On This #IWD2022 Join CAMFED’s Global Sisterhood to Educate Young Girls

CAMFED is one the world’s leading organizations that advocates for and helps young girls in sub-Saharan Africa attain an education. CAMFED which stands for the Campaign for Female Education has to date supported 379,000 young girls with secondary school scholarships, one million girls attend primary school, and works with 6,787 partner schools across sub-Saharan Africa.

As we all know, girls who are deprived of an education are most likely tethered to a cycle of poverty for an entire lifetime. But girls who are afforded an education can leap out of poverty and and into the realms of economic development. They can take on better jobs, learn to save money, or become entrepreneurs. Women who are educated take better care of their individual environments and therefore take on climate change. And studies show when sub-Saharan women have an education, they fight for their daughter to have an education as well. They become stewards of passing down education and leaders in their communities.

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Company Launches Kickstarter to Reduce Feminine Hygiene Waste

Did you know that 19 billion single-use feminine hygiene products will be thrown out this year in the United States alone? Most will end up in our oceans and landfills. We can definitely do something about this. A Danish company, LastObject, is launching a Kickstarter tomorrow September 1 to help fund a brand-new reusable pad that will contribute to a more waste-free world. Funders will … Continue reading Company Launches Kickstarter to Reduce Feminine Hygiene Waste

The Global HER Act Explained #ReproductiveHealth #GlobalHERAct

It was a sunny afternoon as most days are in Ethiopia in April. I was taking an individual tour of a large hospital in the middle of Addis Ababa where I got to talk to doctors, nurses, and see waiting rooms and even patients who were recovering from care.

I distinctly remember the room of women who had recently had abortions or were awaiting one. The room was eerily silent despite the number of patients in the large recovery room with few windows and no air conditioning. Personal effects were on all of the beds: blankets, purses, food, extra clothes . Some of the women had female visitors, others did not. While the Ethiopian abortion law on the books is considered “semi-liberal” by African standards, there is some pushback on abortion services although in practice if a woman wants an abortion she can most likely get one. This is mostly to help decrease maternal mortality rates and to curb the rates of unsafe abortions.

As I concluded my tour, the last room I saw was where the abortions took place with all of its machines and lone hospital bed. At that moment I was glad that despite the law, these Ethiopian medical professionals along with the hospital’s policy allowed women to have a choice about their own bodies and reproductive rights.

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Gender Equality Is Imperative to Reach Sustainable Development Goals

In 1994, governments, advocates, health organizations, women’s and youth activists gathered in Cairo for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). There, women’s reproductive health and rights took center stage in national and global development efforts.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ICPD and a renewed emphasis on reproductive health, women’s empowerment and equality will be discussed later this year in Nairobi as it pertains to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the recent High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Secretary General António Guterres  said that there needs to be a ratcheting up of empowerment and gender equality in order to reach the 17 sustainable development goals. And, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed said, ” A recent report found that no country is on track to fully achieve Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality by 2030.  And despite some important progress, we are far short of attaining the elusive “gender balance” goal in leadership established in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.

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Sexual Violence is Off the Charts in South Sudan – But a New Female Head Chief Could Help Bring Change

PHOTO: Navi Pillay (third from right), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, poses for a group photo with South Sudanese women from Jonglei State who shared stories about their experiences with human rights violations, including violence, child abduction, and forced marriage. UN Photo/Elizabeth Murekio

By Rachel Ibreck, Goldsmiths, University of London

A woman was recently elected as a senior chief in South Sudan – a not unheard of, but very unusual occurrence. This surely a positive change in a country ravaged by civil war and attendant sexual violence.

Rebecca Nyandier Chatim is now head chief of the Nuer ethnic group in the United Nations Protection of Civilians site (PoC) in Juba, where more than 38,000 people have sought sanctuary with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeepers. Her victory is of symbolic and practical importance.

South Sudan’s chiefs wield real power, even during wartime. They administer customary laws that can resolve local disputes but also reinforce gender differences and inequalities, to the advantage of the military elite.

