Month: December 2014

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Using Storytelling to Create Social Change

Violence is the second leading cause of death among adolescent girls globally. Not malnutrition or accidents or cardiovascular disease or maternal conditions. Violence. In fact, among girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide, almost one quarter (around 70 million) have reported experiencing some form of physical violence since the age of 15. These shocking statistics can leave one feeling overwhelmed, confused, and angry. Luckily there are many out there working to change the lives of girls for the better. Rebecca Barry wasn’t on the course to advocate for the health and rights of girls and women, but her life took a turn in 2009 while on holiday in Samoa. What happened inspired her to find a way to use her skills and resources to raise awareness and connect others looking to create change. Girls Globe recently sat down with the director and producer of I AM A GIRL to talk about what girls in the world are facing today, and how we can all work to make a difference. How did the idea for I AM …

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Take Action against Gender-Based Violence this Season

Many of us look forward to the holydays – to lighting candles, traditional food and spending time with friends and family. But the higher economic burden following the mandatory spending on food, gifts and decorations and the pressure of living up to the perfect-holyday-expectations put strains on the household. The risk of domestic violence is higher during the holyday season and for women already experiencing violence at home, the holydays bring with them a promise of increased plague. Numbers presented by UN women reveal that one out of three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. In some countries the numbers are as high as 70 percent. Violence against women is an urgent global problem. Whether or not domestic violence occurs in your home or in any other home you know about, gender based violence is your concern. The reason is simply that gender based violence (GBV) is not just violence but rather gender based. It’s a kind of violence that belongs to the social structure of male hierarchy and is …

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A Global Call to Stand with Women and Girls Raped in Conflict

“Abortion for victims of rape is part of the reparations they are due and the government must take action to develop measures to make abortion a reality for all women in Colombia to improve women’s health and lives in general. Access to abortion for women victim of rape is justice, reparation, and human dignity for them,” – Viviana Bohórquez Monsalve, a human rights lawyer at La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres. “We have many conflict situations where women are facing challenges, daily, in regards to rape, abductions…and we think it’s important that President Obama provides leadership by ensuring that services are provided to these many women and girls,” – Bafana  Khumalo, co-founder of Sonke Gender Justice, based in South Africa. Viviana and Bafana were among over 85 activists who stood outside the White House on a cold, rainy December day to stand with women and girls raped in conflict. A diversity of voices gathered that day to call on US leadership to act for women and girls. From Latin America, South Africa, …

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My Modi – The Analysis of an Affectionate Activist

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a special man. It is not just that he happens to lead the largest democracy on planet, or that he recently won his position in a landslide victory that brought 814.5 million people to the polls, 23.1 million of those people being youth (yes… formidable numbers indeed!) but it is the enigma that draws one’s attention to him immediately because with him grows the notion of the ‘Great Indian Dream.’ I watched, with millions of citizens in my country and around the world as he descended upon the United States of America earlier this year. I was both curious and eager to see what he would have to say to an international audience. India is at the cusp of its potential. We have committed to the narrative to all those who are willing to listen that India is ready to play the role of a global game changer in the market place for sustainable development and an emerging performer in the new world order. During Modi’s trip to New York, …

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Education: Girls’ Beacon of Hope

Written by Melody Mociulski, Chair and Founder of Educational Empowerment Girls around the world today are struggling to achieve their basic human rights – protection from forced labor, early marriage, conflict, and sex slavery; access to education; prevention of needless death from pregnancy and childbirth; freedom to determine for themselves their life path. In the face of these ongoing and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, natural disasters add yet one more barrier for them to overcome. On Friday May 2nd, 2008, Cyclone Nargis, the 8th worst cyclone ever recorded, hit the Ayeyarwady Delta in Myanmar.  Approximately 150,000 people were killed, and 20,000 girls and boys were orphaned. Villagers were starting their day as usual when all of a sudden the wind whipped up the river and the water began to rise.  Trees and houses crashed down and floated away.  Families were separated.  Darkness came.  Although crying of children and animals could be heard, no one could see anything.  The water kept creeping up.  In the morning, all was mud and destruction. Children tried to find their families …

