High Level Panel on Health at the European Development Days 2012

Last week in Brussels, the European Development Days 2012 convened nearly 6,000 participants and 1,500 organizations from the development community to address the theme of “Sustainable and Inclusive Growth for Human Development” through a series of sessions and meetings. At the event, a high-level panel was organized by Action for Global Health (AfGH), Countdown 2015 Europe, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNAIDS, and the Oxfam International European Union Office. The panelists of this meeting examined the role, strategies, actions and challenges of the European Union (EU) in implementing the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Read more...

Catapult, a Project of Women Deliver, Seeks Partners

A new crowdfunding platform for girls and women, and a project of Women Deliver, is seeking wonderful and committed partner organizations for its site that will launch this fall.

Please take a few minutes to view the short video below, or at  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...

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...

Updates from Women Deliver: Next Steps in Advocating for Girls and Women Worldwide

JanuaryUpdate.jpg2012 is already shaping up to be a year of progress and forward-thinking, particularly as we begin to construct a new development framework. Convening global and regional experts, engaging young people and revolutionizing funding for projects focusing on girls and women will be critical steps forward. With this in mind, the Women Deliver team has been hard at work planning for the 2012 Regional Consultations and the next global conference in 2013 in Kuala Lumpur; developing a funding platform; planning for the Commission on Population and Development; and continuing to advocate for the health and well-being of girls and women worldwide. We’re excited 2012 is already shaping up to be a year of progress and forward-thinking, particularly as we begin to construct a new development framework. Read more...

Michelle Bachelet Outlines Action Agenda to Advance Equality as UN Women Completes One Year

Statement Of Ms. Bachelet On UN Women One Year Anniversary: Calls for global mobilization and commitment to women’s rights as political and economic changes continue worldwide

New York, 2nd February — At a press conference in New York today, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet called for galvanizing greater commitment and action for women and gender equality, as political and economic upheaval threaten progress on women’s rights (remarks enclosed here). She called the press conference to report on the first year of operations of UN Women. With austerity measures, budget cuts and political changes impacting women’s lives, worldwide, Ms. Bachelet outlined the action agenda of the organization in her first press conference of 2012. Read more...

Komen Foundation Cuts Funding to Planned Parenthood for Breast Cancer Screenings

PlannedParenthood.jpgYesterday, The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced that they will no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings and breast health education programs. Grants from Komen were used to fund nearly 170,000 breast exams over the past five years. Read more...





Every year, in conjunction with International Women’s Day, Women Deliver celebrates the progress made on behalf of girls and women worldwide. Our Women Deliver 100 list in 2011, which featured 100 of the most inspiring people who have delivered for girls and women, was covered by over 100 traditional and new media sources. This year, to continue the momentum, we are spotlighting the top 50 inspiring ideas and solutions that deliver for girls and women. We would love to hear what you think are the most innovative, impactful, and promising advancements in overcoming gender inequality. Read more...

Melinda Gates and Nick Kristof Answer Your Questions, Part II

By: Melinda French Gates
Originally posted by: the Impatient Optimists

Gates2.jpgMelinda Gates and Nick Kristof recently returned from a three-day trip to Bangladesh. To highlight the corresponding development issues, they agreed to answer reader's questions. This is the second installment of their three-part Q&A session.

Q. COSIMA BARLETT: My comments do not in any way detract from the profound admiration I have for you and your Foundation but a simple question: why do you not concentrate more of your efforts on American children who are so lacking in so many important areas as statistics now show? Read more...

Melinda Gates and Nick Kristof Answer Your Questions

By: Melinda French Gates
Originally posted by: the Impatient Optimists

GatesQuestions.jpgMelinda recently returned from a three-day trip to Bangladesh. She, along with Nick Kristof, agreed to answer readers’ questions about development issues focusing on that part of the world. Here is the first installment of the Q&A session reposted from Kristof's New York Times blog "On the Ground." Read more...

10 Maternal Health Highlights of 2011

This year has been one of forward momentum, innovative solutions and inspiring individuals. As 2011 comes to a close, it’s time to celebrate achievements and look at some of the most memorable milestones and events of the past year. Moving into 2012, we are armed with the knowledge of what success looks like. We must continue to work to ensure that girls and women are at the heart of development efforts, now and in the years to come. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Bayer Health Care Increases Access to Contraceptives For Women Worldwide

Earlier this week, Bayer Health Care broadened its commitment to reproductive health supplies for women by reducing the price of its five-year contraceptive implant product, Jadelle©. The price will decrease from $21 to $19.50 per implant, and could further reduce with future large orders.

Bayer projects that with these cost savings, over half a million women who view Jadelle© as their contraceptive method of choice will now be able to access it. Potential outcomes are powerful and plentiful, including the prevention of more than 550,000 unwanted pregnancies, 255,000 abortions, 1,000 maternal deaths, and 6,000 newborn deaths. Read more...

