Month: July 2015

Girls Reading - Bullard

Overcoming Obstacles, Pursuing Education

This post was authored by Katy Bullard, intern for the Coalition for Adolescent Girls In honor of Malala Day, youth contributor Hamna discussed on Girls’ Globe the barriers to and great power of girls’ education in Pakistan. Her words resonate with the significant obstacles that girls in Nyanza and Kibera, Kenya face in pursuing their education and becoming leaders and catalysts for change. Many Kenyan girls are forced to confront the lingering sentiment that “girls cannot be successful… girls are not so much clever and are weak,” as one student described it. Though families are usually, and increasingly, open to the idea of educating girls, those with limited resources are far more likely to send their sons to school than their daughters. Primary school is technically free in Kenya, but ‘hidden’ fees and costs like uniforms and exams can be prohibitively expensive, so universal primary education has not yet been realized. Even when girls are enrolled in school, housework still falls disproportionately on them. Their chores and responsibilities caring for younger siblings can interfere with …


One Year On: #YouthForChange mark the Girl Summit anniversary

This post was originally published on Voices of Youth. One year ago this month, South London’s Walworth Academy welcomed a group of guests with a unifying belief – that female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) can and must end within a generation. On Wednesday 22nd July, we celebrated the progress made over the past year – #YouthForChange Panel Member and Girls’ Globe blogger Eleanor was there to capture the event. Girl Summit 2014 was co-hosted by the UK government and UNICEF, and attendees included over 600 campaigners, NGOs, activists, government representatives, civil servants and heads of state. The event marked the moment that the silence surrounding FGM and CEFM was well and truly broken, and done so in front of a global audience. The Girl Summit Charter has been signed by 43 governments and has led to significant change. Existing laws have been enforced; Egypt prosecuted a case following a death associated with FGM and Kenya has seen 30 arrests, and new laws have been created; Nigeria passed a law …

Dr. Lengmang and team

Overcoming Treatment Obstacles in Nigeria

Earlier this month, the UN released its final report on the Millennium Development Goals. Progress in MDG 5, improving maternal health, ultimately lagged behind the others.  Far too many women in the 21st century are still dying during childbirth, and not enough are delivering in the presence of a skilled birth attendant. For every woman who dies during childbirth, at least 20 more suffer from devastating injuries like obstetric fistula, a condition that results from prolonged obstructed labor and renders a woman incontinent. So why are so many women delivering on their own, without skilled assistance or emergency obstetric care? Why are women still developing obstetric fistulas, when we know it’s a condition that can be prevented and should no longer exist? Some of the main hurdles are due to poverty – women may live far away from the nearest hospital, particularly in rural areas, and transportation can be too expensive. Still other hurdles have to do with healthcare infrastructure, or, perhaps more appropriately, a lack thereof: for women who do make it to a …

Girls Go Back to School

Rising from the Ashes

This piece was authored by Hamna Tariq on behalf of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls.  She pushed her diary inside her lavender bag and hurried through the creaking wooden door towards her faded white school van. She quickly grabbed a seat next to her best friend and started chattering away. Next she heard a gunmen scramble inside her bus, planting a bullet on the left side of her face as she fell down, unconscious, in her own pool of blood. The blinding fluorescent lights coerced her eyelids to flutter open. She was in a hospital, saved by luck. After this horrific incident, she realized that she had to help girls like her and she started working towards girl education, especially in Pakistan. Malala is considered an icon and an inspiration because of her determination and confidence. She didn’t fear the notorious Taliban nor did she bow down to any sort of pressure. Malala was one of very few educated girls of her city. Why was this so? Why was she a target and not others? …


Creating Safe Spaces for Girls

Talking about sexual and reproductive health with students is always a little bit awkward, even in the best of situations! Having these discussions within a culture that often considers anything related to reproductive health to be taboo, can be particularly challenging – and incredibly important. In rural Tanzania, such topics are rarely discussed. The national curriculum includes menstruation and reproductive health, but these topics are frequently rushed through, or skipped altogether, by uncomfortable teachers in underfunded, overcrowded schools. Femme International is an NGO that promotes women’s health through education, with a focus on menstruation. Menstruation is a major reason why girls in developing communities miss school or drop out together due to a lack of sanitary resources and the oppressive stigma that surrounds the topic. Femme’s Feminine Health Management program is sensitive in nature: menstruation is very taboo to discuss, as are issues of sexual health, female anatomy, and even family planning! However, Femme recognizes that having these conversations with young women is critical to keeping them healthy and in school. Girls need to understand …

