please help your wives at home by washing clothes or cooking, bathing the children, or cleaning the rooms.  I don't think this is a Sin if You assist your wives in doing this; I know this will bring total balance and joy into your family. 
Sex Trafficking is the leading problem in some African communities. School girls from the ages of 10 to 12 to 15 years go out with Big Men and have sex with them—why? Mothers should stop giving their girls to strangers that they don't know very well. Sometimes these people may appear to you very good from their [heads] up to [their] toes, but inside them is Black.  Some of these Traffickers travel from the cities to the rural communities just to go and Tell Many Lies To Innocent Girls. In the rural communities, these are some of their Tricks:
“Wards do you know you look very beautiful?” “Let’s go to the Main City; you will get lots of Money and Cars, Clothes,” and so [on].  Some will also tell the girl’s mother, “I own a Very Big  Company so I want Girls to work for Me.”
And when they bring in those girls to the city, first of all they take them out into Night Clubs. Then inside the night club these women will tell the Girls to go and dance with the men inside.  From this stage just guess what will happen to those poor girls. If this trafficking lady finds that  some of the men have fallen in love with any of the girls, she will walk to The Man face to face [and say:] “You cannot take her away without payment of Money to me.” Then you see that she will speak to The Poor Girl: “Do whatever this Man asks you to do, okay?” Then she will give her phone number to the Girl: “Call me if the Man wants to hurt you. Just let me know.”
All [this] is lies. Just pretending as if she really cares, and from there she will tell the poor Girl to go with The Stranger Man.  Then this Man will take the Girl in to a hotel to have sex with her as many [times] as he wishes, because he has given Huge Money to this woman who travels to rural areas just to tell fake stories to poor Girls.
Those Girls will just end their lives with this Deadly HIV AIDS Infection. My little advice to women and girls is: “Don't let  people waste your lives. Look sharp and Focus. Read wide and let your Eyes Open like an Eagle Bird.”

Lyric.jpgThis International Women’s Day, I had the privilege of sitting on the selection committee for Women Deliver’s 50 most inspiring ideas and solutions to deliver for girls and women, an annual campaign to honor the contributions of individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing female empowerment around the world.

It was a tremendous task. We received hundreds of submissions from across the globe, all inspiring accounts of innovations and ideas that are advancing women’s health, educational and economic opportunities, social and political empowerment and more. Read more...

The “Women Deliver 50” is Announced!


On International Women’s Day, Women Deliver features grassroots and global initiatives that promote a better world for girls and women.

March 7, 2012, New York – Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization, today announced the “Women Deliver 50,” a compilation of the 50 most inspiring ideas and solutions that are delivering for girls and women across the globe.  After receiving hundreds of online nominations from 103 countries, a selection committee chose 125 finalists to be voted on by the public. More than 6,000 individuals participated in the online voting.

“The solutions on this list show that with ingenuity, drive and dedication, we can build a better world for girls and women,” said Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver Founder and President. “We are proud to celebrate these organizations and programs, which are pioneering real, lasting, social change at the local and global levels. We have seen time and time again that when we invest in girls and women, entire societies benefit.” Read more...

Launch of First-Ever Global Map of Devastating Childbirth Injury

fistula-map.gifSANTA BARBARA, CA/ SAN JOSE, CA/ UNITED NATIONS, New York—The largest and most comprehensive map of available services for women living with obstetric fistula was launched today by Direct Relief International, the Fistula Foundation, and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. The release of the Global Fistula Map, a major step forward in understanding the landscape of worldwide treatment capacity for obstetric fistula, will help streamline the allocation of resources and raise awareness of the condition.

Obstetric fistula, one of the most devastating childbirth injuries, is caused by the lack of a skilled birth attendant and access to emergency care during delivery. It is a highly stigmatizing, though in most cases treatable condition that results from prolonged, obstructed labor and causes chronic incontinence. According to currently accepted estimates, there are some 50,000-100,000 new cases every year. Read more...

Calls for Second Round of Applicants for Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge

Calling all innovators: Do you have an “audacious but achievable” idea to prevent or treat the causes of maternal and neonatal deaths?

If so, then it’s time to prepare an application for the second round of grants for the Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development. USAID, Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank have released a request for applications to award $18 million in Saving Lives at Birth grants in fiscal year 2012. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Using Sports to Level the Playing Field

By: Rati Bishnoi

For the thousands of Kenyan girls participating in the Moving the Goalposts sports program in Kilifi district, Kenya, playing soccer is not just a physical exercise. Instead, participating in the girls-only sports program is an exercise in learning to be confident, growing into leaders, and re-envisioning a world in which girls can do just as much as—and be just as respected as—boys. Read more...

Understanding the Girl Effect

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver; Originally posted on the Impatient Optimist 

girl_effect_gates.jpgOn Friday, The Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog posted an opinion piece by Dr. Ofra Koffman that questions the contributions that girls and young women can make to economies when they delay childbirth. Koffman argued that the so-called “Girl Effect” of delaying childbirth does not necessarily “stop poverty before it starts,” as the Department for International Development (DFID) claims.

However, the “Girl Effect” is about much more than adolescent fertility. It’s about the holistic approach to harnessing the power of girls and women—from literacy to the elimination of death in early childbirth to leadership opportunities—and how these factors come together to reduce global poverty. Read more...

10 Facts About Contraception (And How It Changed the World) That Every Man and Woman Should Know

Excerpt of a blog by Keli Goff, author of The GQ Candidate and a Contributing Editor for

Below is a list of the most powerful ways contraception has impacted and continues to impact the world, from issues such as literacy to life expectancy rates of women. 

