Creative Approaches to Addressing the Unmet Need for Contraceptives

By: Jill Sheffield; Originally posted on Maternal Health Task Force

Recently, a new study by the Guttmacher Institute and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) informed the world that while the overall unmet need for contraceptives has declined, in the Global South—where 73% of all women with unmet need live—the number has significantly increased. Read more...


Celebrate Solutions: SHE Helps Girls Stay in School

By: Connie Lewin, SHE Global Fellow; Sustainable Health Enterprises is a winner of the Women Deliver 50.

Rarely mentioned in public, this taboo subject is steeped in fear and shame. It’s often hushed about behind closed doors and some girls and women even face social stigma if they are known to have it. This taboo is not any type of disease, but a natural occurrence for half of the global population. The shroud of secrecy that covers menstruation is widespread, and it has resulted in significant costs to public health, economic development, and girls’ and women’s dignity. Read more...

Maternova’s Innovations Shape a Better World For Mothers and Newborns

By: Meg Wirth, Maternova; Maternova is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

Maternova focuses on making innovations for maternal and newborn health accessible in an efficient and rapid marketplace. 

Our venture is a social enterprise dedicated to accelerating the reduction of maternal/newborn morbidity and mortality. Maternova began as a knowledge platform but swiftly added its marketplace for path-breaking innovations based on input from its users.  Read more...

Plan International: Reach for the Stars

By: Keshet Bachan, Plan International; Plan International is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

A narrow one-way lane leads to a dirt track about 5 hours south of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. To one side of this dirt track sits a small one room shack where Srey Pha, her elder brother, younger brother and parents all live together. Srey Pha’s mother, Hean Ra, couldn’t attend school because she had to help her mother with the house chores and take care of her younger siblings. When she was 16, a local farmer who knew her parents asked for her hand in marriage. After a year of steady pressure by her parents, she relented and agreed to marry a man 10 years her senior. She now hopes her daughter will have a better future. “I advise my daughter to study hard, I tell her if you don’t study you will regret it, end up like me. I want her to be a teacher or a health worker”. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Chanan Development Association Empowers Youth

By: Linda Nyanchoka, Women Deliver; Chanan Development Association is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

Young people play a major role in addressing the health and development issues affecting their country. At the young age of 12, Muhammad Shahzad protested against the arranged marriage of his 15 year old sister to an older man in his fifties by going on a hunger strike. This action influenced his family and community, and led to his family calling off the marriage. Muhammad has since dedicated his life to being an agent of change. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Transforming Victims into Advocates

By: The GEMS Team;  GEMS was a winner of the Women Deliver 50

GEMS’ Youth Leadership program delivers solutions for commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked (CSE) girls and young women, equipping them to reach their full potential. Since its inception in 2003, the program has succeeded in empowering generations of youth survivors of the commercial sex industry to become leaders and advocates to end the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Skillz Street Changes the Game for Girls in South Africa

By: Elise Braunschweig; Grassroot Soccer is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

SkillzStreet_Soccer.jpgSouth Africa is enduring one of the world‘s most severe HIV epidemics with an adult prevalence rate of 16.9%. Research shows that three inter-related risk factors—harmful gender norms and gender-based violence, multiple partners, and age-disparate sex—are driving the epidemic and that HIV is disproportionately concentrated among women and girls. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Mobile Technology as Innovative Communication Channel for Reproductive Health

By: Eunice Namirembe and Bas Hoefman, Text to Change is a winner of the Women Deliver 50.

According to the Guttmacher Institute/IPPF publication Facts on the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescent Women in the Developing World, it is estimated that in Sub-Saharan Africa, 67% of married adolescent women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using any method and about 12% are using traditional methods of family planning. They further state that 42% of unmarried, sexually active women are using no family planning method at all. This could be due to the fact that access to knowledge about contraceptive methods is a major barrier for young people in Africa. An added challenge is overcoming the common myths and misconceptions about contraception. Often, young people are reluctant to seek information or clarification about contraception from a clinic setting because of concerns around privacy and confidentiality, cost of services, and provider biases. Convenience of clinic locations and hours of operation is another challenge for many young people.  Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Traditionally Attending Birth – Promoting Maternal Health Today

By Kate Ixer; Health Poverty Action is a winner of the Women Deliver 50.

TBAHealthPovertyAction.JPGIn April 2010, Sierra Leone introduced free health care for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers to help reduce the maternal mortality and morbidity rate. Almost two years on from this watershed significant improvements have been made and many women have received the health care which they previously would not have been able to afford. Sierra Leone, a country where 70% of the population is living in extreme poverty, illustrates that free health care is crucial to improving women’s health rights. Read more... 

