Book Review: Somalian Memoirist Writes About FGM in Raw Detail

The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoir by Soraya Mire My rating: 4 of 5 stars Female genital mutilation or FGM for short is one of the most horrific crimes against girls and women in the world. According to the World Health Organization over 100 million women and girls live with the adverse effects of FGM, a traditional practice where a girl’s external genitalia are … Continue reading Book Review: Somalian Memoirist Writes About FGM in Raw Detail

Somalia: A Country in Flux

Photo: Ramadan in Somalia: Men pray at a mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the holy month of Ramadan. UN Photo/Ilyas A Abukar Even though there was much fanfare and optimism coming out of Somalia a year ago as a new government was put in place and a new constitution was ushered in , the Horn of Africa country is now mired in an internal fight between the government … Continue reading Somalia: A Country in Flux

Somalia Celebrates 53rd Independence Day

While we celebrated our Independence Day here in the United States today, Somalia — a country that is currently undergoing a transition to a more stable government — celebrated its Independence on July 1st, 53 years after achieving freedom from British and Italian colonial rule. A colorful celebration took place at Konis Stadium in Mogadishu after several years of internal turmoil with Al-Shabaab, its eventual … Continue reading Somalia Celebrates 53rd Independence Day

Somalia’s Concerted Move Toward Gender Equality

One of the big international stories of the year is Somalia’s new government. The United Nations helped usher through the “Roadmap for the End of Transition” from a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to fair elections held on September 10, 2012. Secretary Clinton praised the signatories of the transition in late August and some experts say the September elections were the fairest in Somalia in 42 years. … Continue reading Somalia’s Concerted Move Toward Gender Equality

Female Genital Mutilation Banned Under New Somalian Constitution

Somalia has a new government and with it a new provision in its constitution in Title 2: Article 15: Liberty and Security of the Person that bans female genital mutilation (FGM). The new law states: Circumcision of girls is a cruel and degrading customary practice, and is tantamount to torture. The circumcision of girls is prohibited. According to several reports between 90% to 95% of all … Continue reading Female Genital Mutilation Banned Under New Somalian Constitution

Why 20 Million People Are on the Brink of Starvation and How You Can Help

It’s difficult to fathom that 20 million people are on the brink of starvation in Sub-Sharan Africa and the Middle East, but the statistic is true. In fact, the region is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in over seventy years and if no help is provided 1.4 million children are at risk of death. Not only is weather to blame for the lack of crops, … Continue reading Why 20 Million People Are on the Brink of Starvation and How You Can Help

5 Organizations to Support During South Sudan’s Famine

In February the United Nations officially declared a famine in South Sudan. What is most disheartening about this most recent famine in the world’s youngest country is it’s largely man-made. Constant infighting among South Sudanese opposition forces and the government makes growing crops nearly impossible. And, the instability in the country continues to drive up food costs. 100,000 people are directly suffering from famine, and … Continue reading 5 Organizations to Support During South Sudan’s Famine

Register: Free Online Course Examines Women, Child, and Adolescent Health #FLImprovingHealth

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is launching a free online course about women, child, and adolescent health. The course called Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action will last for six weeks starting on Monday, September 28, 2015. Registrations are now open.  While the course is primarily targeted to health professionals anyone can join.

Watch the course trailer:

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Infographic: 2015 Mothers’ Index Rankings

As in years past, the Nordic countries lead the world in being the best countries to be a mother and to raise children. Save the Children’s Mothers’ Index ranked countries based on maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, and economic and political status.

Sub-Saharan African countries and Haiti rounded out the worst places to be a mother, with Somalia being the worst place on earth for mothers and children.

Read the entire report and see the full Mothers’ Index of 179 countries at savethechildren.org/mothers.

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Save the Children Sounds Alarm on Plight of the World’s Urban Poor

When you think about very low- and middle-income countries you might assume that the poor in deep rural pockets in these countries have the highest chance for maternal and infant mortality. That isn’t the case according to Save the Children’s latest State of the World’s Mothers report released today.

