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Women Deliver Joins the #16Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

As we mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an annual campaign to end all forms of violence against women, Women Deliver is excited to join the global call to action.

Alongside CEO Katja Iversen’s appeal to world leaders and policymakers to make the safety of girls at school a priority in her article for Thomson Reuters Foundation, Women Deliver is sharing the stories of some of our Young Leaders who are taking action to end violence against girls and women around the world. During the next two and a half weeks, we will be updating our Instagram daily with a photo and story about the amazing work our youth advocates are doing in their home countries. Read more...

For Girls, Success Starts with Safe Schools

By: Katja Iversen, Women Deliver; Originally posted by Thomson Reuters Foundation

When I think back to my schooldays, the memories are mostly bright and fond: learning, laughter, friends and play – and the occasional quarrel and teenage tension that come with being a child and growing up.

Most people remember their schooldays fondly, but for too many children the reality is very different. We see bullying; we see fighting; we see sexual assaults. Every year, millions of children, particularly girls, experience physical and/or sexual violence at or on their way to school. Sadly, it is most often teachers, peers, neighbors, and even friends who are the perpetrators. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Youth as Agents of Change in Sierra Leone

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Every 10 minutes, an adolescent girl dies from violence somewhere in the world, according to a new UNICEF report. Think about that for a moment—in the timespan of an 8 hour workday, forty-eight girls will have died as a result of violence. And many more will suffer from the violence they face day after day, minute after minute. We may never truly know the exact number, due to the shame, stigma and sometimes dangerous repercussions girls face when they attempt to speak out. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Girl Advocates Fighting Child Marriages in Malawi

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Malawi is one of the top ten hotspots of child marriage worldwide, with five out of every ten girls married off before the age of 18. This is majorly attributed to strong taboos around child and early marriage practices such as the Kusasa Fumbi practice, in which girls (usually aged 10-12) who have just begun their menstrual cycles  have sex with a man as a way of removing “childhood dust;” Chitomero, another common practice that encourages parents to offer dowry to an older man who agrees to marry their young daughter; and kupimbira, a practice in the northern part of Malawi where a young daughter is married off as repayment for a debt.

These practices expose girls to HIV and sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), denying much the chance to finish school and exposing them to higher risks of maternal mortality due to early pregnancies. Child and early marriages violate a girl’s right to education and choice on who and when to get married, perpetuating poverty levels among various communities. Read more...

11 Days of Action for International Day of the Girl Child

Adolescence is a critical time in a girl’s life, when choices and opportunities define the present and future of the world. While half of the world’s population is under 30, mostly living in developing countries, young people – specifically young women – face barriers to realizing their rights and full potential. From child marriage and unintended pregnancy to lack of education and exposure to violence, girls are often compromised from a safe and healthy transition from childhood to adulthood. Read more...

Maasai Lead Way to Ending Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya

By: Sidi Sarro, Key Correspondents

On 22 July, the UK is hosting the first-ever Girl Summit, which aims to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage. Sidi Sarro reports on how Kenya’s Maasai community are embracing alternative rites of passage for their girls.

Dressed in colourful kangas (traditional wrappers) and adorned in brightly-coloured beads and a headdress, 13 year old Naserian steps out to receive her certificate. She is one of many Maasai girls who are undergoing a symbolic ceremony which ushers them into womanhood. The air is filled with festivities and there is a distinct aroma of roasting meat. Read more...

Jagoroni: The Rising of a Movement against Dowry and Early Marriage

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

By: SM Shaikat, SERAC-Bangladesh

Early marriage and dowry-related violence are harmful practices, but they are common in Bangladesh. When girls marry, they often drop out of school and have limited social interaction. Currently, just 45% of adolescent girls are enrolled in secondary school, and even fewer attend regularly. Domestic violence occurs all too often and with impunity. From January to September 2013, 265 cases of violence against women occurred; 128 women died from physical torture, but just 111 cases were filed against the perpetrators.

Most cases of marriage-related violence are never reported and some are intentionally covered up. Until recently, no group existed in Bangladesh that could track and prevent these types of gender violence. To address this situation, I developed a project called Jagoroni, a Bengali word that means “rising.” I’m creating a youth-led watchdog system to eliminate dowry- and child marriage-related violence against girls and women in Mymensingh district, which has the highest rates of violence in the country. Read more...

Stop Sexual Assaults & Violence Against Syrian Women & Girls

By: Tewodros Melesse, Director-General, International Planned Parenthood Federation; Originally posted on Huffington Post

The humanitarian situation in Syria has sharply deteriorated and though media interest in the conflict has ebbed and flowed the crisis affecting Syrians has steadily grown. Breaches of human rights by both sides and, as bombardment and shooting has continued so has another war -- a war of sexual assault and violence against women and girls. Vast numbers of Syrians are now displaced -- in their own country and around its borders. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Sex Trafficking Survivors in the Philippines

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) is a non-governmental organization that works to end human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls worldwide. It is the world’s first organization to fight human trafficking internationally. With funding received from Catapult,  developed an innovative camp for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation in Manila, Philippines to provide support, education, and trainings. The three-day program, which took place this past September, built the capacity of self-help groups and provided support to survivors through counseling aimed to equip survivors with knowledge about women’s rights, create a safe space to share their experiences, and provide trainings in leadership and organizing. Read more...

