All posts tagged: Post-2015 Agenda

Improving Maternal Health Encompasses More Than Mothers

With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) nearing expiration date and the new and improved Sustainable Development Agenda in place, we are facing a fresh start to address some of the most important global challenges in the next 15 years. Next week global leaders, advocates and policy-makers are convening at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City. Although we have seen great progress in improving maternal health since the implementation of the MDGs, there is still more to be done.  Therefore, I would like to highlight several key points to ensure that we do not end up with unfinished business for mothers in 2030.  Don’t leave adolescent girls out of the equation To combat maternal health challenges and mortality, adolescent girls need to be at the core of policies and programs. Their needs must be adressed and their voices heard. Addressing human rights abuses like child, early and forced marriage, as well as, female genital mutilation, are part of the same equation. Adolescent girls and young women need to have control over their own bodies and …

Girls’ Globe at UN General Assembly – Join us!

The 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly formally began on 15 September 2015 – and this year is different and unique. This year, the world comes together to say goodbye to the eight Millennium Development Goals which were adopted in 1990 for 15 years, and say hello to the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which will set the new global development agenda for the entire world from now until 2030. Much can be said about the MDGs and whether or not they succeeded in what they set out to do – we’ve seen great success stories, and notable failures. We’ve learned about setting targets and defining indicators, and we’ve understood the importance of ensuring that we don’t only focus on countries reaching certain thresholds and targets, but also pay attention to whether their progress and development is even and equal and reaches those who are most in need, and often the hardest to reach. Girls’ Globe will be present at UNGA with our key partners, FHI360, Johnson & Johnson, and Women Deliver, focusing particularly on …

From MDGs to SDGs: Stepping into the World We Want

In Africa, there is a common phrase that says, “When the drummers change their beat, the dancers must change their steps.” In September, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are set to be adopted by Heads of States at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This meeting will bring together developed and developing countries, politicians, private sector leaders, civil society organizations, faith groups and others to adopt a set of 17 goals that aim to  take forward the job that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in motion by intensifying action to empower the poorest and the hardest to reach. Will the global community be dancing to a new beat that will truly be transformative and have a positive impact on the lives of women and girls or will the new development agenda play out like a broken record? The following are a few reflections of the proposed 2030 agenda: Looking Back – What Worked The MDGs have been praised for being useful tool in providing benchmarks for the achievement of special development gains, for priority …

Making Strides to End Child Marriage

More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into marriage before the age 15. Ending child marriage is not just a priority for the world, but a necessity that will enable girls and women to participate more fully in society. Girls and women are at the heart of global development, and when given the opportunity, education, and tools, can go onto raise healthier and smaller families of their own that will, in turn, contribute to their communities and society. We have seen an increase into the awareness of child marriage, thanks to organizations like UNICEF, Girls Not Brides, Save the Children, and Breakthrough. Just this month, Let Girls Lead (LGL), based at the Public Health Institute, celebrated the Malawian Parliament voting to pass the National Marriage Law, which raised the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. After over five years of advocacy by LGL partners and other key organizations, the victory guarantees a Malawian girl’s right to be a girl for the first time in …

If You Treasure It, Measure It: #Commit2Deliver for Women and Girls

No country sends its soldiers to war to protect their country without seeing to it that they will return safely, and yet mankind for centuries has been sending women to battle to renew the human resource without protecting them. -Fred Sai, former President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation Pregnancy is the one of the leading causes of death for girls aged 15-19 in developing countries. Maternal and child mortality remains a big problem for many countries in Africa with young women even more vulnerable. However, almost all maternal deaths can be prevented, as evidenced by the huge disparities found between the richest and poorest countries. The lifetime risk of maternal death in industrialized countries is 1 in 4,000 in comparison to 1 in 51 in countries classified as ‘least developed.’ Why We Cannot Wait Mothers are the cornerstones of healthy societies. Not only do they give physical birth to new life, they give moral and intellectual guidance to children who will become productive members of society. A society where mothers are not valued and protected is is one …

We Want Commitment and Action: #ShowYourSelfie for Youth!

