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Plan at Hand Empowers Girls in Tanzania

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)

It all started with three questions: “Why is she left out? What are the key barriers? And, what can be done to effectively change the situation?” The expulsion of pregnant schoolgirls, many of which never return, has continued to widen the gender gap and deprive adolescent girls of the right to education in Tanzania. Issues surrounding sexuality are treated with secrecy and it remains taboo to talk about sex or to be sexually active before marriage. Therefore, teenage pregnancies continue to sky rocket. Pregnant adolescents are viewed as brides, not girls. Alternatives to abstinence are highly inaccessible, as girls need parental consent to access any family planning services. Beyond that, barriers to services include cost, location of the provider, a lack of complete and correct information, and social-cultural barriers, like restrictive norms associated with adolescent girls’ sexuality and provider’s bias. Clearly, there is a dire need for a unique, inclusive, and girl-friendly family planning and reproductive health program in Tanzania, and particularly in Muheza District in Northern Tanzania. Read more...

Young People for Young People: Peer Education in Uganda

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

Today, there are more young people under the age of 30 than ever before, representing half the world’s population. This demographic has been strongly affected by HIV/AIDS. Uganda's youth are estimated to represent 78% of the total population, and this is the age group that is most affected by HIV/AIDS. High-risk, sexually active women account for 36% of youth, while high-risk sexually active men account for 49%. Related to these behavioral challenges are unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and cross-generational sex that are grossly exploitative, especially for the girl child. Young people therefore require full access to reproductive health services and information to protect themselves. Read more...

Adolescent and Youth Motherhood: What Do Comprehensive SRH Policies Look Like?

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)

Advocating for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people entails much more than giving visibility to what happens when rights are restrained or denied. This endeavor requires a deep understanding of the specific needs that young people have in this regard - usually linked to individual and collective diversities - as well as of the different barriers we might encounter along the way. 

The family planning strategies implemented around the world in the last couple of decades have proven their effectiveness but not necessarily amongst the youngest population. The State of World Population1 released in 2013, revels a startling reality: 7.3 million births occur among girls under 18 every year in developing countries. Among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes a number of middle-income countries, Mexico has the highest birth rate (64.2 per 1,000 births) among adolescents between 15 and 192. Read more...

Parliamentarians at #IPCI2014 Advocate for Rights of Women, Girls and Youth

Women Deliver welcomes the strong outcomes of the 6th International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI) held in Stockholm, Sweden on April 23rd-25th. This event that brough together parliamentarians from 125 countries served to reaffirm the strong consensus among global parliamentarians about the importance of positioning, population and development issues at the heart of the international development agenda.

A forward-looking and action-oriented  declaration called “Stockholm Statement of Commitment” was developed, under which parliamentarians unanimously advocated for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights, youth participation,  and gender equality. The statement builds upon the commitments from previous IPCI conferences in Ottawa, Strasburg, Bangkok, Addis Ababa and Istanbul. It also marks the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the end of the original ICPD mandate. Read more...

CPD: Renewed Support for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Gender Equality, and Youth Participation

The week-long 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) ended on Saturday with governments calling for the promotion of gender equality, young people’s participation, and sexual and reproductive health in the next set of development goals. The Commission emphasized the need to advance these issues to achieve sustainable development.

The Commission, which met at UN headquarters in New York, assessed what progress has been made in the 20 years since the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994. There, 179 governments agreed that women’s health and rights must be central to global development policies, programs, and funding. Read more...

Youth-Led Project in Bangladesh Wins Online Voting Competition

Women Deliver is pleased to announce the “Social Rising for Dowry and Early Marriage Prevention” project by S M Shaikat from Bangladesh as the winner of the C-Exchange Seed Grant competition. After almost 1,500 people voted, S M Shaikat will receive an additional US$500 to implement his project to monitor and prevent early marriage and dowry violence. This competition was held with the support of the Women Deliver C-Exchange, a Women Deliver-led private sector forum that includes Johnson & Johnson, WomanCare Global, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, GE, HRA Pharma Foundation, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States). Read more...

Young #WomenInspire us to #InvestInGirls

By Lindsay Menard-Freeman; Originally posted on Huffington Post

March is an exciting time to celebrate girls and women. Women's History Month commemorates the pioneers of women's rights and equality, past and present. International Women's Day encourages us all to continue the fight for women's rights around the world. And this week, the United Nations 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women revives our commitments to build a better future for girls and women everywhere.

This March, however, also marks a particularly critical time for women's health and rights: For the first time in over a decade, we have an opportunity to shape a brand new global development agenda. The 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) generated unprecedented political will and funding for girls' and women's health and rights. Unfortunately though, the MDGs are quickly coming to an end just when we are beginning to gain momentum. 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...

10 Young Leaders, 10 Promising Solutions to Benefit Girls & Women

Women Deliver Awards US$50,000 in Seed Grants to Young Advocates in Africa, Asia & Latin America

New York, NY – Today, in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Women Deliver awarded seed grants of US$5,000 each to 10 young people to support projects aimed at advancing girls’ and women’s health and rights in their communities.

Women Deliver also launched an online voting competition that will allow the public to vote for the project they believe will have the greatest impact. Voting will close on March 20 at 5 PM EST, and the winner will receive an additional $500 for his or her project. Read more...

