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Facing Huge Need for Contraception, Young Leaders Pioneer Innovative Solutions

Posted on 15. Nov, 2013 by in SASsy Events

At global family planning conference, spotlight on efforts to expand lifesaving information and services for young people

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA—The current generation of young people is the largest in history—and also at great risk for unintended pregnancy, maternal death and the life-altering consequences of becoming teenage parents. Youth themselves are speaking up to demand that family planning programs reach more of their peers and take account of their unique needs.

Attendees of the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP 2013)—many of them young women and men under age 25—spoke passionately today about the importance of providing contraceptive information and services to youth. Organized around the theme “Full Access, Full Choice,” ICFP is the largest-ever global meeting on family planning, and is taking stock of progress to ensure that everyone has the tools to plan their families and futures.

“Family planning is holistic. It gives young people the chance to stay in school, to finish their education, to start a business,” said Barwani Msiska, attending ICFP as a Youth Leader from the Republic of Malawi. “We talk about Africa rising, but we cannot achieve that great big idea if we do not invest in and protect our adolescents.”

According to the United Nations, every day 20,000 girls younger than age 18 give birth in developing countries, representing 95% of births to adolescent girls worldwide. Girls are at a dramatically heightened risk for pregnancy- and childbirth-related health complications, and 70,000 girls under age 18 die annually as a result. The benefits of empowering girls to avoid pregnancy include better health, increased economic productivity and the full realization of their rights and potential.

The plenary presentations at ICFP 2013 today highlighted emerging evidence of what works to reach young people with contraceptive information and services. One of the biggest challenges is that when adults try to engage with young people, the message often falls flat due to generational differences. “Peer-to-peer” programs that enlist youth to be leaders are essential.

“There is a barrier between young people and grownups, and when adults talk about family planning, young people often don’t say what they think. With peer-to-peer education, youth open up a lot more to other youth,” said Maria Angelica Botero, a Youth Leader attending ICFP from the Republic of Colombia. “What doesn’t work is when grownups pass on their taboos. We have to talk to young people in our language.”

Family planning programs must engage everyone in the community. Changing attitudes among men and religious leaders is paramount, particularly attitudes that sanction child marriage. In developing countries, 9 out of 10 adolescent girls who become pregnant are married, often to much older men, and a quarter of adolescent pregnancies occur in girls ages 10–14.

“As a young male who is a women’s rights advocate, I have been questioned by my peers, my family, my community. They say that men should be in power,” said Dakshitha Madhuka Wickremarathne, attending ICFP as a Youth Leader from the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. “There are many political, religious and legal barriers to women making decisions about their bodies.”

Barwani Msiska of Malawi said: “When you walk into a church, you see someone young with a baby right on your pew. Religious leaders cannot pretend that young people are not having sex.”

As more efforts are launched to deliver contraceptive information and services to young people, it is critical to carefully monitor and evaluate their effectiveness. The best programs will need new resources so they can be brought to scale while maintaining quality.

It is vital that young people are front and center in making decisions about family planning programs and policy. “The biggest problem for young people is old people. We as adult leaders have to get over our discomfort about family planning and youth because it is about saving lives,” said Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund. “As adults it is our responsibility to grow up, in order to facilitate safe passage from childhood to adulthood for young people.”

ICFP 2013 continues through the end of the week. It is jointly organized by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Largest-Ever Global Family Planning Conference to Open This Week in Ethiopia

Posted on 13. Nov, 2013 by in SASsy Events

Thousands of political leaders, advocates and experts will highlight the wide-ranging benefits of ensuring everyone has access to contraceptive information and tools that meet their needs

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA—This week, Ethiopia will host the third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP 2013) to urge greater global action to ensure all people have the contraceptive information and tools they need to plan their families and their lives. The meeting, organized around the theme “Full Access, Full Choice,” will bring together thousands of advocates, researchers, health professionals and political leaders from more than 100 countries and will be the largest family planning conference to date.

Ethiopian leaders—including Prime Minister Hailemariam DesalegnFirst Lady Roman Tesfaye and Minister of Health Dr. Kesete-birhan Admasu—will host the conference and highlight the successes of Ethiopia and other countries in expanding access and choice in family planning. A major focus of the meeting is to take stock of progress in reaching 120 million additional women with contraceptive information and tools by 2020, a global goal agreed upon at the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.

Ethiopian officials will be joined by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates; African Union Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-ZumaPhilippine Undersecretary of Health and former Congresswoman, and co-author of the Reproductive Health Bill, Dr. Janette Garin; US Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne RichardsJoint Secretary of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Anuradha Gupta; and UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development Lynne Featherstone.

