PORT LOKO, Sierra Leone - Fatmata Sesay was 15 years old when she became pregnant. Her parents forced her to move in with her boyfriend, who was neither in school nor employed. Moving in with him felt like an underage marriage, she says.
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An event organized by UN Women, the Global Network for Women Peacebuilders, UNFPA, Peacebuilding Support Office and the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh and Finland, brought together young women from four countries to share experiences and speak about their peacebuilding work.
Fifteen per cent of the world's population lives with a disability, and nearly 200 million are between the ages of 10 and 24. Yet they are often invisible in government statistics. Girls and boys with disabilities are largely excluded from education and health services, discriminated against in their communities and trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence.
During the mapathon hosted by UNFPA on September 28, over 6,000 volunteers in over 60 countries mapped more than 49,000 buildings and nearly 7,000 kilometres of roads – generating data that will help a range of FGM-related services and outreach programmes reach the girls, families and communities that need them most.
The world's population is set to grow by 2.2 billion between now and 2050, the UN said on Wednesday, and more than half of that growth - 1.3 billion - is likely to be in sub-Saharan Africa, where women's rights are hampered by limited access to healthcare and education, along with "entrenched gender discrimination".
Across the world, choices are restricted for too many women, says UNFPA's flagship report, The State of World Population 2018, released today. The freedom to make decisions that affect one’s health and well-being is inextricably linked to reproductive rights. Where individuals and couples are unable to decide whether and when to have children, fertility rates are often high, making it harder for countries to provide essential services – including health care and education – that help people chart a path from poverty.
"I am so scared. I can't even describe it," Ibu Fariati, 27, told UNFPA. On 28 September, Ms. Fariati's home collapsed in a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that, just 30 minutes later by some accounts, unleashed a 6-metre wall of water. The wave swept away Ms. Fariati's home - and nearly 70,000 others.
Humanitarian crises are taking an enormous toll around the world. More people are displaced today than at any time since World War II, and among those affected, women and girls are the most vulnerable. More than a quarter of the 100 million people in need of humanitarian assistance are women and adolescent girls of childbearing age, between 15 and 49. They face mounting risks and vulnerabilities, but have limited access to services and insufficient funding to meet their unique health and protection needs.
Zhanna*, 36, is an HIV-positive mother of two in the conflict-affected Donetsk Region of Ukraine. She says she contracted HIV from her former partner, a man who beat and raped her. Her candour about these issues is unusual; very few women are willing to speak out about experiencing violence or contracting HIV. Today is World AIDS Day, a time to recommit to stopping the spread of the disease.
“When I was young, I did not want to be cut,” said Aissata Camara, speaking at the High-Level Panel on Female Genital Mutilation, held during the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. “I am one of those 200 million girls who have been cut,” said the Guinean-American activist and co-founder of the There Is No Limit Foundation. “I am here to speak for the 68 million that are now at risk.” Female genital mutilation (FGM) is routinely practiced in 25 countries. In 2015, an estimated 3.9 million girls were cut.