In honor of International Women’s Day in 2014, Women Deliver celebrated tremendous progress made to advance girls’ and women’s health and rights. Women Deliver showed its support by awarding seed grants of $5,000 to 10 of the 2013 Class of Women Deliver Young Leaders. With these grants they launched projects that addressed a variety of topics such as: sexual and reproductive health, girls' education, child marriage, and more. The Women Deliver C Exchange Seed Grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global.
Adolescent and Youth Motherhood Project, Cecilia García Ruiz & Espolea
Cecilia’s Adolescent and Youth Motherhood Project (AYMP) increased the capacity of adolescent and young mothers in marginalized urban areas of Mexico to advocate for better sexual and reproductive health (SRH) policies – and, simultaneously, the capacity of non-governmental organizations to support this undeserved population. Specific tactics included peer education, advocacy workshops and social media campaigns. At the end of this seven-month project, Cecilia and her team presented a policy recommendation to local government officials to help increase political commitments for SRH.
Adolescent Pregnancies: Traditional Rulers Speak Out, Numfor Alenwi Munteh & Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development
The Adolescent Pregnancies: Traditional Rulers Speak Out (AP-TRSO) project encouraged traditional leaders (“Fons”) in Cameroon to actively promote adolescent reproductive health and rights. Recognizing traditional leaders’ enormous influence over cultural practices in Cameroon, this project targeted local leaders with the goal of transforming them into public opponents of adolescent pregnancy. Through radio placements, poster messages and the training of North West Fons Union members, this project sought to spark positive change in broader community attitudes and behaviors to reduce adolescent pregnancy.
Better-Quality Access for Youth, Martin E. Wanzala & Allied Youth Initiative
Through the Better-Quality Access for Youth (BAY) project, Allied Youth Initiative works with partner organizations across Uganda to increase investments in youth-focused sexual and reproductive health programs. BAY and its partner organizations gathered one million youth voices in support of reproductive rights through an online platform (Ning-site), essay competitions, street interviews and a petition. The petition was presented to the Speaker of Parliament to advocate for increased funding for youth sexual and reproductive health education and services.
Campus Sexual and Reproductive Health Promotion Initiative, Ajidagba Emman Babatunde (Tunde) & Campus Health & Rights Initiative
The Campus Sexual and Reproductive Health Promotion Initiative provided information, education and communication materials to improve the reproductive health of students at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Nigeria. Young people, ages 15-24, are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection in Nigeria, accounting for more than 60% of new cases. The project promoted contraceptive use and offered youth-friendly, voluntary HIV and sexually-transmitted infection testing, counseling and information to more than 25,000 students at OAU.
FRESH: Fully and Richly Empowered about Sexual Health, Nargis Shirazi & WO-MAN Foundation
The Fully and Richly Empowered about Sexual Health (FRESH) project addressed urban and slum youth’s unmet need for youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services. Through a youth hotline and social media outlets, including Facebook, YouTube and blogs, urban Ugandan youth were better educated about sexual and reproductive health and rights. The FRESH project provided a platform for youth to share their stories, dispelled myths and discussed issues affecting young people’s sexual health – and, ultimately, attracted national attention to these issues.
Jagoroni: Social Rising for Dowry and Early Marriage Prevention, S M Shaikat & SERAC-Bangladesh
The Social Rising for Dowry and Early Marriage Prevention Project – known as Jagoroni, or wakeful in Bengali – is Bangladesh’s first program aimed at monitoring and preventing early marriage and dowry violence. Jagoroni has helped 650 young people advocate against child marriage by creating youth-led “watchdog” groups. Using cell phones and online networking, these groups tracked and reported dowry and child marriage cases to local law enforcement agencies.
Peer Educators Academy, Humphrey Nabimanya & Reach a Hand Uganda
Peer Educators Academy (PEA) strengthened young people’s ability to advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Uganda. PEA raised awareness about gender and reproductive health issues, including HIV/AIDS, by providing Ugandan youth with comprehensive sexual health education. The project trained 50 Peer Educators to conduct intensive mentoring programs in 20 secondary schools across central Uganda. The project also offered trainings to health staff to help them deliver high-quality, youth-friendly reproductive health services.
Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment, Maureen Anyango Oduor & African Peace Ambassadors Tanzania
Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment project utilized mobile phones to overcome issues that lead to high rates of maternal mortality, unsafe abortion, and girls’ withdrawal from secondary school in the Muheza district of Northern Tanzania. Adolescent girls were able to consult qualified educators, counselors and medical professionals about health concerns through anonymous text messages. Mobile phones were used to disseminate a text message quiz that helped educate adolescent girls, ages 13-19, about sexual and reproductive health.
Reducing the Burden of HIV/AIDS among Female Sex Workers and their Clients, Chukwudera Bridget Okeke & Concern Women International Development Initiative
Reducing the Burden of HIV/AIDS among Female Sex Workers and their Clients enabled female sex workers in Nigeria’s Benue State to negotiate safer sex with their clients. In Benue State, female sex workers account for just 1% of the population, but 23% of new HIV infections. The project involved three components: 40 female sex workers will teach HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in brothels; peer educators conducted educational sessions in gathering spots, like bars and clubs; and pre-existing HIV/AIDS prevention information, education and communication materials were translated into Tiv, the local language. The ultimate goal of the project was to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Benue State.
Rising Birds Project: Combating Child Marriage, Yemurai Nyoni & Bulawayo Youth Development Organization
The Rising Birds project sought to end child marriage in rural Zimbabwe through innovative, youth-led approaches that target key decision-makers. Zimbabwe’s customary laws allow child marriage, despite overwhelming evidence that the practice limits girls’ access to education and increases the risks of HIV-infection and adolescent pregnancy. This project addressed this pervasive problem by increasing community awareness, engaging youth groups to educate and pressure decision-makers, encouraging greater male involvement and strengthening Zimbabwe’s legal system.