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A Girl’s Voice Echoes

What does it mean to “empower” a girl? A more daunting question – how do we empower many girls? How do we make this empowerment sustainable, self-replicating? This has been a question we ask ourselves continually at VOICE 4 Girls, and one that we’re making a commitment to answer. VOICE 4 Girls was launched in 2011 as a summer camp for adolescent girls, aimed at giving them the life skills, critical knowledge, and spoken English they needed to advocate for themselves and their futures. Our curriculum includes topics like menstruation and puberty, education and career choices, and understanding and dealing with sexual violence, all taught in fun, engaging activities. VOICE believes, à la the Girl Effect, that these girls will then be positioned to create greater change in their communities – by staying in school, marrying later, having children later, being employed, and giving their children better opportunities that can help them break out of cyclical poverty. We’ve reached thousands of girls, and have seen wonderful results, especially in the confidence levels of our campers. Girls …

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Access to Maternal Healthcare in the Horn of Africa

Today is Universal Health Coverage Day, a day to advocate for universal health coverage to be a cornerstone of the sustainable development agenda and a priority for all nations. Healthcare is a necessity everywhere, but it’s especially important to advocate for healthcare in developing countries. Maternal healthcare can present a lot of difficulties, especially when only one in three women in rural communities in developing countries receives necessary care. According to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health from 2010, 350,000 women die every year during childbirth.  The WHO also said that the planet needs another 3.5 million health workers to improve women and children’s health in the 49 lowest income countries. The Edna Adan University Hospital specializes in training midwives in Somaliland*, using modern medical knowledge and techniques. Currently, most births in the country are aided by a traditional birthing attendant, a person who hasn’t gone through any sort of formal medical training. Births are often in unsanitary conditions, with no recourse if a complication arises. This takes a …

c/o Irise International

Menstrual Hygiene Explored: Capturing the Wider Context

Written by Irise’s Guest Writer Chris Bobel, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston This blog is part of Irise International’s #12DaysofChristmas Campaign. This summer, I bought a new camera. I needed it to snap pictures during a research trip to India where I explored diverse approaches to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). I chose a sleek, high tech device with a powerful, intuitive zoom. In Bangalore, I captured the sweet intimacy of two schoolgirls as they watched the menstrual health animated video “Mythri” at a government school. In Tamil Nadu, I used my zoom for close shots of skilled women tailors sewing brightly colored cloth menstrual pads for the social business, Eco Femme. In South Delhi, I used my zoom to preserve the mounds of cloth painstakingly repurposed as low cost menstrual pads at NGO Goonj. But here’s the problem. These close up shots may please the eye, but they leave out the context that surrounds and shapes each photo’s subject. And what exists outside the frame is at least as important …

Photo Credit: More Than Me

More Than Me: Combating Ebola in Liberia

As the Hong Kong Chapter President and Chief Content Officer of Givology, I have had the chance to collaborate with Givology’s partner organizations on an exciting mélange of awareness-building and fundraising initiatives related to girls’ education. One organization in particular, More than Me, has recently had to shift its focus from directly supporting girls’ education in Liberia to fighting the Ebola outbreak. To reduce the spread of Ebola and its devastating impacts, More Than Me started the Ebola-Free West Point Coalition. This Coalition was meant to fill the gaps in the response to the Ebola outbreak by partnering with NGOs, government, and community leaders to make sure a coordinated effort is maintained to end Ebola as quickly as possible. More Than Me provides ambulance services to make sure that individuals who demonstrate symptoms of Ebola are speedily brought to Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs). Additionally, More Than Me and the Ministry of Health (MOH) have brought together Home Healthcare Teams comprising licensed, responsive nurses who triage sick individuals. These teams not only ensure that people suffering …

c/o Irise International

Menstrual Hygiene Explored: Freedom

Written by Irise International Guest Blogger Chinsisi Kazuwa, Education Assistant – Theatre for a Change This blog is part of Irise International’s #12DaysofChristmas Campaign. August was a very interesting month for me at Theatre for a Change, Malawi. Participating in training more than 280 female teachers for our Tiphunzire! project was challenging, but also very rewarding. One of the workshops I was excited to facilitate was on menstruation. Having done sessions with girls in the past, I knew a few of the challenges girls go through with their menses. For a lot of girls, menstruation is a burden and it was no different for me. I was twelve when I got my first period. It wasn’t as embarrassing or uncomfortable as I thought it would be. There was no pain or warning, just a blood stain on my skirt after classes. I wasn’t scared, I knew quite a bit from my friends, but I wasn’t thrilled either. I went to the girls’ hostel, borrowed a skirt from one of my friends, and went home. Even …