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Press Release: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Crucial to Ending Poverty

Originally posted by IPPF

United Nations, New York: A new report launched today reveals that sexual and reproductive health and rights are still nowhere near high enough up on the UN’s list of priorities. The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) “Sexual and reproductive health and rights: a crucial agenda for the post-2015 framework” report, unveiled on the first day of the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), argues if Member States and the UN fail to prioritize women and girls, or sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), then the next development framework cannot hope to end poverty. Read more...

This International Women’s Day, Invest in Our Future

By: Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver; originally posted on Devex

Throughout the last three decades, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to improving the health and well-being of girls and women. I have tremendous gratitude for the trailblazers who made this possible — those around the globe who spoke up for the health and rights of girls and women even when it was unpopular or dangerous to do so. They have made possible all the progress we’ve seen, and inspire me to keep striving for more.

On this International Women’s Day, I want to look ahead to the future and celebrate the young men and women, many of whom weren’t even born when I began my journey, who are not only picking up the torch to advocate for women’s rights, but are carrying it with new fervor, passion and creative thinking. Read more...

Another New Year—And One More Chance to Choose the World We Want

By: Mariela Castro Espín, Cuban MP, President of CENESEX, member of the UN High-Level Task Force for the ICPD; Originally posted on Huffington Post

The coming year is a crucial one for humanity, the future and the planet. Throughout 2014, in a series of global and regional deliberations, representatives from all member states of the United Nations will begin negotiating the basis for a new development framework to be adopted in 2015 that will affect the lives of billions of people from all countries, rich or poor, developed and developing, from north and south, for decades to come. The framework under discussion, known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda, will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which comprise specific goals and targets and served to motivate the international community's mobilization for its followup. The new Development Agenda will need to have as its essential objective eradicating poverty and promoting social, economic and environmental sustainability. Read more...

Large Returns from Small Investments in Women’s and Children’s Health

By: Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA; Originally posted on Huffington Post and devex

A recent study published in The Lancet finds that an increased investment in health of only five dollars per capita per year in 74 of the poorest countries can result in a nine-fold social and economic return. The Global Investment Framework for Women's and Children's Health, supported by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization and other partners, shows that small investments in women's and children's health will yield a large return. By making the additional investments needed for life-saving interventions, it would be possible to not only avoid unnecessary deaths, but also have healthier, more productive individuals, communities and countries. Read more...

An Open Letter to Africa’s Leaders

By: Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique; Originally posted on The Africa Report

H. E. Joaquim Chissano is the former President of Mozambique and current co-chair of the High-Level Task Force for the ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development)

This is a transformative moment for Africa – and indeed, for the world. Decision-makers from across the continent, under the able leadership of Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are finalising a crucial document outlining a common position for Africa on the development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015. Since the 1990s, Africa has gained considerable strength in international negotiations by sticking together and forging consensus on important issues. It is a strategy that has empowered us in many ways. And it means that our voices will be heard when the framework that will guide governments, donors and development partners for years to come is negotiated. So we need to be careful what we ask for. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Universal Periodic Review as an Inroad to Progress

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kyrgyzstan, civil society groups such as Labrys Kyrgyzstan have been struggling for years to convince the government to expand women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, to develop sexuality educations programs, and to effectively prosecute violence against women and LGBT individuals. In the face of strong gender norms and a legislative system reluctant to respond to domestic violence, the path to progress has been long and fraught with obstacles.

In 2010, Labrys Kyrgyzstan and the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) partnered to submit a report to the United Nations through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As a result, the government of Kyrgyzstan accepted recommendations from the Czech Republic and Uruguay to review and reform legislative actions around gender-based violence and hate crimes, and invited Labrys to hold a training for government officials. Read more...

Generation Z Delivers For Women’s Health

By: Joy Marini, Director of Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson; Originally posted on Huffington Post

A few days ago, my 17-year-old daughter asked for help on a school project about "Generation Z." I Googled it immediately. Apparently, "Generation Z" describes those born at the tail end of the Millennial generation (approximately 1982-2002). They are the first generation to grow up with a computer in their home. They are reliant on technology to communicate and surveys indicate that they text and tweet as much as almost 80 times a day. Read more...

Millions of Girls in Developing Countries to be Protected Against Cervical Cancer Thanks to New HPV

Originally posted by GAVI Alliance

A new record low price for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines will help ensure millions of girls in developing countries can be protected against cervical cancer.

Thanks to the GAVI Alliance, the poorest countries will now have access to a sustainable supply of HPV vaccines for as low as US$ 4.50 per dose. The same vaccines can cost more than $100 in developed countries and the previous lowest public sector price was $13 per dose. Read more...

