Thursday, October 4, 2012
In Mtwara, a village in remote Tanzania where Sihiba lives, over 60 percent of adolescents have had sex, but only 6 percent use contraception. In fact, contraception education is rare and access to contraceptives is poor. It is common for young girls to become pregnant while they are still in primary school. Sihiba first became pregnant at 11 after having sex with an older man for money. AMREF’s Sauti ya Vijana (‘Voice of Youth’) project teaches the youth in Mtwara about using contraceptives and helps young girls like Sihiba gain skills to provide for them and their children. More HERE.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
A handful of girls roll out the front doors of their middle school dressed in colorful high-tops, t-shirts and jeans. They hop into the waiting car, switch on “their” radio station and talk about dance class, science lab, and a weekend filled with soccer, swim meets and sleepovers. These 12 and 13-year-old girls sing, laugh and talk non-stop, and the subject of boys never comes up. Sure, they’re interested, but they have other stuff to think about. And men? Not on their radar. In other families and other countries, five-year-olds are enduring genital mutilation, 12-year-olds are getting married and fifteen year olds are having their second babies. Many of them will die in childbirth. If they attend school at all, their educations are short-lived. They spend their days lugging water, cooking, cleaning and taking care of smaller siblings. Some take care of husbands and the babies that come way too early. Separated from their parents, they’re living their lives as women while they’re still little girls. That’s what life is like for billions of girls living in poverty in developing countries. More HERE.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
This month, the Grameen Bank, the organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize for extending small loans to impoverished village women, has come under renewed attack from the government of Bangladesh. [...] The government’s most recent action not only threatens the bank’s independence, which has been crucial to its success, it challenges the ownership rights of millions of poor women who control 97 percent of the shares of the Grameen Bank and whose collective savings (about $1.4 billion) finances its operations. It is a powerful blow against an institution that has flourished and helped millions of poor people largely because it is in the hands of women. More from The NY Times HERE.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The young teenage daughters of Syrian refugees in Jordan are increasingly being married to older Syrian men -- against the laws of both countries -- as a form of financial and other security against a backdrop of conflict and instability. "We're concerned about early marriages -- using that as a coping mechanism," said Dominique Hyde, a representative in Jordan for the United Nations Children's Fund. More HERE.
Monday, July 30, 2012
MANILA — Shortly after sunrise, a woman with soulful eyes and short-cropped black hair hurried down a narrow alley in flip-flops, picking her way around clusters of squatting children, piles of trash and chunks of concrete. Yolanda Naz's daily scramble had begun. Peddling small shampoo packets in the shantytown of San Andres, she raced to earn enough money to feed her eight children.She went door to door in the sweltering heat, charming and cajoling neighbors into parting with a few pesos. After several hours, she had scrounged enough to buy a kilo of rice, a few eggs and a cup of tiny shrimp. "My husband and I skip lunch if there is no money," Naz said as she dished rice and shrimp sauce into eight plastic bowls in the 10-by-12-foot room where the family eats and sleeps. This was not the life Naz wanted. She and her husband, who sells coconut drinks from a pushcart, agreed early in their marriage to stop at three children. Though a devout Catholic, she took birth control pills in defiance of priests' instructions at Sunday Mass. But after her third child was born, the mayor of Manila — with the blessing of Roman Catholic bishops — halted the distribution of contraceptives at public clinics to promote "a culture of life." The order put birth control pills and other contraceptives out of reach for millions of poor Filipinos, who could not afford to buy them at private pharmacies. More HERE.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Many of the world's civil conflicts arise in nations where runaway population growth has created huge pools of young people. In their frustrated ambitions lies an explosive force. More from the LA Times Special Series "Beyond 7 Billion" HERE.
