UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund
With bicycles, impoverished indigenous girls in Guatemala get a taste of freedom


Indigenous girls in northern Guatemala must often travel great distances to get to school, a factor that leads to high drop out rates. Bicycles help them stay in school. © UNFPA/Alejandro De León

CHISEC, Guatemala – Like many girls in Pecajbá, in Guatemala, Gladys Azucena Cho Cuc was forced to drop out when she reached secondary school. The high school was simply too far from home.

In rural communities around here, girls travel an average distance of about 8 km to get to class. Their commute often takes them over corn fields and rivers, and some girls spend part of their journey in the dark.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 6:28:45 AM

Study shows meeting adolescents’ health needs would yield tenfold return


Girls from the Safeguard Young People programme in Malawi, which provides sexual and reproductive health information, helps young people access health services, and offers leadership training. © UNFPA Malawi/Hope Ngwira

UNITED NATIONS, New York – A study published today in The Lancet shows that improving the physical, mental and sexual health of adolescents, at a cost of about $4.60 per person per year, would yield more than 10 times as much in benefits to society. Investments in adolescents’ education and human rights would also have enormous benefits relative to costs, the findings demonstrate.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 10:28:45 PM

Taekwondo champion fights gender inequality in Azerbaijan


Taekwondo champion Farida Azizova (left) encourages young people to speak out against gender discrimination. Image from the Youth for a Better Future campaign.

UNITED NATIONS, New York/BAKU, Azerbaijan – “As you know, in this society, we have problems with equality between men and women,” said Farida Azizova, a 21-year-old taekwondo champion from Azerbaijan. She knows all too well the barriers women face.

“I would say that in all types of sports, you will rarely see girls, maybe 5 to 10 percent. For every 100 boys there would be five, maximum 10 girls engaging in sports,” said Sabuhi Zulfuqarov, Ms. Azizova’s coach.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 4:08:15 PM

Sexuality education offers life-saving lessons to Zambia’s young people


Education is helping young people combat Zambia's high rates of teen pregnancy and HIV. © UNFPA Zambia/Helene Christensen

LUSAKA, Zambia – “I have seen girls become pregnant, become victims of violence and become HIV-positive, and I don't want to become one of those girls,” said 13-year-old Lydia Mwelwa, a student at Kabulonga Basic School in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital.

“I’m happy they have taught us in school how we girls can protect ourselves,” she added.

She and her classmates are learning about comprehensive sexuality education after teachers at the school received training from UNFPA.

Thursday, April 13, 2017 12:53:01 PM

UNFPA responds to gender violence in conflict-scarred Kachin


“The most difficult part of my job is the repeated cases, where the husband will not change his behaviour, where the wife is not able to leave, and where she is abused again and again,” says caseworker Lu Bu. © UNFPA/Yenny Gamming

WAING MAW, Myanmar – “Some women are very upset and are not able to immediately explain what has happened,” caseworker Daw Lu Bu explained in Myanmar’s conflict-ridden Kachin State, where she treats survivors of gender-based violence. “I have to help them relax and become calm before they can talk."

Friday, April 07, 2017 8:22:27 AM

Over 1 million affected by brutal flooding, landslides in Peru


María is leading recovery efforts in her community. "The situation is decaying each day," she said. © UNFPA/Cotera

LIMA, Peru – More than 1 million people have been affected by an unprecedented level of flooding, landslides and heavy rains in Peru. Twenty-four out of the country’s 25 departments are grappling with the crisis, including Lima, the capital, where a third of the population lives.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 2:37:07 PM

Traditional leaders stand up to protect youth from HIV, unintended pregnancy


Traditional ceremonies are an opportunity to reach young people with life-saving information. © UNFPA/Meaghan Charkowick

SHISELWENI, Swaziland – “We have high youth unemployment and high teenage pregnancy,” Mr. Obed, a traditional leader in Shiselweni, Swaziland, told UNFPA.

Yet many conservative, rural communities have resisted publicly discussing topics that would improve the health and rights of young people – including adolescent pregnancy, gender-based violence and sexually transmitted infections like HIV.

Monday, April 03, 2017 3:57:24 PM

Cambodian midwives hone skills to save lives


UNFPA-supported trainings are enabling midwives to provide emergency obstetric and newborn care. © UNFPA Cambodia

KAMPONG CHAM, Cambodia – In Cambodia, giving birth is often called “crossing the river.” Both can be dangerous – even deadly – if something goes wrong.

This is particularly true for women living in remote areas, who may lack information about maintaining a safe pregnancy or accessing skilled care during childbirth.

Thursday, March 30, 2017 6:18:22 AM

At two-year mark, Yemen’s conflict takes heavy toll on women and girls


A displaced woman from Taizz receives a dignity kit containing hygiene supplies and other basic items. © UNFPA Yemen

SANA’A, Yemen – On 26 March 2015, the conflict in Yemen dramatically escalated. Two years later, it has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:50:26 AM

Teen mothers in Kenya become powerful advocates for change


Young mothers Purity Bahati (left) and Naomi Kitsao (right) advocate for other young people to access sexual and reproductive health information and care. © UNFPA Kenya/Doulgas Waudo

KILIFI, Kenya – Purity Bahati was only 15 when she started dating her boyfriend, a 28-year-old man. “He told me he loved me, and I believed him,” she said. She was pregnant by the time she was 17.

The pregnancy forced her to drop out of the public school she attended in Kenya’s Kilifi County. “My parents were so furious with me, and they kicked me out of their home,” she said.

Friday, March 17, 2017 10:00:24 PM


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