Each day of the conference will focus on a theme central to expanding family planning access and choice:

  • Making a Difference through Sustained Political Commitment – 12 November: At the conference’s opening ceremony, Prime Minister Desalegn and other leaders will discuss the role of political commitment in expanding family planning access and choice worldwide.
  • Achieving Equity through Women in Leadership – 13 November: Speakers will highlight female champions for family planning and the role of female leaders in promoting gender equity.
  • The Young and the Restless: Effective Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Programs – 14 November: Dynamic youth speakers will address the importance of ensuring that young people have access to family planning information and programs that meet their unique needs.
  • Moving Forward: Highlighting Progress and New Commitments – 15 November: The final day of the conference will focus on progress and new commitments to expand contraceptive access and choice. The winners of the first Excellence in Leadership for Family Planning (EXCELL) Awards will be announced at the closing ceremony.

Directly preceding the conference on 12 November, a High-Level Ministerial Meeting will bring together more than 20 Ministers of Finance and Planning, Health, Youth, and Gender to discuss the investments needed—especially in family planning—to meet the needs of Africa’s youth today, and to maximize their future potential for national development.

ICFP 2013 is jointly organized by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


WHAT: International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) 2013

WHEN: 12-15 November 2013

WHERE: African Union Conference Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

MEDIA RESOURCES:  Online media resources, including the press program and press releases, are available here. The ICFP 2013 plenary program is available online here, and the full conference program can be found here.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow ICFP 2013 on the  #ICFPLive BlogFacebookTwitter and Tumblr.


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Local CHAMP deadline nearing

Posted on 09. Nov, 2013 by in HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, SASsy Events

The Local Government Academy (LGA) through its UNDP Scaling-up Effective and Sustained Response on HIV and AIDS project is now looking for its 2013 Local C.H.A.M.P. (Catalytic Actions for HIV and AIDS Mitigation Programme) among local government units in the Philippines.

Local C.H.A.M.P. provides an avenue for recognizing and assessing programs of LGUs that have:

  • Strengthened organizational and political strategies in combating HIV and AIDS at the local level
  • Promoted effective and sustained local responses to HIV and AIDS
  • Provided tangible impacts which have contributed to the improvement of HIV and AIDS program
  • Served as an inspiration and advocacy tool for action and change
  • Contributed to societal issues and challenges through policies and legislations
  • Highlighted opportunities for partnerships and collaborations among stakeholders
  • Demonstrated collaborative initiatives with various stakeholders
  • Provided activities that are replicable and applicable to differentsituations
  • Excelled in governance and public administration at their organizations


  • Call for Application – 11 October –15 November 2013
  • Deadline of Application – 15 November 2013 at 5:00 PM
  • Assessment and Judging – 17–18 November 2013
  • Awarding – 1 December 2013
Forms can be downloaded in the LGA website.
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ADB Youth Dialogue: “Girl Rising” Movie Screening

Posted on 09. Oct, 2013 by in SASsy Events

In support of the UN International Day of the Girl Child (11 October), ADB Youth Dialogues is hosting a special movie screening of “Girl Rising”, a groundbreaking film directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins. It tells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers and narrated by renowned actresses such as Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep.

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The event is FREE and welcome to youth groups, families, professionals, and everyone who supports the movement of recognizing girls’ rights all around the world. Please click here to register. Deadline for registration is on Wednesday, October 9. Organized regularly, ADB Youth Dialogues strengthen youth participation in policy discourse and enhance partnerships between ADB, civil society organizations (CSO’s), and youth-led CSO’s as important stakeholders of Asia’s continuing development.

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Global Leaders Call for Accelerated Progress on Family Planning at Women Deliver 2013

Posted on 30. May, 2013 by in Contraception, SASsy Events

Melinda Gates, Babatunde Osotimehin and others highlight progress in expanding contraceptive access

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  — On the second day of Women Deliver 2013, the largest conference on girls and women of the decade, global leaders announced progress and new commitments toward expanding contraceptive access for women in developing countries. They also outlined plans for sustaining this momentum in the years to come.

The day’s events built on commitments and energy generated at the landmark July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, where global leaders pledged more than US $2.6 billion to provide 120 million more women and girls in the world’s poorest countries with voluntary access to contraceptive services, information and supplies by 2020. Speakers at Women Deliver 2013 discussed strategies to reach women and girls in developing countries who do not want to become pregnant, but lack access to contraceptives.

“Putting women at the center of development and delivering solutions that meet their needs will result in huge improvements in health, prosperity and quality of life,” said Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates. “When women have access to contraceptives they’re healthier, their children are healthier, and their families thrive.”