1. In countries with the highest fertility rates, women have the shortest life expectancies.

Women in Sierra Leone live half as long as women in developed countries and 10 years less than their African counterparts in some African countries, and no, this is not merely due to the history of civil unrest. One in eight Sierra Leonean women dies in childbirth. In other countries like Chad, where women are likely to give birth to six or more children, women are lucky to live to age 55. Read more...

Obama’s Contraception Compromise Should Satisfy All Sides

Originally posted in the Daily News

By: Frances Kissling, Senior Advisor to Women Deliver

One of those thorny, negotiate-for-two-generations-and-still-kill-each-other battles has been going on for months in Washington over the definition of a religious institution and whether such groups will need to comply with administration policy requiring employers to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Recognizing the Midwives - Making Afghanistan Safer for Mothers and Newborns

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern for Women Deliver

Maliha.jpgIn December, Mahila became the first winner of UNFPA’s Delivering Health, Saving Lives award for outstanding Afghan midwivesAt the young age of 25, Mahila has delivered hundreds of babies and is now recognized as the best midwife in the northeastern province of Badakhsan.

In 2008, Mahila graduated from the Community Midwives Education Programme after spending two years gaining basic level knowledge and skills related to obstetrics, neonatology, public health, family planning, prenatal care, delivery, and post-pregnancy careArmed with this technical knowledge, Mahila and other graduates of the Afghan Midwives Association and UNFPA-supported midwifery programme are helping to make Afghanistan a safer place for mothers and their children. Read more...

Gates Foundation: Every Woman Should Have Access to Family Planning

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

GlobalFundGates.jpgThis week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released their annual letter from Bill Gates, identifying family planning as a priority area for 2012. When women have access to family planning, Gates explains, poverty is reduced, more children are educated, and governments are better able to meet the needs of their people. This allows governments and citizens to benefit from the “demographic dividend”, referring to decreases in family size resulting in a higher number of educated youth. When these youth reach working age, they boost productivity and economic growth for their country. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Lifeway Foods Joins Christy Turlington to Promote Maternal Health

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

Last week, Lifeway Foods announced the launch of its national Every Mother Counts Sweepstakes and fundraising campaign to support maternal health. Founded by model, filmmaker and maternal health advocate Christy Turlington Burns, Every Mother Counts is an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal health worldwide. 

Lifeway is a leading supplier of kefir and organic kefir cultured dairy products. Specially-marked bottles of Lifeway’s Lowfat Kefir will contain entry codes on the bottle cap, which can then be entered into the sweepstakes app at the Lifeway Kefir Facebook Page. All entries for the grand prize must be received before March 11 and the winner will be announced on March 14. Read more...

Women Deliver Partners with the International Museum of Women in Online Exhibition on Motherhood

Women Deliver is proud to partner with the International Museum of Women for the launch of their new, online exhibition MAMA: Motherhood Around the GlobeRead more...

Global Health and Diplomacy (GHD) Magazine Launches at the World Economic Forum

ghd.gifDavos, Switzerland – January 25, 2012 - Global Health and Diplomacy (GHD), a publication that provides a forum for communication between heads of state, health ministers, first ladies, civil society leaders, the private sector and global health experts, was launched today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

This publication fills the existing gap in the dialogue between global health, diplomacy, development and security. For many years these discussions have been compartmentalized into different journals. Global health solutions need to be broad based and encompass all stakeholders, thus, a publication that allows government officials, civil society, the private sector and global health experts to engage, discuss and offer solutions is an absolute necessity. Read more...

Calling All Mothers, Calling All Babies: Introducing HuffPost Global Motherhood

By: Arianna Huffington
Originally posted by: Huffington Post, Global Motherhood 

GlobalMotherhood.jpgI'm delighted to announce the launch of Global Motherhood, a new section within HuffPost Impact dedicated to the health and well being of mothers and babies around the world, and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. Read more...

New Report Shows Increase In Unsafe Abortion

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

Guttmacher.gifThe long-term decline of abortions worldwide has stalled, and unsafe abortions are now on the rise, according to Induced Abortion: Incidence and Trends Worldwide from 1995 to 2008, a report by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization (WHO) published yesterday by The Lancet. After a global decline in abortion rates from 35 per 1000 women in 1995 to 28 in 2008, progress has now stagnated.  The proportion of unsafe abortions out of total abortions has risen from 44% in 1995 to 49% in 2008. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: A Commitment to the Health and Livelihood of India’s Women

By: Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Associate 

Zubaida Bai’s relationship with postpartum infection is a personal one. As a consequence of unsanitary birthing conditions and practices, she contracted an infection that led to years of suffering. Rather than allow her misfortune to deter her work, the engineer turned social entrepreneur shifted her time and energy toward developing a clean delivery birthing kit that could help prevent the deaths of the nearly 600,000 women and nine million infants that lose their lives to postpartum infection each year. Read more... 

Celebrate Solutions: Making Maternal Health Affordable for All

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager 

DeLaVega.jpgIn the early 1970s, Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega read a newspaper article about a poor mother of nine children who was imprisoned after she stabbed herself in the stomach to prevent a tenth pregnancy. After visiting the woman in jail, De La Vega realized how limited information on and access to family planning services were in Mexico, and particularly for poor and marginalized women.  

She then went on to found the private, non-profit Hospital de la Familia, which offers holistic, sliding-scale health care and counseling for the women of Juarez, Mexico. To date, the hospital has treated more than 1.7 million patients and overseen the healthy births of more than 116,000 babies. Read more...

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