A Formative Close to the Maternal Health Dialogue Series

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Yesterday, in Washington, DC, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Maternal Health Task Force, UNFPA, USAID Bureau for Global Health, and the African Population and Health Research Center co-hosted the last session of the two year maternal health dialogue series. The partners launched the report, “Delivering Solutions: Advancing Dialogue to Improve Maternal Health,” which captures the strategies and recommendations that emerged from the series.

Since December 2009, this maternal health dialogue series has hosted 28 sessions with over 100 panelists engaging in conversation and debate around some of the most pressing maternal health topics.   A total of over one thousand participants attended sessions on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS and maternal health service integration to family planning in fragile states; new applications of existing communications technologies; and addressing maternal health in urban slums. The series focused on major challenges and opportunities for moving the maternal health agenda forward, and affirmed that solutions for saving the lives of women and girls are plentiful and powerful. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Maternal Health Supplies Survey, Share Your Voice

Our colleagues at PATH are spearheading an in-depth analysis of maternal health supplies to better understand the barriers, challenges, and needs of women and health providers around the world. If you haven’t participated already, please share your experience and thoughts in the mapping survey, which PATH describes as follows:

PATH recognizes the challenges to the delivery of quality MH services and reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity are myriad and complex. The intent of this landscaping is to inform recent efforts by the broader maternal and reproductive health communities to advance maternal health supplies advocacy by building upon the lessons learned and structures created by the reproductive health supplies movement. Their specific focus on overcoming the financial, logistical, and policy-related barriers to ensuring contraceptive supplies has helped to mobilize global support for and increase access to family planning overall. Read more...

Making Life: A Risky Proposition, A Diane Sawyer 20/20 Special

ABC News continues its year-long global health series by examining the most dangerous thing a woman can do: why so many women are dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Diane Sawyer and a team of correspondents report on a special edition of “20/20,” Friday, Dec.16 on ABC.

New York, NY, December 12, 2011 -- The numbers are staggering: every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth – that’s about 1,000 women a day. Yet experts say that more than 80% of these deaths are totally preventable if only the mothers-to-be received proper medical care. At the bottom of the list, countries like Afghanistan, with its child brides, and Sierra Leone, which has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. The US ranks surprisingly low in the industrialized world -- number 41 on the maternal mortality list. It is an issue that experts all over the world say is “unforgiveable” because even the most basic medicine and intervention could prevent the majority of these deaths. Read on...

Aid Effectiveness Forum: What Does It Mean for Reproductive Health?

By: Suzanna Dennis
Originally posted by: Population Action International

Aid effectiveness and government investments directly shape the amount and quality of funding for reproductive health.  For example, the move to greater country ownership over aid has advocates concerned that governments will not sufficiently prioritize sexual and reproductive health.

Last week, global development powerbrokers convened in Busan, South Korea to assess progress towards aid effectiveness goals, develop a more inclusive global aid framework and address issues beyond aid.  The organizers of this Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) declared it a resounding success:  They delivered a global Partnership for Development Cooperation bringing together all development actors around a shared set of development principles. Read more...

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women Announces the 2011 Call for Proposals

The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women is accepting applications for its 16th grant cycle (2011) from government authorities, civil society organizations and networks — including non-governmental, women’s and community-based organizations and coalitions, and operational research institutions — and UN Country Teams (in partnership with governments and civil society organizations). Read more...  

Corporate Buzz: Partnering for Healthy Girls, Women and Economies

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Farm.jpgIn November 2010, GBCHealth (formerly the Global Business Coalition) launched a cross-sectoral initiative, Healthy Women, Healthy Economies (HHWE), to highlight the importance of investing in the health of girls and women in order to promote economic sustainability and growth. Each HHWE corporation works to strengthen their programs while also collaborating with other partners to learn ways in which they can invest better in girls and women through the development of best practices and strategic innovations.

The partnership between GBCHealth, the U.S. State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues, and companies including Coca Cola and Chevron (among many others) guides corporate investment to areas where companies can have the most impact: improving health systems, bolstering the health of the female workforce, and supporting girls’ education. Read more...

International Conference on Family Planning: Invest in Women – It Pays!

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver

This week, I was privileged to join more than 2,200 participants at the International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. It was truly an amazing conference with three days of rich discussion and wonderful commitments, like those made by Dfid and the government of Senegal.
As the focus of this conference was on family planning, it was essential that participants not only discuss the social benefits of investing in family planning – which include a reduction of unintended pregnancies, a decrease in maternal deaths, and a decline of unsafe abortions – but also the incredible economic impact of investing in family planning. Read more...

World AIDS Day 2011: Funds Diminish, Epidemic Rages On

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager at Women Deliver

Today’s commemoration of World AIDS Day marks 30 years since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, claiming nearly 30 million deaths around the world in the decades since. Progress towards averting deaths, through global partnerships and committed donors, has been heartening: close to 50% of those eligible for antiretroviral therapy now have access to lifesaving treatment, and new HIV infections have decreased by 21% since 1997. Overall, treatment has saved the lives of nearly 2.5 million people since 1995, bringing the world closer than ever before to UNAIDS’ goal of “getting to zero”- zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Read more...

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