• Monique Clesca

    UNFPA | Représentante
    Leyla is now 21, with a four-year-old son named Salim.

    Leyla is now 21, with a four-year-old son named Salim. Photo by Mina Kaci.

    She was like an earthquake: shaking everyone around her to the core, exposing their fault lines, damaging their usual demeanor, and challenging their beliefs in what should be the order of things. Unlike other huge natural phenomena like typhoons and hurricanes, earthquakes don’t have names—but this one did, because it was a positive earthquake. It was called Leyla.

    Leyla is the new normal for girls in Niger. A girl of 18 who spoke her mind, she was at the youth center to talk about how she benefited from an eight-month empowerment program for adolescent girls to reduce child marriage and teen pregnancy. Leyla had been chosen to speak because she had completed a program called Illimin, which in Houasa means “the knowledge.” Developed by UNFPA, Illimin has since become the flagship program of the government of Niger and is a successful model of what works in adolescent empowerment and child marriage and teen pregnancy reduction.

  • Elizabeth Futrell

    CCP | Content Development Lead
    David Alexander, Liz Futrell, and Sarah Harlan pose for a pre-interview selfie with Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, 120 Under 40 winner from South Africa.

    David Alexander, Liz Futrell, and Sarah Harlan pose for a pre-interview selfie with Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, 120 Under 40 winner from South Africa. Photo by David Alexander.

    There’s no better way to take the pulse of a movement than to listen to what its youngest leaders have to say. Last week, K4Health and FP2020’s Family Planning Voices initiative did just that in New York City, when we interviewed the 2016 World Contraception Day Ambassadors and several winners of 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders about their commitment to expanding awareness of and access to contraception and related services to underserved populations. We spoke with young leaders from Uganda, India, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, Lesotho, Poland, Vietnam, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, the Philippines, Kenya, and the U.S. about the work they’re being recognized for and their priorities for the future. While their countries, backgrounds, disciplines, and programs are diverse, several common threads that highlight the innovation that young people are bringing to the movement emerged from our conversations.

  • Melissa Wanda Kirowo

    Management Sciences for Health, Kenya | Advocacy and Communications Project Officer
    The Expectation Wall is a good and standard KM practice for any lengthy meeting. Participants “set expectations” at the beginning and then (hopefully) move them over to the “expectations met” area.

    The Expectation Wall is a good and standard KM practice for any lengthy meeting. Participants “set expectations” at the beginning and then (hopefully) move them over to the “expectations met” area. Photo: Melissa Wanda Kirowo

    Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending the knowledge management (KM) share fair in Arusha, Tanzania. After much reflection and many attempts at integrating some of the KM models that I learnt from the share fair in my work, I realized something very important: We have to be willing to learn how to learn to get the best out of what KM has to offer. What does this mean? Consider the following…

  • Ashley Lackovich-Van Gorp

    Regional Center for the Advancement of Women and Girls (Mercy Corps) | Director; Enhance Worldwide | Founding Executive Director; Girls' Globe | Blogger
    Girls making crafts at an ECHO-funded youth center in Jordan's Zaatari camp.

    Girls making crafts at an ECHO-funded youth center in Jordan's Zaatari camp. Photo credit: © EU/ECHO/Peter Biro via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

    Zahra is a 14-year-old girl living in Jordan. When she was five years old, she dreamt of going to school. When she was ten and in school, she dreamt of becoming a doctor.

    At 12 years old, Zahra fled Syria with her family. As refugees, her parents encountered a life of unprecedented instability and poverty. Desperate to secure a future for his daughter, Zahra’s father arranged for her to marry a man in his 20s. Zahra protested, but she had no other options: She wasn’t in school, her family couldn’t afford to feed her, and she had no way of earning an income on her own. Given this desperate situation, she married an adult man before she was old enough to drive a car or vote. At age 14, she became a mother.

  • Aubrey Clark

    MSH/SIAPS | Technical Advisor, Pharmaceutical Services

    Mohan P. Joshi

    MSH/SIAPS | Principal Technical Advisor and Cluster Lead for Pharmaceutical Services
    A woman in Pemba, Mozambique receives an explanation on how to take ACTs for malaria.

    Photo source - Arturo Sanabria, Courtesy of Photoshare. Description - A woman in Pemba, Mozambique receives an explanation on how to take ACTs for malaria.

