Month: April 2015

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Measuring Impact on Girls’ Lives

NGOs around the world are conducting a variety of interventions to improve the well-being of vulnerable women and girls. However, without assessing and analyzing the impact on the target population there is no way of proving program effectiveness. Recently, impact measuring has been gaining traction amongst researchers, NGOs, and funders, as a way to gauge whether or not programs are producing positive results by changing the status quo, and if so, by how much. In an interview with Forbes, Marc J. Epstein, co-author of the book Measuring and Improving Social Impacts: A Guide for Nonprofits, Companies, and Impact Investors noted that there is an increased interest among donors for greater accountability for their grants. Coupled with a need for internal monitoring and evaluation, impact measuring is critical to the success of any organization. Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU) understands the value of developing impact measuring tools, and is working on collecting accurate data on how its holistic educational program has impacted the lives of adolescent girls with both quantitative and qualitative data. The organization seeks information that reaches beyond basic data — such as how many schools …

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The Integration Hypothesis: Let’s Empower Women and Girls

The challenges women and girls experience around the world are interlinked and multi-dimensional. Addressing and developing effective solutions to empower women, girls and communities requires a coordinated global and local response. Last month, Girls’ Globe had the opportunity to be a part of FHI 360’s Integration Hypothesis event in New York City. The event gathered organizations, thought leaders and those working at a community level to discuss the importance of creating sustainable integrated solutions to effectively address issues such as education, violence against women, health and poverty. Creating successful and sustainable integrated development programs for women, girls and communities is not a new conversation. For years, development practitioners, advocates, governments, organizations and communities have sought to address global  issues through talking about the need for more integrated and holistic approaches. Last week, FHI 360 and Girls’ Globe hosted an interactive Google+ hangout to continue the conversation on the importance of integrated development for women and girls. The live discussion was a continuation of FHI 360’s Integration Hypothesis series. A diverse group of panelists took the “virtual stage” in what was an engaging and robust …

Nepal Earthquake

Nepal Earthquake: A Personal Reflection

Post Written by: Reeti, a Women LEAD young woman leader. The following are excerpts from Reeti’s personal blog The Black Caterpillar. Reeti reflects on the current situation in Nepal and the aftermath of Saturday’s earthquake.  Reflection, Day 1 (Sunday, April 26th):  Acouple of years ago I’d written a short story and it began like this: I was standing there, strayed in the street, unnoticed amidst the crowd. My eyes were searching for something and someone. I fell down. Probably someone had pushed me. I tried to stand but somebody pushed me again so I fell really hard on the street once more. Cursing the fellow who pushed me, I finally stood up. I stretched and looked as far as I could but my family was nowhere to be seen. I did not know what to do. My eyes were wet, my heart was beating loud, my legs shaking. I did not know whether it was from nervousness or due to the shaking of the earth. Yes, the ground was literally shaking. Our city was hit by an …

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What Do The World’s Women Want?

What do the world’s women want? Put simply: Control over their bodies Education Economic autonomy Access to health services To choose who and when to marry To choose if and when to have children This should not come as a surprise. These are fundamental rights that advocates for gender equality have been working towards for years. At a recent event hosted by the Foreign Policy Association, Francoise Girard, President of the International Women’s Health Coalition, outlined the demands, spoke about what over 600 women’s groups worldwide are doing to make these demands a reality and how large foreign investors need to realign their efforts. The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) takes a three-pronged approach that combines global policy promotion, youth leadership/advocacy workshops and partnerships with local women’s organizations. Through partnerships with 80 grassroots countries, IWHC uses the local expertise to inform their global advocacy. Girard’s talk covered the state of the world as it relates to the Millennium Development Goals and how that has shaped the formation of the soon-to-come Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But …

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Remembering America’s Lost Women

Growing up in Pakistan, I was a rule breaker. I got in trouble for speaking my mind and making my own choices, two things good Pakistani women were not supposed to do. Until I broke a rule that could not be fixed or overlooked, falling in love with a Shia man, though I came from a Sunni home. In Pakistan, our families were at war, so we went to Canada. North America was my safe haven, a place I could make my life choices without fearing shame and violence. America afforded me an escape from the fear of honor violence, the abuse thousands of women around the world experience for bringing dishonor to their families. This violence can take the form of physical, emotional or sexual assault, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. America was my safe haven, but, unbeknownst to many, it is not safe for everyone. Honor violence is not a problem relegated to countries like Pakistan; every year, thousands of girls in North America experience honor violence and even lose their lives …

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Ignore the Voices That Say You Can’t. We Can.

