UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund
UNFPA scales up response after Iraq earthquake
UNFPA is distributing essential hygiene supplies to women and girls displaced by the earthquake. Photo courtesy of Civil Development International

ERBIL, Iraq – In the aftermath of the powerful earthquake that struck the Iraq-Iran border on 12 November, UNFPA has scaled up its emergency response to meet the needs of women and girls.


The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, 30 km southwest of Halabja in Iraq. According to an interagency assessment mission to Sulaymaniyah, the earthquake left eight people dead and more than 500 injured. Hundreds of families were displaced.


Friday, November 24, 2017 2:01:58 AM

In Pakistan, empowering midwives to empower women
Midwives attend to clients in Sindh Province. Midwifery training and support is empowering women and saving lives. © UNFPA Pakistan

TANDO MOHAMMAD KHAN/NAUSHAHARO FEROZE, Pakistan – Aashu Tresa, 32, remembers when becoming a mother was a life-or-death proposition.


When she was growing up, no one in her rural village, Misree Kolhi, gave birth under the care of a trained health worker. “Unskilled, untrained birth attendants were doing deliveries in our community. Some of the newborns died and some of the women had infections during deliveries,” she recounted.


Even now, the journey to motherhood remains a dangerous one in Pakistan.


Monday, November 20, 2017 3:58:33 PM

A story of violence: 16 objects show the reality of gender-based violence around the world
Tatiana’s family in Ukraine was torn apart by her husband’s abuses. He is gone now, but she and her six children are still trying to rebuild in this small home. “The children – I live for them,” Tatiana said. © UNFPA Ukraine/Maks Levin

UNITED NATIONS, New York – “That’s what’s left of my teeth after my husband beat me,” Ameera* said at a women’s shelter in south-western Yemen.


She held out three white shards, which she keeps as evidence for her divorce proceedings. “He hit me so hard he broke my teeth and nose,” she told UNFPA.


Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights abuse in the world, affecting every country and community. One in three women will experience some form of abuse in her lifetime.


Monday, November 20, 2017 12:59:10 PM

Solar lanterns light perilous path to shared toilets in Myanmar refugee camps
Solar-powered lanterns light the way to shared toilets in this displacement camp in Kachin State, Myanmar. Women and girls are vulnerable to attack on their way to the facilities. © Metta Development Foundation/Hkawng Nan

WAINGMAY, Myanmar – Khin Khin shudders when she thinks about walking in the dark from her shelter to the shared toilet. “I never feel safe to go to the toilet at night,” she said.


In Myanmar, 1.5 million people have no toilet in their home or yard. A toilet is essential not only to their health and dignity, it also impacts their safety.


Friday, November 17, 2017 11:23:13 AM

For most vulnerable Nigerian women, high rates of traumatic birth injury
Women and girls are waiting for a fistula repair at Maiduguri’s State Specialist Hospital © Anne Wittenberg/UNFPA

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – “One week after I delivered my second child, I realized that there was an issue,” Aisha told UNFPA from her hospital bed in Maiduguri, in north-east Nigeria. She had developed an obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury that can derail a woman’s whole life.


Obstetric fistula occurs during prolonged, obstructed labour. The obstruction can create a hole between the vaginal wall and the bladder or rectum, leading to incontinence – and often stigma, shame or even rejection from families and communities.


Thursday, November 16, 2017 11:43:24 AM

Trailblazing all-girl cricket tournament calls for bowling out child marriage
Gudiya Chaudhary traveled 35 km to participate in the tournament, which was the first of its kind in the district.

TAULIHAWA, Nepal – "I often watch boys playing cricket on this ground. But today I caught a glimpse of girl cricketers in action," said Irfan Darji, a 13-year-old spectator at the final match in a trailblazing girls’ tournament in Tulihawa, Nepal, on 26 October.


He found himself cheering for the Fewa team as local celebrity cricket commentator Nischal Shrivastav gave ball-by-ball commentary.


“I thoroughly enjoyed their match,” Irfan said after the thrilling finale.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017 11:38:05 AM

In Cambodia, push to end maternal deaths in remote areas
Romam Pchuek reaches out to pregnant women in Ratanakiri, encouraging them to seek appropriate care. © UNFPA/ Matthew Taylor

RATANAKIRI, Cambodia – In the remote farming village of Sakreang, in Cambodia’s far north-east, Romam Pcheuk visits pregnant women in their homes.


“I keep my eye on the girls who are pale, and those that get pregnant very young,” she explained. “It’s my job to warn them of danger signs.”


Ms. Pcheuk once helped women give birth the traditional way – at home, often using dangerous practices.


Wednesday, November 08, 2017 3:25:11 PM

A secret pregnancy in the Comoros: One teen’s story
UNFPA works with youth groups to provide sexual and reproductive health information and services. A UNFPA-supported HIV screening for young people in Moroni. © UNFPA Comoros

MORONI, Comoros – Sara* was 17 when she found out she was pregnant. Living in a rural village in the Comoros, she carried the entire pregnancy in secret, and then gave birth in a hospital bathroom.


“Our society does not accept to get pregnant out of wedlock,” she explained recently to UNFPA.


“I was going out with a young man who was 20 years old,” she recalled. They rarely used condoms, she said.


“My cycles were regular, and I was happy to calculate the day of ovulation to take precautions. But it was not effective.”


Tuesday, November 07, 2017 12:11:33 PM

Two wheelchairs and a stroller: Overcoming barriers to parenthood in Belarus
Anya Shevko with her daughter Nastya. The family struggled to obtain wheelchair-accessible reproductive health services. Photographed by Denis Zelenko for Imena  Magazine

MOZYR, Belarus – When Anya Shevko, 29, became pregnant, she had to weigh herself at a recycling centre because the local maternity clinic did not have suitable scales. Even visiting the clinic was difficult because Anya is in a wheelchair – and so is her husband, Zhenya, 36. But the couple persisted, and when their daughter was born last year, they became the first wheelchair users in Mozyr to start a family.


Thursday, November 02, 2017 2:25:43 PM

“Your voice is your weapon”: Taking on sexual harassment in Egypt
Amany Abdel-Aal, a Wen-Do instructor from the organization Etijah, teaches women how defend themselves and stand up for their rights. © UNFPA/Rebecca Zerzan

CAIRO, Egypt – “Your fear is controlling you,” instructor Amany Abdel-Aal told a roomful of women at a Wen-Do self-defence class, held in a cheerfully painted youth centre on the outskirts of Cairo.


The students – most of them Syrian refugees – nodded in agreement.


“Sometimes I want to do something but I can’t,” one woman admitted.


Their fears are well founded. Most of Ms. Abdel-Aal’s students have experienced sexual harassment. And they are not alone.


Monday, October 30, 2017 1:20:54 PM

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