Monday, July 23, 2012
After remaining stable for most of human history, the world's population has exploded over the last two centuries. The boom is not over: The biggest generation in history is just entering its childbearing years. The coming wave will reshape the planet, and the impact will be greatest in the poorest, most unstable countries. Check out LA Times special series HERE.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Gates, who is a pracitising Catholic and with her husband, Bill – the founder of Microsoft – is one of the world's biggest players on development issues, predicted that women in Africa and Asia would soon be "voting with their feet", as women in the West have done, and would ignore the church's ban on "artificial" birth control. Gates, who was a speaker at the London Summit on Family Planning organised by her foundation in conjunction with the UK government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that since she announced her new direction a few weeks ago she had been inundated with messages of support from Catholic women, including nuns. "A church is made up of its members, and one of the things this campaign might do is help women speak out. I've had thousands of women come on to websites and say 'I'm a Catholic, but I believe in contraception'. It's going to be women voting with their feet." More HERE.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows that fulfilling unmet contraception demand by women in developing countries could reduce global maternal mortality by nearly a third, a potentially great improvement for one of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The study, published on Tuesday in The Lancet, a British science journal, comes ahead of a major family planning conference in London organized by the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is an attempt to refocus attention on the issue. It has faded from the international agenda in recent years, overshadowed by efforts to combat AIDS and other infectious diseases, as well as by ideological battles. More HERE.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Shanta Chaudhary was eight years old when her parents sold her into effective slavery for $75, sending her to scrub, cook and sweep for 19 hours a day at the house of a stranger in southwestern Nepal. Now a strident rights campaigner, politician and one of the country's most influential women, she weeps as she recalls 18 years spent as a "kamlari", rising at 4:00 am, receiving regular beatings and witnessing rape and abuse. "I remember the torture. I had to carry weights much heavier than me even when I was sick. And I couldn't see my parents and I could never experience a mother's love," she said. "Even my married years were spent in someone else's house. When I think about my past my heart seems to burst. Many kamlaris were even raped and I have seen it myself." The kamlari system is a form of indentured servitude that persists 90 years after the official abolition of slavery on the plains of southwestern Nepal, a world away from the temples of Kathmandu and the Himalayan peaks which attract tourists from across the world. More HERE.
Friday, July 6, 2012
HYDERABAD, India (AlertNet) - Sex worker Aruna Raju, 45, moved to Hyderabad 11 years ago after drought and repeated crop failures led to the deaths of four of her family members. “I have seen people shedding tears of blood,” she says. Aruna’s family had five acres of land in Nizamabad district, 172 km away, on which they grew cotton, maize and chili. But from the mid-1990s, the rains became irregular and crops wilted in the fields. “The land became so dry, we could feel smoke coming out of it,” she says. Her father became deeply depressed, and some four years later, he died after suffering chest pains. A little later, her mother, younger brother and her own daughter died from malnutrition. Her husband had already left due to the shame of being unable to feed his family. “That is when I came to Hyderabad, so I could find a way to survive,” she recalls. But with no schooling and no one to help her find a job, Aruna’s only option was prostitution. More HERE.
DAKAR, 3 July 2012 (IRIN) - In conflict-hit West African countries, husbands often pose a greater threat to women’s lives than an armed assailant, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a recent report, but even in more stable countries, violence against women is hard to eradicate. “Domestic violence is like diabetes. It is a disease that kills and causes damage, but which has not been very well documented,” said Mariam Kamara, a mobilization officer at the UN Women-West Africa Sub-Regional office. In post-conflict Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone - where the IRC conducted a study of domestic violence - women suffer cruelty with “shocking frequency”, said the report, “Let me not die before my time, Domestic Violence in West Africa”, released in May 2012. “Even though the focus of the humanitarian community has often been on armed groups, the primary threat to women in West Africa is not a man with a gun or a stranger - it is their husbands,” the report said. More HERE.
Progress toward improving maternal health, including fewer deaths during pregnancy, is lagging in the developing world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa -- imperiling one of the crucial targets put forth by the Millennium Development Goals set to expire in 2015, according to the United Nations. The MDG 5 target also is expected to be missed in India. More HERE.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of Congo — It’s around 6 in the morning and the sun is slowly rising, a clear sign that Cesarine Maninga must leave. In one practiced movement, she straps a 50-kilogram sack of charcoal to her back, tosses the rough rope around her head and trudges off toward Bukavu, capital of South Kivu province in eastern Congo.Ms. Maninga, 43, is just one of hundreds of women who ply this trade each day, lugging loads of up to 100 kilograms, or 220 pounds. On this morning, she hopes to sell makala — dry charcoal used for heating and cooking. She will walk almost 10 kilometers, or about six miles, with the heavy load, a trek she makes at least twice a week. “I don’t have a choice,” she said, bitter resignation in her voice. “I have to feed my family” — 11 children, and an unemployed husband. More HERE.
In Lesotho, a tiny country surrounded by neighboring South Africa, geographical barriers are just one of many challenges women often face in order to deliver their babies in a clinic, with trained professionals at their side. We've put together an infographic to show how different (and risky) it is to deliver a baby in Lesotho as compared to wealthy countries, such as the United States. The way to spare pregnant women a five-hour hike to the clinic is such a simple idea, that the United States began using it in 1832. The Boston Lying-In Hospital offered mothers-to-be a place to stay a few weeks before their due dates, sparing them a harrowing journey to reach medical help when the time came to deliver. Now we do it, too, in a very different place, but a place that faces the same problem. More HERE.