I was six years old and in Primary 2 when Hillary Clinton gave her famous speech on women’s rights being human rights in Beijing in 1995. Almost 10 years later, I moved to rural China. I lived with an Eritrean girl from London, whose Dad worked for the United Nations in the Middle East. It was in China I became passionate about human rights. I was blown away by the strength of the Chinese women I met, the stories of women and conflict in Africa and challenges diaspora women and girls face in the United Kingdom. I wish I had known about the Beijing conference; I wish I had been taught about feminism and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at school. I came home to study and learn more about human rights. I dreamed of a career that would take me to the UN one day. In 2011 I graduated feeling a little defeated after struggling with stress, failing a UN Law class and being told by my Professor that I had no …

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The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Paige McKenzie, young author and YouTube phenom, recently released her first book. Based on her incredibly successful YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl tells the story of Sunshine, a 16-year-old girl living in a haunted house.  Described as “Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity,” The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is certain to delight readers young and old. A few weeks ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to read Paige’s book and I can say with confidence you will not be disappointed. Afterwards, I spoke with Paige about her book and her plans for the future. Find out what she had to say below: Q: You started your YouTube channel four years ago, a channel which now has over 250,000 subscribers and over 132 million views. What inspired you to create a fictional web series about ghosts? Did you ever expect your channel to have such a large following? A: I knew I had something special with the views (and the comments!) started rolling in. I was cautiously optimistic when I started. Now I am looking forward to the continued growth and …

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Breastfeeding is a World Health Day Issue

Yesterday was World Health Day – a World Health Organization (WHO) campaign with a focus, this year, on global food safety.  This year, much of the attention is being given to looking at how food safety is affected ‘from farm to plate.’ The WHO feature 10 facts on food safety: More than 200 diseases are spread through food Contaminated food can cause long-term health problems Foodbourne diseases affect vulnerable people harder than other groups There are many opportunities for food contamination to take place Globilization makes food safety more complex and essential Food safety is multisectoral and multidisciplinary Food contamination also affects the economy and society as a whole Some harmful bacteria are becoming resistant to drug treatment Everybody has a role to play in keeping food safe Consumers must be well informed on food safety practices As a midwife, my first thought on reading this list, thinking particularly about the third point about food safety issues for vulnerable people, turned to food safety for newborns and infants.  The WHO says that ” the great …

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We need to talk about Black Women NOW

Precilla* was raped by her cousin when she was nine and later by an uncle. She never spoke about it. Why? Her father and other men in her family were always talking about protecting her. But instead of protecting her, they were raping her. Confused, she chose to remain silent. The reality for many black women is silence and the reasons why they choose this are complex. For many black women silence means survival. As Feminista Jones says, the bodies of black women have been used for labour and exploited to serve the needs of others while our needs are swept under the carpet. We are ‘othered’ – taught to be silent about the problems we face, reminded that racism is the bigger issue, not sexism or violence. Black girls are taught that you do not talk about problems. As a black woman, you deal with it. Loyalty to the “community” reigns supreme, even when the community (brothers, fathers and sons) are often responsible for violence and abuse.  As a result, many women and girls remain silent about …

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Still the second sex

In the 1970s, Sisa Abu Daooh’s husband died when she was six months pregnant with her daughter. With a nearly all-male workforce, she wasn’t able to find employment. As a widow, she faced stigma that excluded her from resources. As a single woman, she encountered sexual harassment. Her family urged her to remarry, but she feared becoming dependent on a man who might reject her daughter. Sisa refused to accept the poverty, inequality and ridicule that society called her fate. Unable to access rights as a woman, she decided to live as a man. She shaved her head and wore men’s clothes and relinquished her female identity. Disguised as a man, she found work making bricks and harvesting wheat. When she could no longer work in the fields, she took up shoe shining. As a man, she was able to put food on the table. She protected her daughter from discrimination as a fatherless child, as her now motherless daughter had the male figure that gives a child a name, a reputation and visibility. After …