Two years ago, 16-year-old Salia Shemsu waited to be married off. Like many young girls in Ethiopia, it was only a matter of time before she would need to leave her family for a husband. Then an opportunity she never expected arrived. A local announcement called for young people to join an entrepreneurship programme. Salia responded immediately. Salia’s district is among 30 in Ethiopia where a joint UNFPA-UNICEF programme is now empowering vulnerable adolescent girls and boys to support themselves and make healthy decisions – by providing them with the knowledge and skills to do so.
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“His verbal attacks were merciless,” says Gemila, a 28-year-old Syrian refugee, about her husband. UNFPA Turkey is running safe spaces funded by the European Commission - Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations - ECHO to help survivors of gender-based violence like Gemila.
Five years back something historic happened. The 2013 Rwandan Parliamentary elections ushered in a record-breaking 64 per cent of seats for women candidates, making Rwanda the top country for women in politics.
Until last month, when a woman needed an emergency Caesarean section on the island of Bubaque, in Guinea-Bissau, she had to take a five-hour boat ride to the capital city. And the boat ran only once a week. Bubaque’s regional hospital – which serves 17 islands in the Bijagos archipelago – did not have any surgical ward at all. It also lacked the ability to provide emergency obstetric and neonatal care. A new surgical ward, supported by UNFPA and the government of Portugal, opened at the regional hospital on 25 July.
When she was 15, Halima Yakoy Adam was forced to become a suicide bomber. Now, she is a paralegal dedicated to educating her community about all forms of violence against women.
Escalating violence in Hodeidah, Yemen, threatens the city's estimated 90,000 pregnant women and girls, UNFPA has announced. Some 14,000 of these women and girls are likely to encounter pregnancy-related complications requiring emergency care, but access to health services has been severely limited by the ongoing crisis.
Refugee women and girls face extraordinary hardships. They endure grave risks and often brutal violence, and many are thrust into poverty. But they can also face another, more intimate, hardship, one that is seldom discussed - the effects of exile on their sexual and reproductive health.
Me Me, a women's protection & empowerment counsellor in a UNFPA-supported women’s and girls’ centre in a Rohingya camp in Myanmar, shares how their educational sessions on health & human rights are helping uplift girls in their community.
Girls living with disabilities often have fewer opportunities to engage with the broader world than boys. In April, UNFPA began working with the Special Olympics to create opportunities for adolescent girls to play and learn. The project will provide sports activities for both girls with disabilities and those without. The participants will also learn about their reproductive health and their human rights.
The number of AIDS-related deaths has fallen to its lowest point this century thanks to improved access to antiretroviral treatment, according to a newly released report. Yet prevention efforts are leaving the most vulnerable behind. UNFPA is working with governments and partners around the world to improve access to prevention measures, particularly for adolescents, women and key populations.