SANA'A, Yemen - Aisha* was raised in a one room apartment adjacent to her father's grocery shop in a small town 100 kilometres from Sana'a, Yemen's capital. Shortly after she turned 12, her father introduced her to a 60-year-old man and informed her that the man had paid to marry her.
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Natividad Coc believes midwifes are born, not made, and she received the calling herself and went into midwifery training while still a young girl. One sunny afternoon, as she makes her rounds in the mountainous district of Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
One week after Cyclone Winston devastated the island nation of Fiji, Elenoa Adi, age 33, awoke at 4 a.m. to unexpected birth pangs. It was late February, and the baby wasn't due until April.
"When I was 12-years old, my family organized a ceremony to transition my sisters and myself to become women," says Kakenya Ntaiya, a member of Kenya's Maasai tribe. "I was first because I was the oldest. I was told to open my knees, so I opened them.
When Fati was 12-years old, her father removed her from school in Niamey and sent her to Nigeria to marry a 40-year-old man. A year later, she was hospitalized with injuries inflicted by her new husband.
In 2014, UNFPA launched Action for Adolescent Girls (AAG), a 12-country initiative aiming to empower some of the world's most marginalized girls, in partnership with the UN Foundation. One of its projects is in Udaipur district, India.
The United Nations announced a new initiative today to advance efforts to end child marriage by 2030 and protect the rights of millions of the most vulnerable girls around the world.
In India, 47 percent of women age 20-24 married before they were 18. In rural, tribal regions of Udaipur district, the rate of child marriage is 56 per cent. Few of the area's girls are enrolled in school, and most are expected to work on their homes and land from dawn to dusk - like their mothers and grandmothers before them.
For millions of women and girls around the world, gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights remain elusive. For instance, nearly 14 million children are forced into marriage every year; that is 37,000 girls being denied their fundamental human rights every single day!
"I was unaware of the fact that young people have the right to decide freely on matters related to their sexuality and that sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights," said Barun Kuinkel, age 17, after attending a sexual and reproductive health outreach session led by a peer educator from Y-PEER Nepal.