Month: November 2013

Photo:WaterAid

#GivingTuesday: Already A Favorite Holiday Tradition

This week, as families across the United States sit down to their Thanksgiving meals, many pause to think of those less fortunate than themselves.  People like the millions of women and girls worldwide who do not have the luxury of being able to take a day off to celebrate with their families. As those responsible for collecting water for their families, many women and girls in developing countries spend every day of the year searching for water, a task that can involve walking for miles carrying heavy water containers weighing 40lb, for up to six hours a day. There’s no day off for Thanksgiving. Black Friday’s department store sales are unheard of. The online shopping frenzy of Cyber Monday? An even more alien concept. For many girls in developing countries, even school comes second to water collection. What good is education compared to the family’s survival? Water comes first. The contrast between living without life’s most basic needs and sitting down to the traditional Thanksgiving fare of roast turkey and all the trimming is a …

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I am Angry – And You Should be Too.

November 25th marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. There is only one thing wrong about that – the fact that we have a need for such a day. It makes me angry. I am angry, because according to the World Health Organization, 35% of women and girls around the world will experience intimate partner or non-partner violence in their lifetime. WHO is calling this ‘a global health problem of epidemic proportions’. I am angry because in the US, every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted – and nine out of ten victims are women. I am angry because in India, women and girls have a bulls-eye on their backs whenever they step outside their homes – and too often also within their homes. I am angry because there is an endless number of such examples, from all over the world. While the reasons behind violence against women and girls, as well as the form that such violence takes, vary between countries, one thing is common to all women and girls regardless …

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No Rapists, Misogynists or Homophobes in my Village

A few weeks ago I ‘checked-out’ of reading the news online and watching on TV. It wasn’t anything specific; rather it was the ongoing trauma I was experiencing as a result of reading about the brutal rape and murder of children, increased child violence and female genocide daily. The South African media in their frenzy to sensationalise news reports, manage to traumatise an entire nation into a state of desensitisation and acceptance of sexual violence as normal.  As I was reflecting on these issues, my mind kept revisiting the well-known African proverb:  It takes a village to raise a child I’ve always wondered who lives in that village and what messages those villagers transmit, directly and indirectly, to the children they are raising. In South Africa, we have villages made up of silent observers and do-gooders working among rapists, murders and homophobic misogynists all intent on putting women and children in their ‘place’. As we begin the 16 days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, I’m grappling with how relevant that proverb …

Photo Credit: Gigi Ibrahim, Creative Commons

Say No: Unite to End Violence Against Women

Today is the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women. All over the world, women, men and children are taking a stand to declare that women deserve to live free from all forms of violence. As the world comes together to show support for women, the harsh reality is that one in three will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. This happens in all communities, both rural and urban. Violence against women occurs in schools, in homes, churches, and on street corners across the globe. No woman is immune to the threat of violence. This must STOP. In 2009, UN Women launched the Say NO-Unite campaign. The campaign engages people from all walks of life to focus on raising awareness and making public declarations to end violence against women. The growing global coalition unites individuals, governments, organizations and the private sector with the common goal to fight violence against women and girls. Say NO-Unite utilizes both on the ground engagement as well as new media to rally communities and nations. To date, over 5 …

Flashmob in Malmö

Malmö Unites to End Violence Against Women

Monday, November 25th, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. To commemorate this day, and to raise awareness of this global epidemic, several local and global women’s based organizations in Malmö, Sweden, have united against the violence. Today, on one of Malmö’s main squares, a human chain and exhibition was formed to raise awareness of violence against women. The activists stand linked together by their arms, their mouths covered with duct tape and holding photos of victims of violence from an exhibition called Cause of Death: Woman (read my previous blog post about it). Together they want to show that they stand strong and united against violence. One of UN Women Sweden’s National Committee representatives in Malmö, Erika Sjöström, speaks about the importance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the events taking place this weekend. Human exhibition "Cause of Death: Woman" A post shared by Girls' Globe (@girlsglobe) on Nov 23, 2013 at 8:11am PST A human chain and exhibition raising awareness of violence against women. A …