The report says that it is the urban poor in countries like Haiti, Somalia, Niger and Mali, for example, who are suffering the most and have less access to health care, nutrition services, sanitation and clean water. Even as child mortality has decreased by 49 percent since 1990, the numbers do not fully tell the entire story. While resources have successfully helped the rural populations, the urban poor continue to suffer from a lack of overall services that will allow them to live and thrive.

“Our new report reveals a devastating child survival divide between the haves and have-nots, telling a tale of two cities among urban communities around the world, including the United States,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children in a statemtn. “For babies born in the big city, it’s survival of the richest.”

New data says there are 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. 860 million people live in urban slums in big cities like Delhi, Nairobi, Rio, and Johannesburg where the disparity between the rich and poor is incredibly stark. In fact, poor children in urban areas are two times more likely to die than their richer peers. In some countries, poor children are up to five times more likely to die before the age of five than their peers in a much higher income bracket.

Slum area - Addis Ababa
Slum area – Addis Ababa

Urban slums continue to grow because poor migrants from rural areas seek jobs in cities. This causes squatter communities and slum-dwelling as well as a perpetual cycle of poverty. These migrants often believe that it is better to live in crowded slums in the city than in their rural home towns because they can at least find work. The tradeoff, however, comes in the form of poor living conditions.

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Save the Children calls on the EU to Halt Child Deaths in the Mediterranean

On Sunday, the harrowing news reverberated around the world that hundreds of migrants drowned off the coast of Libya en route to Europe when their boat – not suitable for transport across the vast Mediterranean – capsized. As many as 700 people are feared dead, but the death toll could escalate as more information is attained by authorities.

This is not the first time that hundreds of northern African migrants have died on the perilous seafaring journey to a haven of tolerance and freedom and most of all peace and security for them. As more African countries – particularly Eritrea, Libya, Niger, Sudan, and Somalia – are accused of mistreatment of their citizens or who do not offer their citizens a peaceful way of life – thousands more are taking the chance to live a more peaceful and prosperous life despite the dangerous journey.

Save the Children is calling upon the European Union to “restart the rescues” to ensure that men, women, and especially children reach European shores without the threat of being stranded in the Mediterranean or drowned to death.

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Our Top 10 Most Read Posts of 2014

Over the course of this year we have shared a great deal of global health news and information, reports from the field in Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and the Phillipines, and have broken down some of the most pressing global health documents. That said, some of our posts received many more reads than others. Here is the countdown of our top 10 most read posts in … Continue reading Our Top 10 Most Read Posts of 2014

Inside Sierra Leone’s Maternal and Newborn Mortality Rates

With an overall population of 5.9 million people in Sierra Leone, 200 women will die today from complications during childbirth. Every year, 2400 women lose their lives due to pregnancy related causes in Sierra Leone. And, close to 10,000 babies die every year during their first month of life. There has been notable progress in Sierra Leone to end maternal and newborn deaths in the … Continue reading Inside Sierra Leone’s Maternal and Newborn Mortality Rates

Maternal Mortality in the US: The Numbers May Surprise You

When we talk about sky-high maternal mortality rates we tend to look more closely at low-income countries like Afghanistan, Chad and Somalia that have the world’s highest maternal mortality rates in the world according to the World Bank. And, of course, sub-Saharan African countries need to desperately bring their numbers down. But when you look at rich, developed countries the United States has the highest … Continue reading Maternal Mortality in the US: The Numbers May Surprise You

10 Facts About Female Genital Mutilation You May Not Have Known #EndFGM

Today marks the UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. It is vitally important that we raise our collective voices today and frequently throughout the year to help stop the violence against young girls who are literally mutilated in the name of culture and custom when they have to endure a lifetime of pain and agony. I just finished the riveting book The … Continue reading 10 Facts About Female Genital Mutilation You May Not Have Known #EndFGM