High-Level Panel on Post-2015 Agenda Meets with Civil Society in Liberia

The Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda met in Monrovia, Liberia last week to consult with civil society and discuss the national building blocks required for sustainable progress. Under the main theme of Economic Transformation, panel members focused on the issues of enablers and barriers to economic transformation; equitable and sustainable outcomes; the role of the private sector; partnerships; conflict and fragility; and African perspectives and positions. In total, over 100 participants attended, including 60 civil society representatives. Of these, 40 met with the High-Level Panel members on January 30th. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Rwandan Radio Drama Raises National Health Awareness

By: Harshi Hettige, Women Deliver

Urunana, a Rwandan radio soap, is raising national sexual and reproductive health awareness by broadcasting health information weekly to approximately 10 million people. The engaging plots regularly draw 74% of Rwanda’s population to tune into new episodes twice a week. The show addresses subjects that are often met with silence: HIV and AIDS, family planning, domestic violence, and rape. Where the national average life expectancy is 55 years old and the number of maternal deaths is ranked 145th out of 180, it is vital that Rwandans learn about topical health issues. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Using Social Media to Bridge Gaps Between Religion and Rights

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

A popular campaign that was conceived, developed, and implemented in Mexico is working to bridge divides between religion and rights using social media. In particular, the campaign works to inform the public debate on the role of the Catholic Church in Mexican society, in regards to Catholic teachings and human rights of women and youth, Church hierarchy and Catholic traditions. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Sexual and Reproductive Health Integration for a “Busy Generation”

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

In 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) acknowledged that governments should make information and services available to adolescents to increase awareness of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), including unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and risks of infertility. According to ICPD, this information should be youth-friendly, and involve multiple stakeholders from diverse sectors, at different levels of government. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Nike Foundation Funding for Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

The Nike Foundation continues its commitment to the Girl Effect and the health of girls and women by funding Tostan’s Community Empowerment Programs

Tostan is an international grassroots organization. The Community Empowerment Program is a community-based effort that makes use of the power of social networks to promote knowledge and skills sharing. The program was created with the intention of targeting the most vulnerable in the country: rural girls and women and embraces a holistic and participatory approach. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: A Nepali Radio Show for ‘Mutual Understanding’

By Rati Bishnoi, Women Deliver

Every week, the Samajhdari or “Mutual Understanding” radio show creates a space for Nepali women to “speak out for themselves” and share their often “unspoken, internal dilemmas with one another,” says Programme Director Jaya Luintel. Read more...

Journalist Threatened for Reporting on Female Genital Mutilation

By: Joanna Hoffman, Woman Deliver

Pulitzer-Center grantee Mae Azango has gone into hiding after receiving death threats in response to an article she published last Thursday in FrontPage Africa.  Azango bravely reported on female genital mutilation (FGM) in rural Liberia, and the devastating, and sometimes deadly, aftereffects it can produce. 

Ten out of Liberia’s 16 tribes practice FGM, accounting for up to 85% of the country’s population.  Often, cutting takes place in an unsanitary environment with unsterilized tools, which can lead to infection, tetanus, and HIV transmission.  If fresh tissue is cut and not stitched up, excessive bleeding can lead to shock and death.  Read more...

Komen Foundation Cuts Funding to Planned Parenthood for Breast Cancer Screenings

PlannedParenthood.jpgYesterday, The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced that they will no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings and breast health education programs. Grants from Komen were used to fund nearly 170,000 breast exams over the past five years. Read more...

Maternal Health, Family Planning: A Matter of Must

Originally posted by: FrontPage Africa

By: Mae Azango, one of four African journalists to win a prestigious grant from the Pulitzer Center to cover reproductive health issues


MaeLiberia.jpgFamily planning is now a serious problem in Africa, but many women in underdeveloped Countries are denied access to modern contraception due to inadequate supplies and isolation of rural dwellers in most instances. Other women are denied family planning methods because of cultural backgrounds and religious affiliation.

One would ask why family planning is important and should be made an access free service. According to a report conducted by Women Deliver, every year more than 500,000 women and girls die from pregnancy related complications. This has amounted to one death every minute. Read more...

President Jill Sheffield Announces Partnership With Million Moms Challenge

MillionMoms.pngWomen Deliver is proud to partner with the Million Moms Challenge, a new social media campaign bringing together millions of Americans with mothers in the developing world to share information and solutions relating to healthy pregnancies, deliveries and children. Social media is an effective, far-reaching way to allow moms and maternal health advocates worldwide to discuss critical challenges and life-saving innovations. Read more...

By: President, Jill Sheffield

originally posted on the Million Moms Challenge website. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Advocating for Greater Access to Female Condoms

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

FC.pngDespite continued commercial availability for more than 15 years and ongoing efforts to increase global accessibility, a massive unmet demand for female condoms still exists today. High prices—up to 30 times the price of a male condom in some places—and limited or irregular access have kept the only female-initiated contraceptive method out of reach of many women.

In particular, female condoms act as a “barrier” contraceptive, which means they physically prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Unlike other barrier contraceptives, female condoms also protect the inside and outside of the vagina, thus preventing sexually transmitted infections. Greater access to the female condom for both women and men will increase the instances of protected sex and lead to the reduction of unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortions, and help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. To help prevent these tragedies, last month on World AIDS Day, the United Kingdom committed 5 million pounds for the distribution of female condoms in Africa. Read more...

10 Maternal Health Highlights of 2011

This year has been one of forward momentum, innovative solutions and inspiring individuals. As 2011 comes to a close, it’s time to celebrate achievements and look at some of the most memorable milestones and events of the past year. Moving into 2012, we are armed with the knowledge of what success looks like. We must continue to work to ensure that girls and women are at the heart of development efforts, now and in the years to come. Read more...

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