So could a female chief work towards changing this? Admittedly, even if the new female chief is determined to effect change — which remains to be seen — the odds are against her. The chief and her community are vulnerable, displaced persons, living in a sort of internal refugee camp, guarded by UN peacekeepers. Fighting and atrocities have continued outside, especially in the devastated homelands of the Nuer people. But the new chief has the support of the former head chief and a group of male paralegals, who have celebrated her victory as an advance for gender equality. Together, they might make a difference.

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New Maternal Health Mobile App for Tanzanian Women Seeks Crowdfunding

The more technology improves in low-and-middle income countries the quicker mobile apps will be invented and scaled to better people’s live. We already know that banking apps have transformed the exchange of money and have helped economies like Kenya’s thrive. Now, innovators are looking to create more and more mobile apps to transform health care and save more lives. Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the … Continue reading New Maternal Health Mobile App for Tanzanian Women Seeks Crowdfunding

To Empower Women, Give Them Better Access to Water

Bethany Caruso, Emory University

Imagine going through your day without ready access to clean water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing. Around the world, 663 million people face that challenge every day. They get their water from sources that are considered unsafe because they are vulnerable to contamination, such as rivers, streams, ponds and unprotected wells. And the task of providing water for households falls disproportionately to women and girls.

Water, a human right, is critical for human survival and development. A sufficient supply of biologically and chemically safe water is necessary for drinking and personal hygiene to prevent diarrheal diseases, trachoma, intestinal worm infections, stunted growth among children and numerous other deleterious outcomes from chemical contaminants like arsenic and lead.

I have carried out research in India, Bolivia and Kenya on the water and sanitation challenges that women and girls confront and how these experiences influence their lives. In my field work I have seen adolescent girls, pregnant women and mothers with small children carrying water. Through interviews, I have learned of the hardships they face when carrying out this obligatory task.

An insufficient supply of safe and accessible water poses extra risks and challenges for women and girls. Without recognizing the uneven burden of water work that women bear, well-intentioned programs to bring water to places in need will continue to fail to meet their goals.

Heavy loads

So, what is it like for women who live in places where sufficient and safe water is not readily accessible?

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Despite Differences in Culture, US and India Fall Short in Childbirth in Similar Ways

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Woman in labor, shown with monitors. 

Neel Shah, Harvard Medical School

After eight years of practicing obstetrics and researching childbirth in the United States, I know as well as anyone that the American maternal health system could be better. Our way of childbirth is the costliest in the world. Our health outcomes, from mortality rates to birth weights, are far, far from the best.

The reasons we fall short are not obvious. In medicine, providing more care is often mistaken for providing better care. In childbirth the relationship between more and better is complicated. Texan obstetricians, when compared to their counterparts in neighboring New Mexico, are 50% more likely to intervene on the baby’s behalf by performing a cesarean section. Nonetheless, Texas babies still have a lower survival rate than New Mexican babies.

I long assumed that our most puzzling American health care failures were idiosyncrasies–unique consequences of American culture, geography, and politics. But a trip to India for the 2017 Human Rights in Childbirth meeting led me to a humbling realization: when it comes to childbirth, both countries fall short in surprisingly similar ways.

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Neel Shah, center, pictured with Jishnu Das, a Lead Economist at the World Bank and Leslie Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives. Neel Shah, Author provided

Human rights in childbirth

I take care of patients in at a well-funded teaching hospital in Boston, where pregnant women seem well-respected and have clear, inviolable rights.

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8 Simple Ways to Provide Free Menstrual Products to Girls and Women in Need (Updated)

Every 28 days, millions of girls and women in developing countries miss school or work – up to 50 days per year – because they lack access to affordable menstrual products. And, it’s not just a problem in poor countries. Right here in the United States, women and girls who lack means often need both menstrual health education and reusable menstrual products.

The eight companies and organizations provide menstrual products in the United States and in Africa. Here are ways you can help them on their missions to provide women and girls with products that simply make their lives easier.