At the morning plenary session—led by Melinda Gates and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director and Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Co-Chair Babatunde Osotimehin—government leaders from Africa and Asia highlighted concrete examples of progress on family planning and reaffirmed commitments to further expanding contraceptive access:

  • Senegal’s Minister of Health Dr. Awa Coll-Seck discussed the country’s dramatic progress in eliminating contraceptive stock-outs since the national family planning program’s roll-out in November 2012, doubling the budget to CFA 200 million with plans for further increases in 2015.
  • The Philippines’ Secretary of Health Dr. Enrique T. Ona discussed the country’s historic passage of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, after a nearly 15-year battle.
  • The First Lady of Zambia, Her Excellency Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata, highlighted Zambia’s stalwart commitment to expanding family planning access in the country, which launched its national family planning program last month.
  • Indonesia’s Minister of Health Dr. Nafsiah Mboi announced the government’s increase in funding for long-acting reversible contraceptives, as part of its redoubled efforts to regain momentum on family planning access after recent plateaus.
  • National Coordinator for Malawi’s Safe Motherhood Initiative, Mrs. Dorothy Ngoma, discussed the government’s efforts to considerably strengthen the family planning component of safe motherhood efforts countrywide.

“These countries show that we can make an impact on women’s access to reproductive health if we rally the necessary political will and financial commitments,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. “Expanding access to contraceptives is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to save lives and ensure the health and wellbeing of future generations.”

Continued advocacy will be needed to ensure that governments sustain and increase their commitments to family planning and to girls’ and women’s health and rights more broadly. In addition to a high-level plenary on innovative advocacy strategies, Global Poverty Project (GPP) CEO and Co-Founder Hugh Evans announced the new advocacy campaign It Takes Two, led by GPP in partnership with Women Deliver. This campaign aims to motivate young men and women to take action in support of family planning services and information, and to hold governments accountable for their FP2020 commitments.

The day’s conversations helped set the stage for Thursday’s discussions on the critical role of girls and women in the post-Millennium Development Goal framework. Speakers will include United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark, Former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, High-Level Task Force on ICPD Member HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and African Women’s Development Fund CEO Theo Sowa, among others.

For live webcasts and archived videos of conference plenaries, presidential sessions and press conferences, please click here. Images are available on the Women Deliver Flickr page, and additional content is availablehere.

To access the full Women Deliver 2013 schedule, please click here.

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YES 2 HIV Test! A Bloggers’ Forum on the 30th IACM

Posted on 30. May, 2013 by in HIV/AIDS, SASsy Events

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Decade’s Largest Global Conference on Women and Girls Begins Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur

Posted on 27. May, 2013 by in SASsy Events

Decade’s Largest Global Conference on Women and Girls Begins Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur
Thousands of international leaders and advocates to call for investments in
women’s health and rights at Women Deliver 2013

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 27, 2013 – This Tuesday, more than 3,000 world leaders, policymakers and advocates representing over 150 countries will convene in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Women Deliver 2013, the decade’s largest meeting focused on girls’ and women’s health and rights.

The conference will feature more than 100 sessions with talks by some of the world’s leading voices on girls’ and women’s issues, including Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Chelsea Clinton, Board Member of the Clinton Foundation; Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Foundation (UNFPA); and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Malaysian Prime Minister Honorable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak will lead the opening ceremony on the first day of the meeting.

The Women Deliver 2013 conference will focus on themes including:

  • the economic and social benefits of investing in girls and women;
  • how to achieve the goal of reaching 120 million more women with voluntary family planning services by 2020; and
  • the need to place girls and women at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda.

During the meeting, organizations such as the World Bank, the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization will release major new research and reports focused on the benefits of investing in girls and women.

“Women Deliver 2010 was critical in showing that investing in girls and women is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for the economy and good for society,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who gave opening remarks at Women Deliver 2010 and later that year launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. “Women Deliver 2013 will be an opportunity to keep up the pressure and to affirm our plans for the period ahead.”

Women Deliver 2013 takes place at a critical time, just days before the Secretary-General will receive recommendations for the post-2015 development framework. Conference speakers and attendees will call for action to ensure that girls and women are prioritized in the lead-up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline and beyond.

WHAT: Women Deliver 2013 conference

WHEN: Tuesday, May 28 to Thursday, May 30, 2013

WHERE: Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This will be Women Deliver’s first conference in Asia.

WEBCAST: Live webcast and archived video of all plenaries and presidential sessions will be available at

PRESS PROGRAM: Online media resources, including the press program and press releases, available here.

PRESS CONFERENCES: Press conferences will occur daily and feature global leaders and advocates.

REGISTRATION: Complimentary for journalists and bloggers who cover women’s issues – both on-site and virtual registration available; click here to register.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @womendeliver and #WD2013 on Twitter; visit Women Deliver on Facebook.

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I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly

Posted on 20. Mar, 2013 by in SASsy Events

Thanks for agreeing to come to our jelly on Thursday!


We’re often asked what a jelly is — so here goes:

What is a jelly?