Women Deliver Young Leader Esther Agbarakwe Nominated for Award

Esther Agbarakwe, one of the 2010 Women Deliver Young Leaders and a speaker at the 2013 Women Deliver global conference has been nominated for the Vlisco Women’s Month Award for her outstanding work as an exceptional climate change policy expert and advocate for the rights of women and girls in Nigeria.The Vlisco Women’s Month Awards celebrate inspiring women in West and Central Africa annually during the month of March. This year’s theme is Dare to Dream: A tribute to women who have faith and courage to realize their dreams.Read more...

It Takes Two to Launch Family Planning Campaign at Third Annual International Women’s Day Concert

5,000 people expected to attend concert to promote girls’ and women’s health and rights

Kampala, Uganda, February 26 – It Takes Two will launch its national youth-focused family planning campaign at Talent Africa’s International Women’s Day concert on March 8. The concert will recognize the importance of women’s health and rights, and feature performances by international and local female artists, including Nyanda, Cindy Sany, Lilian Mbabazi and Irene Ntale among others. Read more...

Groundbreaking Report on ICPD by UN Secretary-General

In addition to the release of the ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also authored a timely and progressive report assessing progress made under the ICPD Programme of Action. In the report, Framework of Actions for the follow up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014, the Secretary-General notes that the ICPD review:

…overwhelmingly supports the ICPD consensus that respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights are necessary preconditions to improving the development, dignity and well-being of all people; and that sexual and reproductive health and rights, and an understanding of the implications of population dynamics are critical foundations for sustainable development. Read more...

The Lancet Publishes New Study on Maternal Mortality in Adolescents

The following contains excerpts from The Lancet article "Maternal mortality in adolescents compared with women of other ages: evidence from 144 countries."

The Lancet has published a new article investigating the toll of maternal mortality on adolescents. Adolescents are often noted to have an increased risk of death during pregnancy or childbirth compared with older women, but the existing evidence is inconsistent and in many cases contradictory. The new study aimed to quantify the risk of maternal death in adolescents by estimating maternal mortality ratios for women aged 15 to 19 years of age by country, region, and worldwide, and to compare the ratios with those for women in other 5-year age groups. Read more...

 

Accelerating Development Agenda Top Priority for ECOSOC

Originally posted by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

With the United Nations development agenda in transition – moving from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era towards a focus not just on poverty eradication but also on the health of the planet – the newly-elected President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) pledged to continue to strengthen that body’s role as a platform for unified dialogue on sustainable and inclusive development. 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...

2013: A Year of Delivering for Girls and Women

As we near the end of 2013, it’s time to look back on the incredible accomplishments of the past year to drive progress for girls and women. From Women’s Deliver’s biggest and brightest global conference to-date to significant progress made in increasing access to family planning and in developing a new global framework that priorities girls and women, this year has been monumental. Advocates from around the world and across sectors joined together to evaluate current and past efforts, analyze lessons learned, and look towards a brighter future. Read more...

Raising Our Voices: Young Leaders at the International Conference on Family Planning

By: Ms. Makda Mikre Tessema, Let Girls Lead AGALI fellow, YWCA Ethiopia

The International Family Planning Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia included more than 4000 people from all over the world bringing together family planning educators, researchers, practitioners and most importantly, the highest number of young people attending an international conference.

Before the official opening of the ICFP conference, I had the great honor to speak at the Family Planning + Social Good pre-conference event, representing Let Girls Lead’s Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative and the YWCA of Ethiopia. Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for over 3 million girls globally. I graduated from Let Girls Lead’s AGALI program in 2010, where I learned to lead changes that improve young people’s lives, including increasing their access to family planning. Read more...

African Ministers of Health and Education Commit to End Child Marriage by 2020

By: Yemurai Nyoni, WD 100 Young Leader and Youth SRHR Advocate; Originally posted by FHI 360

Ministers of Health and Education from 21 countries in the East and Southern African region have committed to end child marriage as part of a broader commitment to ensure comprehensive sexuality education for young people in the region by 2015. The commitment was endorsed on the 7th of December 2013 during the on-going 17th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa and is titled the ‘Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African (ESA). Read more...

Communicating About Sexual Health with Young People: Lessons From Cats and Birds

By: Nina Benedicte Kouassi, Key Correspondents Network

There is a popular saying in many African countries that goes: curiosity killed the cat. It comes from the fable that the cat, out of curiosity, put his head in a pot full of water and died. When it comes to young people asking their parents questions about sex, they are often told: don’t you know curiosity killed the cat? In other words, they are supposed to just keep quiet and never ask this question anymore.In my work with orphans and vulnerable children, I have witnessed often how this proverb was applied. Matters related to sex are not discussed with adolescents out of fear it will encourage them into a sex life too early. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bringing Health Care to Street Youth in Peru

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

The following contains excerpts from INPPARES' Progress Report on Catapult

Successfully reaching vulnerable youth requires strong partnerships with clinics, youth organizations, and governments. It also entails empowering young people themselves to demand their rights. INPPARES is working closely the Cesar López Silva Health Clinic, a center with services tailored specifically to adolescents, to ensure they can meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of vulnerable youth in the Villa El Salvador District of Lima, Peru. The International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region affiliate raised $32,500 through their project on Catapult to do just that. Read more...

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