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Midwives and The Right of Women to Give Birth the Way They Want

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Lydia Mwanzia, Moi University

Giving birth is a significant life event that should aim for a healthy baby and mother. There are growing calls for women to give birth in their preferred birth positions. But this requires midwives to be trained in a way that enables them to respect the choices that women make. The Conversation Africa’s health editor Joy Wanja Muraya asked Lydia Mwanzia to explain why women have the right to make choices, and the important role played by midwives.

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Seeking Stories on Reproductive Health

World Pulse, a social network connecting women who work for change, is currently looking for stories on reproductive health and choices. World Pulse’s story prompt:  How do the laws in your country affect your reproductive health and choices? What are the most important victories, setbacks, and pressing issues you face? Do you have a story about legislation that affects you personally or someone you know? Or … Continue reading Seeking Stories on Reproductive Health

Why The Eagle Huntress Is An Empowering Film for Young Girls

The Eagle Huntress narrated by Daisy Ridley follows the wonderful story of a teenage girl named Aisholpan who becomes the first eagle huntress in Mongolia.

We are introduced to Aisholpan at a boarding school located in a small town miles from her nomadic home because schools are quite far from where she lives. It’s the last day of school for that week and Aisholpan is taken home by her father on his moped. Her family are nomads that live in a simple circular hut in the midst of a vast barren plain edged by beautiful, rocky mountains. Her family consists of Aisholpan’s younger sister and brother, her mother, and her father.

Her father is one of the few remaining eagle hunters in Mongolia. For centuries Mongolian men caught eaglets, raised them, and used them to hunt for food to support their families. Since Aisholpan was a little girl she loved watching her father put on the eagle hunters’ garb and go out in search of food from rabbits to foxes. In fact, it was one of her joys to help her father with his eagle. As she grew older her father allowed her to play with his eagle as he saw her keen interest in becoming a hunter.

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Announcing #MaternalHealthChat Starting November 8 With Jacaranda Health

We are very pleased and excited to announce our new weekly chats all about maternal health with some of the leading maternal health experts, researchers, practitioners, and organizations in the world under the #maternalhealthchat hashtag. Starting on Tuesday, November 8 at 1 PM EST with Jacaranda Health we will host 30-minute chats each week all about maternal and reproductive health as well as the health of newborns. We will dig … Continue reading Announcing #MaternalHealthChat Starting November 8 With Jacaranda Health

Nepali Women Increase Earning Potential Through Business Training #5by20

The energy and enthusiasm was palpable as we walked into a room full of eager women entrepreneurs role-playing the everyday dynamic between business owners and their customers. While the room was loaded with fun and laughter during this exercise, its importance was not lost on any of the women who had come to the campus of Coca-Cola Bottlers Nepal Limited’s (BNL) 5by20 training, an initiative to empower 10,000 women business owners across Nepal by 2020. Even though these women are already a part of Kathmandu’s bustling community of urban shop owners, they had come because they realized there are more business skills to learn, hone, and improve. And, as women in micro-enterprise the more skills they learn, the more they can earn for their households in a country where men overwhelmingly dominate the private sector.

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Pallavi Gautam, Senior Executive, Public Affairs and Communication (PAC) at Bottlers Nepal Limited conducts a 5by20 training on September 13 in Kathmandu.

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Featured Photos: Ethiopian Women Gain Access to Trade Markets

These trainees are at a project known as “Connecting 1,500 Women and Girls to the Export Market”. The project was created in 2014 by Ethiopia’s First Lady, Mrs. Roman Tesfaye and trains women and girls to develop skills in industries such as leather, weaving, basketry, embroidery, gemstones, and spinning and connect them to global markets to increase the trade of their goods.

“Ethiopia has ambitious visions and dreams for women,” said First Lady Tesfaye. “We want to see women not only come out from the shackles of poverty but become the engines and drivers of our development.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visited the project during the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.

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