A jelly is a casual, fun co-working event where unique individuals are brought together with the hope of creating a fruitful discussion or potential collaborations.

This month, ChannelGood along with and Co.Lab is hosting the Jelly for Women’s Month and we want you to be a part of it. We have invited advocates, entrepreneurs, and artists and we are setting up the space to be conducive for sharing stories and exchanging ideas on how we can all move women’s interests forward.

To help us prepare, may we please ask you to answer this very short survey? :)

Do you have a dream project for advancing any women’s issue? If yes, could you share? If none, what issue would you be interested to work on? (i.e. Rate of teenage pregnancies, lack of employment opportunities, create stronger voice in the media, etc.)
What do you need to advance your big idea?
Do you need design services? Project partners? Funding? Connection to the right people?
What can you offer that can contribute to another’s movement?
Anything goes for this one! Well, for all the questions, really :)
If you have any questions or need directions going to Co.Lab, just let us know.

Yay! We’re REALLY, REALLY excited for this!

Chely, Deng, and Aissa

PS. Thank you to our Food Sponsor – Seven Spice Shop! :)

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You Have Every Right Exhibit: A Study on Manila by Women Artists

Posted on 19. Mar, 2013 by in SASsy Events

You Have Every Right Exhibit: A Study on Manila by Women Artists

By: Nicai de Guzman

Discourse on women’s rights and socio-political structures have been tackled by various government agencies, in courtrooms, and even at homes. Women have always taken a participatory role in these discussions, expressing themselves using different media including art.

This is exactly why independent curator Lian Ladia and her team of women artists organized the You Have Every Right Exhibit: An All-Female Show at the Ateneo Art Gallery.

Ladia, together with Ateneo de Manila University, invited women artists fromAustralia,Germany,Sweden,Denmark, andManila, to stay in metro and create works about the city. The result is a gallery of paintings, installation art, and performance installation which also made use of media and technology.

“The exhibition itself was not the finalizing factor for the works. Rather, the project focused on a process-oriented approach to art-making,” Ladia said.

Ladia explained that embedded in the works of the artists is a study of discrimination, objectification, oppression, patriarchy, stereotyping, roles of power, and more.

“I wanted to give the artists an opportunity to respond to the present, and pursue their current concerns in Manila, a country leading in gender equality, top eight in the World Economic Forum 2013,” she said.

An example is Chilean artist Claudia Del Fierro’s “Artefacto para remediar el registro” or Device to remedy the record. The installation art is a diptych video projection hidden in a maze of make-shift architecture. Inside are juxtaposed videos of a library and its stillness, andManila’s daily public life.

Another is Copanhagen-based Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen’s performance and installation piece Gaia#2. Performed is a “self-healing ritual nullification” involving volcanic rocks fromMt.Pinatubo, sand, 3-piece ritual family clothing, coconut shells, and pig’s blood.

One of the Manila-based artists, Maria Cruz, is an advocate of a more speculative role for art. She chose Celso Ad Castillo’s 1971 film Nympha as inspiration for her paintings.

“I chose to work with the film Nympha because the narrative is familiar not just to me, but to many…I rely a lot on personal memory on attempts to recreate any chosen subject. Text or script as forms play a role as well,” Cruz said.

Ladia said that the exhibition seeks to identify a sense of introspection and a brief pause from western feminist theory so that “Manila” be the center of discussion. In this case, Ladia said, the feminist eye was more practiced than academically discussed.

“The audience, artists and organizers where invited to engage, and discover even if for the first time, without restrictions, to push an idea, curiosity, question or intuition, exploring one’s own every right – and one’s own power and ability, to just do,” Ladia said.

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Ending violence against women is critical to ending AIDS

Posted on 08. Mar, 2013 by in Global Issues, SASsy Events

Message from UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on International Women’s Day

GENEVA, 8 March 2013—On this day when we honour women, let me speak directly to the men. As husbands and partners, brothers and sons, we must be part of the solution to build a world where women and men are equal.

An equal world is one where all women and men have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. It is one where women and men can equally protect themselves from HIV.  And it is a world where women and girls are free to reach their full potential—without fear of violence from men.

Ending violence against women is not only an urgent human rights need—it is critical to ending AIDS. Up to 7 out of 10 women experience violence in their lifetime. Violence or the fear of violence can prevent women from negotiating safer sex. At the same time women living with HIV are often more vulnerable to violence, which can stop women from getting the HIV care and treatment they need.

Today, half of all people living with HIV are women. Every minute one young woman is infected with HIV. This is not acceptable. Only when we value a girl’s health and welfare as highly as a boy’s, only when we listen and act equally to women’s voices—then can we have a chance at ending this epidemic.

On this International Women’s Day, I am counting on you to stand together as caring communities. Let us reach for shared dignity, mutual respect and a renewed commitment to end violence against women and girls.

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