Today, a day before the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York City, the Action Summit took place, giving global citizens the possibility to engage in conversations around some of the most important development priorities: sanitation, education, global health and women and girls. I had the great opportunity to speak about why the rights of women and girls must be fulfilled in order to reach any other development goals and end extreme poverty. For those of you who who may not know, I am pregnant. I was born in a country where there is access to good quality healthcare. Because of this fact, I have not had to worry about the baby growing inside of my belly or risk dying during childbirth. Yet during the past hour almost 35 women and girls have died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth – that’s 300 000 a year! Did you know that the most common cause of death for teenage girls in the least developed countries is just that – complications during pregnancy and childbirth? 1 in 3 …

We can’t have a post-2015 agenda without SRHR!

In 2000, the creators of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) completely overlooked sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), a mistake that, if repeated, would cripple the dreams of millions of young girls and women for years and generations to come. Access to SRHR enables individuals to choose whether, when, and with whom to engage in sexual activity; to choose whether and when to have children; and to access the information and means to do so. To some, these rights may be considered an everyday reality. However, that is not the case for millions of young people in the world – particularly girls and women. On Tuesday night, I had the fantastic opportunity to listen to some of the foremost global leaders speak on behalf of ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the post-2015 agenda. The benefits of ensuring SRHR are society wide and inevitably translate into improved education, economic growth, health, gender equality, and even environment. Education “At my high school, you would be expelled if found with a condom.” …

Breaking the cycle to end gender-based violence

I am one of the lucky ones. Every morning, I wake up excited to attend another day of school. At school, I have an opportunity to learn new things, enjoy my lessons and participate in new activities. We have all heard the phrase, “If you educate a girl, you educate a nation.” Globally, it is estimated that 66 million girls will not have access to an education. Unlike many girls, I have the ability to access my right to education, choose who I marry and will have as many children as I desire. I am one of the lucky ones. Before I was born, my grandmother took a stand for me and future generations. She rejected the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and refused to let her daughter, my mother, go through the practice. FGM is the deliberate mutilation of the genitalia of women and girls for non-medical reasons. This practice has life-long physical, emotional and psychological effects on women and girls. FGM was practiced in my family for generations. When my grandmother was strong enough …

#ShowYourSelfie: Girls Should Be Free From Violence

Several weeks ago I received the joyous news that a new baby girl will join my sister’s family this Spring. When my six-year-old niece was born I had the privilege of helping my sister through labor and experienced the miracle of birth. Watching new life come into the world is one of the most amazing experiences. I am overjoyed with the news of another niece on the way and will have the same incredible opportunity. As I think about my beautiful niece, my nephew and the impending arrival of another sweet girl I think of all of the possibilities ahead of them. Sports activities, extra-curricular classes, school dances, college, job opportunities and having a family are life events they will experience. My niece, a very bright and outspoken six-year-old loves to read, play soccer and knows she can talk to her parents about anything. One of the greatest things about being an aunt is the opportunity to experience and talk with them about the exciting moments in their lives. As my two nieces grow up together, the reality …

Ignorance is Not Innocence: Importance of Sexuality Education

Let us face it: Sex is everywhere. Music videos, television adverts, movies, online pornography, characters in games. Did you know that nine out of ten children aged between eight and sixteen have viewed pornography on the Internet? As a result, young people are receiving conflicting messages on their sexuality, view on relationships, identity and gender. With the evolution of the information age, young people can now transfer information freely and have instant access to knowledge that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find. The repercussions are vast and varying, not limited to early sexual debut, teenage pregnancies, spread of HIV/AIDS, increased vulnerabilities to sexual abuse and risky sexual behavior. Education is a central determinant for behavior change. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) identifies the primary goal of sexuality education as that “children and young people become equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to make responsible choices about their sexual and social relationships in a world affected by HIV.” Several global and regional frameworks have acknowledged the importance of sexuality education. The Common African Position …