Strength in Unity: Girls Not Brides and the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage

By: Laura Dickinson, Communications Officer, Girls Not Brides; The Partnership to End Child Marriage is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

“Child brides are some of the world’s most isolated people. We are delighted that the work of Girls Not Brides and its members to give these girls a voice and to empower those vulnerable to child marriage has been recognised by Women Deliver,” said Marianna Brungs, Coordinator of Girls Not Brides, as the new global partnership to end child marriage was recognised as one of the “most inspiring ideas and solutions delivering for 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...

Reducing Maternal Mortality in Haiti

By: Nadene Brunk, Midwives for Haiti is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

MidwivesForHaiti.jpgMidwives For Haiti began educating Haitian women, in the skills that save mother's lives, in 2006. We began by teaching under trees, in the laundry room of a hospital, in an outdoor restaurant; wherever we could find room to teach and learn. With no textbooks in Creole, the native language of the majority of women in Haiti, we improvised and created teaching materials with our students. We learned that Haitian women are hungry for knowledge and have seen enough maternal and infant death to know they want to be a part of ending the suffering and grief. Read more...

Woman’s Condom: Expanding Options for Dual Protection

By: Kimberly Whipkey, Global Advocacy Specialist, PATH; Woman's Condom is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

PATHcondom.jpgWomen need access to dual protection and more female-controlled options.

If you’ve been following the discussion around the World Health Organization’s technical guidance on hormonal contraception and HIV, chances are you’ve seen this message emerge. So what female-controlled, dual protection methods are available today—methods that help prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV? Read more...

Creating a Safe Space for Young Mayan Girls

By: Jennifer Catino and Alejandra Colom, Population Council; Abriendo Oportunidades (“Opening Opportunities”) is a winner of the Women Deliver 50

Abriendo.jpgClaudia*, a Mayan girl visiting from her village home in El Cerro Grande, arrived at a Guatemala City hospital with severe abdominal pains. After a brief medical exam she was released by the doctor, who found nothing wrong with her.

Claudia belongs to Guatemala’s most disadvantaged group: indigenous young females. Girls like her typically live in isolated rural communities with limited access to basic services like water, sanitation, passable roads, schooling, and health care. Their lives are marked by early marriage, frequent childbearing, social isolation, violence, and chronic poverty. Often they are disregarded by more affluent Guatemalans, like the doctor who examined her. Read more... 

“Women Deliver 50” Honors Bright Ideas and Big Solutions

By: Jessica Mack, Orginally posted on RH Reality Check 

International Women’s Day, March 8, is a harbinger of lists. Those lists are usually awesome and inspiring – hundreds of women who shake the world, deliver for girls and women, or are simply deemed “top in the world.” (Why these lists don’t come out more than once or twice a year is beyond me). But this year, sifting through International Women’s Day emails, events, and announcements, I was pleasantly surprised to see a different kind of list. 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...

Interview: ONE talks to Women Deliver Founder Jill Sheffield

By Erin Hohlfelder; Originally posted on ONE Blog.

I recently sat down with Jill Sheffield, founder of Women Deliver, an organization that works to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health, to talk about her plans for International Women’s Day, the Women Deliver 50 list and the fight for women’s equality and empowerment. Read more...

Celebrating International Women’s Day Every Day

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver; Originally posted on the Huffington Post

Today, on the 101st anniversary of International Women's Day, we celebrate girls and women, and the tremendous contributions they make to families, communities and the world. As my friends Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have so profoundly said, women do hold up half the sky. They contribute up to one-third of global gross domestic product, and their health and education create a domino effect of positive outcomes. In turn, the world needs to ensure that girls and women have access to the information and services they need to stay healthy.

There could not be a more urgent time for the global community to focus our efforts on maternal and reproductive health. Each year, more than 358,000 women die from pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications. Approximately 99 percent of these deaths occur in the developing world, and the vast majority are entirely preventable. Read more...

Women Deliver 50: the Most Inspiring Ideas and Solutions That Deliver for Girls and Women

By: Jill Sheffield, President, Women Deliver

WD50_Photo.gifInternational Women’s Day is an opportunity for the global community to celebrate the contributions of girls and women to our families, communities and nations. It is also a time to reflect on the issues and challenges that face girls and women everywhere, from maternal deaths to poor access to healthcare to child marriage to violence.

Last year, Women Deliver highlighted 100 leaders who are making a difference for girls and women. This year, we released the Women Deliver 50, which puts a spotlight on inspiring ideas and solutions to improve the health and well-being of girls and women through an online contest. We put out a global call for nominations, a selection committee chose 125 finalists, and the public voted for 50 winners. 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...


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