GG educ blog 3_opt

Education is the Answer

Education enables girls to achieve their rights.  It empowers girls with confidence and independence.  It provides girls with a path out of poverty, and it gives girls hope for a better life. Education is a silver bullet for empowering women and girls worldwide.  Education is the ANSWER. But girls need access to education.  The primary barriers preventing girls’ access to education are lack of schools, distance to schools, conflict, hunger and poor nutrition, school fees, disabilities, and being the ‘wrong’ gender. Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Delta is one of the poorest-of-the-poor regions in the country.  Access to education is severely hampered by typical barriers as well as weather, geography, and natural disasters.  Cyclone Nargis wiped out 60% of the schools in the southeast portion of the Delta in 2008.  Villages in the Thabaung district are flooded half of the year from monsoons and the Delta’s low lying lands just 3m above sea level.  Children typically travel to school by boat, frequently traveling through shark-infested waters. Educational Empowerment, in collaboration with Helping the Burmese Delta, recently built a primary …

Creative Commons

Soap Saves Lives

This week, Girls’ Globe joined nearly 90 other influential organizations in signing a letter to the United Nations that calls for hygiene to be addressed as an indicator in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative, jointly led by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW), comes at a pivotal moment before the forthcoming SDGs are finalized. PPPHW is an organization that works across sectors, borders and oceans to promote handwashing with soap, among other hygiene practices, and supports and encourages individuals worldwide to learn more about the importance of hygiene.  PPPHW serves as a catalyst in the global handwashing conversation and has a robust resource center on all topics, including menstruation, child health and hygiene in schools. I recently spoke with Hanna Woodburn, Acting Secretariat Director at PPPHW on the importance of hygiene and its impact on women and girls. Why did PPPHW join with other organizations to write the letter? We co-wrote this letter with others in the water, sanitation, and hygiene, commonly referred to as “WASH” sector because we believe that all three components …

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Girls’ Globe speaks with Tikhala Itaye!

We have launched an interview series with health professionals and youth advocates with the purpose to highlight the work they are doing to improve the lives of women, children and adoloscents around the world. Yesterday, Girls’ Globe’s Vice President, Diane Fender “sat down” with youth advocate Tikhala Itaye, Vice President of AfriYAN Namibia and Co-Founder of Her Liberty Namibia. Tikhala is a passionate leader and young person creating amazing change for young people and communities in Namibia. Did you miss the hangout? Watch it here:

Ne’ema Abdu, Fourteen month old beneficiary of the CBN program

Investing in Youth Led Grassroots Health Solutions Makes Cents

While much progress has been made to improve the health of women and children around the world, growing health disparities exist among women, children and adolescents. Currently, the child mortality rate in low-income countries is 15 times higher than in high income countries. Maternal mortality rates are doubled with a rate thirty times higher in lower-income countries. Adolescents face extreme risks to their health, such as road injuries, complications during pregnancy and mental health issues among others. In fact, 70% of all preventable adult deaths are linked to issues experienced during adolescents. These statistics are staggering and the need to improve health outcomes is significant. Financing is needed to fund sustainable health development initiatives. As the need continues to grow, it seems as though more and more organizations, governments and other entities are competing for the same resources and funding. The question remains: What health investments make financial sense? Over fifty percent of the world’s population is under 30 years old. In addition to the time adolescents and young adults spend on studying and working, young people are …

A woman holding her young malnourished baby queues for food at the Badbado camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs).   Famine has been declared in two regions of southern Somalia – southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. The United Nations indicates that 3.7 million people across the country, that’s nearly half of the Somali population, are now in crisis and in urgent need of assistance.  An estimated 2.8 million of those are in the south.

Helping Girls and Women Before a Disaster Strikes

On July 11th, we recognize World Population Day – a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s theme, Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies, is one of critical importance as the rights of girls and women are affected most in emergency settings. Take a disaster triggered by climate change as an example. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a household survey from Oxfam in Aceh, Indonesia, found that up to four women died for every male in the most affected areas. In some villages, all of the deceased were women. Why? In Aceh, girls and women often not encouraged or taught to swim or climb trees. They also spend majority of time in the home caring for children – homes vulnerably positioned near the shoreline. Girls and women are also more susceptible to gender-based violence in emergency settings where feelings of stress and powerless can lead increased physical and sexual violence, and exploitation. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, rape was reported as an epidemic that followed as girls as women were …