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    Posted March 8, 2014 by
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    10 Young Leaders, 10 Promising Solutions to Benefit Girls & Women


    In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Women  Deliver awarded seed grants of US$5,000 each to 10 young people in Africa, Asia  & Latin America to support projects aimed at advancing girls’ and  women’s health and rights in their communities.

    Women Deliver also launched an online voting competition that will allow the public to  vote for the project they believe will have the greatest impact. Voting will  close on March 20 at 5 PM EST, and the winner will receive an additional  US$500 for his or her project.

    “These young advocates were chosen from every corner of the globe for  their ingenuity, ambition and promise,” said Jill Sheffield, Founder  and President of Women Deliver. “Our grants will give these rising stars  the tools, support and funding they need to change girls’ and women’s lives in  their communities and beyond.”

    The Women Deliver C-Exchange Seed Grants were funded  by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global. Both are members of the C-Exchange, a Women Deliver-led private sector forum that also includes Bayer  HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, GE, HRA Pharma Foundation, MTV Staying Alive  Foundation and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States). The C-Exchange  offers and encourages opportunities for public-private and private-private  collaboration to improve maternal and reproductive health.

    “We know that if we want to advance girls’ and women’s health globally,  we cannot act alone,” said Saundra Pelletier, CEO of WomanCare  Global. “Collaboration is critical – and the Women Deliver C-Exchange helps  forge partnerships across sectors to deliver for girls and women everywhere.”

    At the Women Deliver 2013 conference, the C-Exchange launched a Youth Initiative to create new opportunities to engage and  empower youth.

    “Young people have fresh, new ideas to overcome maternal and  reproductive health challenges in their communities, but they do not always  have the means to transform proposals into projects,” said Joy Marini,  Executive Director of Corporate Contributions at Johnson & Johnson.  “The C-Exchange Seed Grants are investments in young people, their creativity  and, ultimately, our future.”

    Seed grant recipients were selected from a group of  outstanding young advocates under the age of 30, known as the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders. Applicants were required to  complete an e-course that helped hone their skills on advocacy project  management and development, and proposals were assessed by an internal review  board.

    The selected projects will tackle a range of sexual and reproductive  health-related issues, including increasing access to youth-friendly services  and information in Uganda; helping young urban mothers change policy in Mexico;  and ending child marriage in rural Zimbabwe.

    “The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program has helped me to develop the  skills I need to be a strong and impactful advocate for young women in  Tanzania,” said seed grant recipient Maureen Anyango Oduor, who is the  Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordinator at African Peace  Ambassadors Tanzania (APAT). “Thanks to this grant, I will have an opportunity  to launch my own mobile health campaign to ensure that young girls in my  community have better access to critical health information and services.”

    The “Social Rising for Dowry and Early Marriage Prevention” project —  known as Jagoroni, or “wakeful,” in Bengali — got the seed grant from  Bangladesh to be implemented by a gender advocacy organization Socio-Economic  Rural Advancement Committee (SERAC) Bangladesh. The programme is aimed at  monitoring and preventing early marriage and dowry violence. Jagoroni will help  650 young people advocate against child marriage by creating youth-led  “watchdog” groups. Using cell phones and online networking, these groups will  track and report dowry and child marriage cases to local law enforcement agencies.

    S M Shaikat, Executive Director of SERAC said, "Law alone can't  prevent social problems like child marriage and dowry. Community initiatives  can play a great role in this regard. I'm grateful to women deliver to help in  this regard."

    S M Shaikat's Anti-Dowry Awareness Programme has more than 1,000 members  across Bangladesh. He was the moderator for Bangladesh at the 2013  International Dialogue on Youth and Employment in Berlin and a 2013 nominee for  the U.S. State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme. He has  more than a decade of experience in youth leadership, community development and  human rights. He envisions a society where dowry and child marriage will be  completely history.

    The Women Deliver website contains details of the 10 young leaders and  their 10 promising projects. You can also participate in online voting competition.
    Full List of Women Deliver 10 Winners (In alphabetical order by name)

    · Ajidagba Emman  Babatunde (Tunde), Nigeria, Campus Health & Rights Initiative
       Campus Sexual and Reproductive Health Promotion Initiative: Protecting  university students against HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted infections.

    · Cecilia García Ruiz, Mexico, Espolea
       Adolescent and Youth Motherhood Project: Helping young  Mexican mothers speak out about their sexual and reproductive health needs.

    · Chukwudera Bridget  Okeke, Nigeria, Concern Women International Development Initiative
       Reducing the Burden of HIV/AIDS Among Female Sex Workers and Their  Clients: Empowering female sex workers to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS.

    · Humphrey Nabimanya, Uganda, Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU)
       Peer Educators Academy: Enabling young people to  advocate for reproductive health services and rights.

    · Martin E.  Wanzala, Uganda, Allied Youth Initiative
       Better-Quality Access for Youth: Bringing organizations together  to achieve policy change in Uganda.

    · Maureen Anyango  Oduor, Tanzania, African Peace Ambassadors Tanzania
       Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment Project: Using mobile technology to  deliver reproductive health education and services to adolescent girls.

    · Nargis  Shirazi, Uganda, WO-MAN Foundation
       Full and Richly Empowered About Sexual Health: Inspiring  creative solutions to improve the reproductive health of Uganda’s urban youth.

    · Numfor Alenwi  Munteh, Cameroon, Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development
       Adolescent Pregnancies: Traditional Rulers Speak Out: Engaging  traditional leaders to reduce adolescent pregnancy.

    · S M Shaikat, Bangladesh, SERAC-Bangladesh
       Jagoroni – Social Rising for Dowry and Early Marriage Prevention: Equipping youth to  monitor and address child marriage and dowry violence.

    · Yemurai Nyoni, Zimbabwe, Bulawayo Youth  Development Organization
       Rising Birds Project: Combating child marriage through  youth-led community organizing.

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