UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund
Reaching women and girls across the line of fire in Myanmar’s Kachin conflict


Families, including pregnant women, children, and disabled and elderly people, have fled shelling and airstrikes in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State. © Metta Development Foundation

KACHIN STATE, Myanmar – Since the armed conflict in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State intensified in December, nearly 7,000 people have fled the area, often amid shelling and airstrikes. Among the people on the run are 260 pregnant women. Many of them are sleeping on the roadside, unable to find shelter. Their needs are acute.

The area is highly militarized, and ongoing fighting and unsafe routes restrict access to the people in need.

Thursday, February 16, 2017 10:20:11 AM

On Valentine's Day, say #IDONT


Photographer Vincent Tremeau traveled to communities in Nepal and Iraq where girls face a heightened risk of child marriage. He asked what they want to be when they grow up. Punita, 14, wants to be a teacher. © Vincent Tremeau

UNITED NATIONS/KAPILVASTU/ERBIL – “I’ve been married for five years – since I was 12 – but I haven’t gone to live with my husband yet,” said Rupali Kurmi, from Kapilvastu district, in Nepal. “That’s happening in about three weeks’ time.”

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 5:01:52 PM

Family planning a development imperative, leaders at AU Summit emphasize


Marie Josee Mukankuranga explains how she counsels women on family planning during a visit by development experts. © UNFPA/Rick Francis

ADDIS ABABA/RWAMANGANA – Marie Josee Mukankuranga stood before international health and development experts in her home in the Rwamagana District of Rwanda, talking about her community’s need for family planning.

Ms. Mukankuranga, a community health worker, explained that villagers visit her to learn about modern contraception. “I am following up with 35 to 40 clients,” she told them.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 3:57:54 PM

Dropping the knife: One woman joins the fight for women’s rights in the Gambia


Aja Babung Sidibeh used to gather girls for the FGM ritual. She comes from a family considered custodians of the tradition. © UNFPA/Kasandi Mulaa

JAJANBUREH, The Gambia – For years, Aja Babung Sidibeh would gathered girls together in the Central River Region of the Gambia and prepared them to take part in an initiation rite. The girls would come stay with her until a circumciser arrived to cut them – a practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM).

Friday, February 03, 2017 10:59:14 AM

In Botswana, future depends on investments in young people


Xhute left school because her family could not afford to buy her shoes to wear to class. She plans to continue her education and become a teacher. © UNFPA Botswana/Nchidzi Smarts

GHANZI, Botswana – Two years ago, 12-year-old Xhute could not afford shoes to wear to class. She was forced to drop out of school – like her mother before her.

Xhute’s mother also started having children when she was very young. She gave birth to Xhute when she was only 16 years old.

Without an education, Xhute is vulnerable to repeating her mother’s fate. She will be less able to find decent work and is more likely to become a teen mother herself.

Thursday, February 02, 2017 10:46:16 AM

In Colombia, efforts to end FGM are empowering women to be leaders


Solani Zapata, a member of her region's indigenous council, says talking about FGM sparked conversations about women's role in society. © UNFPA/Daniel Baldotto

BOGOTA, Colombia – Solani Zapata first heard about female genital mutilation (FGM) when she gave birth to her daughter. Her mother-in-law insisted she had to cut her newborn’s clitoris. Shocked, Ms. Zapata refused. 

She and her family are Emberá, a historically impoverished and marginalized indigenous group. Many lack access to health and education services. The most isolated communities have little knowledge about sexual and reproductive health or human rights, leaving them vulnerable to harmful practices like FGM.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 1:54:09 PM

New study finds child marriage rising among most vulnerable Syrian refugees


A girl dresses as a bride for a march against child marriage and gender-based violence in Jezzine, Lebanon. © RET Liban

United Nations, New York/Beirut, Lebanon – An alarming rise in child marriages has been seen among the most vulnerable Syrian refugee populations in Lebanon, according to a newly completed survey conducted by UNFPA, the American University of Beirut and Sawa for Development and Aid.

The survey covered some 2,400 refugee women and girls living in Western Bekaa, and found that more than a third of those surveyed between the ages of 20 and 24 had been married before reaching age 18.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 3:38:06 PM

Women’s health needs persist in conflict-affected Kachin State


“The mobile clinic doctor and midwife have given me the confidence to give birth in the hospital, rather than at home," Ei Ngae told UNFPA. © UNFPA/Yenny Gamming

WAINGMAW, Myanmar – When Dr. Kyaw Linn Htun arrived at Thar Ga Ya, a camp for displaced people, almost 20 women were already lined up to see him. The women had all been displaced from their homes when the armed conflict in Myanmar’s Kachin State reached their villages. And with fighting in Kachin intensifying in recent months, their hopes of returning are fading.

Thursday, January 26, 2017 4:20:50 PM

From teen mother to mentor in the Comoros


After Jiminie Moussa became pregnant at 16, she was abandoned by her parents and boyfriend. © UNFPA Comoros/Nasser Youssouf

NGAZIDJA, Comoros – When Jiminie Moussa was 16, she began dating a man who was old enough to be her father. Her family in Ngazidja, the largest island in the Comoros, tolerated the relationship because her boyfriend supported her studies – but that all changed when she became pregnant.

In her conservative community, there is great stigma attached to being an unmarried teenage mother.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 3:37:44 PM

Thousands reached in Somalia reproductive health campaign


The outreach campaign provided antenatal care, postpartum services, family planning counselling and many other services. © UNFPA Somalia

MORODIJEEX – It was early morning when a young sheikh, Abdi Iidan, and his wife joined the long queue leading to a tent in Morodijeex, in north-western Somalia. Mr. Iidan stood out from the crowd; women dominated the queue.

They were seeking reproductive health services, offered through a UNFPA-supported campaign targeting marginalized populations. The health tent in Morodijeex was located near a settlement for displaced people.

Friday, January 20, 2017 2:42:09 PM


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