Blog Action Day: Girls’ and Women’s Rights are Human Rights

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Today is Blog Action Day, bringing together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages together to talk about one important global issue. This year’s topic is human rights, one which is at the core of sexual and reproductive health and rights. At Women Deliver, we firmly believe that what we call “women’s issues” are issues that matter to all humans, and that girls’ and women’s rights should be advocated for as human rights. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Stopping Violence in its Tracks

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Throughout the year, I receive emails from well-meaning friends and family with tips on how to avoid sexual assault and remove myself from life-threatening situations. I agree that safety is important, but I think that preventing gender-based violence in the first place is much more effective than trying to avoid it. In Massachusetts in the United States, domestic violence social workers have designed an assessment system that identifies abusers with homicidal tendencies and intervenes right away to prevent attacks before they happen. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: How Women in Zambia are Fighting Gender Discrimination and HIV Stigma

By: Constance Ngenda, Key Correspondents

Violence and discrimination against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions, but in Zambia one woman is taking on the challenge to change her community. Jamillar Katambo from Lusaka was widowed when her husband died of an AIDS-related illness. When Jamillar found out her HIV positive status a few years ago, she and a friend started running an orphanage with the support of the Muslim community where she lives. Read more...

WHO Report Highlights Violence Against Women as a Global Health Problem

Original news release posted on the World Health Organization website

Physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally, according to a new report released by WHO in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council.

The report, Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners. Some 35% of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. The study finds that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30% of women worldwide. Read more...

Time to Bridge the Gap for Women’s Health

By: Serra Sippel and Zeda Rosenberg; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Nearly 20 years ago, the global community gathered at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and declared -- for the first time -- that a woman's right and ability to control her reproductive health was fundamental to her well-being and key to global development. That meeting sparked two decades of advances for women, and the pace has been accelerating. In just the past year, the London Summit on Family Planning led to unprecedented pledges to increase access to products and services for women in developing countries, a UN Commission called for increased access to life-saving maternal health products, and the UN created new policy standards to end violence against women and girls. Read more...

More Than “Just a Blog”: Chatting With Girls’ Globe

By: Amie Newman; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

As we head into the week prior to the 2013 Women Deliver conference, the largest global meeting of the decade to focus on the health and well-being of girls and women, we thought it would be a perfect time to highlight the voices and stories of some of the amazing advocates, from around the world, who are attending this monumental world meeting. Today, meet Julia Wiklander founder of Girls' Globe. Read more...

Voices of Advocates Part 1: Domestic Violence (Trinidad &Tobago)

Originally posted on ThinkBrigade

This opinion piece is published in collaboration with Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders, liaised by Bijoyeta Das. Ife Smith is one of the 100 Young Leaders for 2012-2013. 

The story of a young woman who endured both domestic violence and a court system that is unfriendly to the poor. A hard-working, law-abiding young woman who made the wrong decision of entering into a relationship with someone she thought she knew. During this relationship she endured physical, mental and emotional abuse. Not only did she had to literally run for her life, but the life she now has she can barely call her own because of  her country’s inhumane, unfriendly and insufferable legal system which she had to turn to for help.

 

Government Ministers and UN, NGO Representatives Focus on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

Government Ministers and UN, NGO Representatives from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Middle East Focus on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls and Fulfilling Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

(March 7, New York) - At a roundtable meeting on March 5 hosted by the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD), Government Ministers, delegates to the 57thCommission on the Status of Women (CSW),  and representatives from UN agencies and non-governmental organizations—164 individuals representing 36 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East—shared recommendations for action around the event’s theme, Charting a Forward-Looking Agenda–Ending Violence Against Women and Girls and Fulfilling Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All. Read more...

 

CHIME FOR CHANGE: Powered by Catapult

By: Maz Kessler, Founder, Catapult

What do Beyoncé and Catapult have in common? Yes, it’s true, in addition to founding Catapult, I’m also a musician. But the real answer is that a number of incredible women, including Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek-Pinault, are taking the lead on a new global initiative: CHIME FOR CHANGE. Founded by Gucci, and powered by Catapult. Read more...

Three Global Priorities for Women and Girls

By: Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group; Originally posted on Huffington Post

In recent decades, the status of women and girls has improved around the world, but much more needs to be done. The vicious rape and death of a young woman in Delhi recently horrified us all, and also underlined just how far the world needs to go in order to protect women and girls. Violence against women is far too pervasive - an estimated 510 million women alive today will be abused by their partner in their lifetime. Read more...

Gender-Based Violence: Three Dead Bodies, Zero Safe Space

By: Jos Dirkx; Originally posted on Mail & Guardian

Jos Dirkx is the founder and director of award-winning NGO Girls & Football South Africa. She spoke at TedX on "Girls, Football and Learning" and is a Women Deliver 2013 Young Leader. She has worked at the United Nations in Sudan and Eritrea, has lived in 10 countries, and is passionate about gender equality, media, technology and change.

Three stories regarding gender-based violence have recently "shocked" the world: the rape and mutilation of 23-year-old Indian Jyoti Singh Pandey on a public bus in New Dehli, the rape and disembowelment of 17-year-old South African Anene Booysen in a small 'dorp' near Cape Town, and the killing of 29-year-old South African Reeva Steenkamp in her boyfriend's luxury residence in Pretoria. Read more...

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