    On September 21st, global leaders attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly will discuss one of the most pressing global public health threats of our time: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This AMR meeting is only the fourth time in the global body’s history that a health topic will be discussed at a High-Level Meeting. It’s an overdue signal of the problem’s severity and reflects the global collaboration and coordination required to address it.

  • Dr. Anita Raj

    Center on Gender Equity and Health, University of California, San Diego | Director

    Dr. Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli

    World Health Organization | Adolescents and at-Risk Populations Team, Department of Reproductive Health and Research

    This post originally appeared on Girls Not Brides in February 2016.

    Ante- and postnatal care for mothers and babies in Orissa, India.

    Ante- and postnatal care for mothers and babies in Orissa, India. Photo credit: Pippa Ranger | Department for International Development (DFID)

    • Research shows child brides have limited access to modern family planning methods
    • Despite progress in some countries, more needs to be done to improve child brides' reproductive autonomy
    • Global family planning targets cannot be reached without addressing the needs of 15 million girls married every year

    The 4th International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP 2016) held in Bali, Indonesia, offered a global forum to build our understanding of how to improve family planning policy and practice.

    The contraceptive needs of young people were a focal point of this conference. Participants discussed how to reach more diverse young populations and provide them with high quality and youth-friendly information and services. Child marriage in particular was identified as a major barrier to women and girls’ reproductive autonomy.

    While much of the work on child marriage focuses on prevention, the conference emphasised something that does not get enough attention: the need to support family planning for the 15 million girls who marry each year. Here is what we learned.

  • Elizabeth Futrell

    CCP | Content Development Lead
    Hospital staff in Niger prepare a woman for fistula repair surgery.

    Hospital staff in Niger prepare a woman for fistula repair surgery. © 2015 Cambey Mikush, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Former UNFPA representative Monique Clesca had a tough job: trying to prevent adolescent pregnancy in Niger, the country with the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Earlier this year when I interviewed her for Family Planning Voices, Clesca, who has since retired, told me about a program whose goal was to reach Niger’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls, 77% of whom are married by the time they’re 18. Program staff find the girls by going door to door. Without this painstaking effort, she lamented, too many adolescent girls will fall through the cracks.

  • David Potenziani

    IntraHealth International | Senior Informatics Advisor
    Meeting announcement for the Deep Dive

    The announcement for the Deep Dive: Sustainable Business Models for Digital Health Impact

    A few weeks ago I attended a half-day workshop called the “Deep Dive: Sustainable Models for Digital Health Impact.” The meeting was co-hosted by the Global Digital Health Network and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) to explore sustainable business models. About 70 Network members came together with industry business experts to discuss sustainable business for digital health—including how to consider costs, opportunities, and pitfalls in public-private partnerships; how to coordinate with donor communities; and where there may be emerging markets.

    The Deep Dive included lessons from social enterprises, consulting firms, collaboratives of multi-domain partners, and even a private equity investor. We explored types of financial sustainability; discussed a variety of digital products, from open source to proprietary technologies; and wrapped our minds around the non-financial factors in ensuring sustainability. My role was to facilitate the latter part of the discussion.

  • Marta Pirzadeh

    FHI 360 | Senior Technical Officer
    A newlywed college student in Jakarta, Indonesia, uses a mobile app for family planning to learn about contraceptive methods.

    A newlywed college student in Jakarta, Indonesia, uses a mobile app for family planning to learn about contraceptive methods that may help delay her first pregnancy until she finishes her degree and secures employment. © 2016 Radha Rajan, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Youth and contraception: two words that when used in combination excite visceral responses throughout the world. The response is even more fraught when we consider long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) for youth. Both intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are LARCs, and the challenges for young women who wish to use them—lack of access, myths and misconceptions, provider bias, and community stigma—are pervasive. We have to understand more about these challenges in order to overcome them.

  • Elizabeth Futrell

    CCP | Content Development Lead

    This post was originally published on the Zika Communication Network.

    Los investigadores no tardaron mucho tiempo en descubrir cuál es la amenaza más grave que presenta el virus del Zika: el mayor riesgo de microcefalia y otros defectos congénitos en bebés nacidos de madres infectadas con el virus del Zika durante el embarazo. Al mismo tiempo, la reacción ante la crisis del Zika ha puesto en evidencia problemas mucho mayores de los sistemas de salud en los países afectados, que incluyen la falta de acceso a la información y a los servicios de anticoncepción integrales en algunas comunidades afectadas o amenazadas por el virus del Zika.

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