Mercy at ICFP

3 lessons for Kenya from the International Conference on Family Planning

By: Mercy Owuor; Deputy Program Director, Lwala Community Alliance, Kenya. The Lwala Community Alliance is a Kenyan civil society organization delivering services through community development programs focusing on health, education and economic empowerment,  to 20,000 people in Migori County. The Lwala Community Hospital provides primary care, maternity and reproductive health services, and HIV treatment. Mercy directly oversees community programs in healthcare, education, and economic development, and her greatest success on the ground has been creating community demand for maternal and reproductive health services. She holds a Masters degree in Community Health and Development from Great Lakes University and a BA in Sociology. She has just returned from presenting at the International Conference on Family Planning and these are her lessons for Kenya:  1. Where there is political will, there is a way to “Full Access and Full Choice” 1 in 4 women in Kenya wants to avoid pregnancy, but either lacks access to modern contraception or is fearful to access available methods. Many of these women are youth, between 14-24 years of age. Even though the Constitution expressly states …

Farah with her mother

Meet the Blogger: Farah Mohammed

Girls’ Globe is starting a new interview series called “Meet the Blogger”, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about our bloggers, their motivation and passion and what shaped them to become an advocate for the rights and health of women and girls.  This is Farah Mohammed, from Jamaica, where she works at UNDP before heading to graduate school at Northwestern University in 2014. Her big dream is to make a meaningful contribution to the world, and live somewhere near the mountains. Read Farah’s blog posts and follow her on Twitter @FarahColette.   Why do you blog for Girls’ Globe? I think it’s a great and inspirational organization, with several passionate, hard-working women who are from very varied backgrounds but all equally impressive in drive and experience. I stumbled upon it through another blog, and was struck by the articles, especially the intelligence and originality behind them. It was clear the writers weren’t just padding portfolios or putting up filler content, but real, relevant news and opinions. What led you to becoming an advocate for women’s …

Credit: Nyaya Health

C-section Success in Far Western Nepal

19-year old Moti Kala was diagnosed with placenta previa during her fourth antenatal check up at Bayalpata Hospital. The hospital, in Achham, Far Western Nepal, is run by Nyaya Health in partnership with the Nepal Ministry of Health and Population, serving a population of 250,000 people. Until recently, this diagnosis would have meant the Nyaya Health team would refer Moti Kala to a different facility hours away, because of a lack of surgical capacity. But thanks to some exciting progress, Bayalpata Hospital was able to open the doors of its surgical unit to Moti Kala after she spent hours making the trek from her home to our hospital on foot, and successfully performing its first ever c-section delivery. Moti Kala is only one of the many women in Achham who do not have access to the myriad of prenatal, neonatal, and maternal health care services readily available in the US. The infant mortality rate in Achham has always been very high due to this shortage, ranking within the 6th highest maternal mortality ratios globally. Since …

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The US Needs More Women In Politics!

When my mother was 11 years old, she constructed and posted a “McGovern for President” sign in her front yard, completely of her own volition. I don’t know many 11 year olds who would think of doing something like this, never mind caring that much about politics. My mom was aware of the power of politics and the social change raging in the 60s and 70s, and she knew it was important to be a part of it. Even at a young age, she felt that she COULD be a part of it. Although she may have been one of the only girls to make her own campaign sign, I doubt she was the only girl feeling empowered by the changes occurring at that time in our history On November 5, my mother was elected to the city council in my hometown, Bristol, CT, the place where she was also born and raised. My mom thought about running for office for various reasons, including her love and knowledge of our town and its citizens, knowledge …

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Full Choice of Family Planning is…

Kadija, Ethiopia “Full Choice is the right for couples to choose and having full information on all types of family planning methods.”  #FullChoice is the right for couples to choose w/ having full information on alll types of #familyplanning methods. – Kadija Mohammed, Ethiopia #icfp2013 A post shared by Girls' Globe (@girlsglobe) on Nov 15, 2013 at 5:22am PST Hilary, USA “Full Choice is any method, any time its needed for anyone!” #FullChoice is anytime, any method for anyone! ~ Hilary, USA #icfplive A post shared by Girls' Globe (@girlsglobe) on Nov 15, 2013 at 12:48am PST De Nay, Myanmar “Full Choice is important to both consumers and providers.” #FullChoice is important to both consumers and providers. #icfplive A post shared by Girls' Globe (@girlsglobe) on Nov 15, 2013 at 1:15am PST Edem, Togo “Full Choice is le bien être de ma famaille. [The well-being of my family.]” #FullChoice is le bien être de ma famaille. [The well-being of my family.] – Edem, Togo #ICFP2013 A post shared by Girls' Globe (@girlsglobe) on Nov 15, 2013 at 5:33am PST …