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US, African leaders must tackle child marriage

August 12th, 2014 | Add a Comment

US, African leaders must tackle child marriage 

See: https://www.devex.com/news/us-african-leaders-must-tackle-child-marriage-84051
This week, more than 40 African heads of state are in Washington, D.C., for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The theme is “Investing in the Next Generation,” which is fitting given the youthful demographics of the continent and the significant issues the next generation faces – from recent abductions of Nigerian schoolgirls to unemployment and forced recruitment of child soldiers, to name a few.

I hope the Obama administration will use this opportunity to lead for girls and announce new commitments to end child, early and forced marriage. Evidence compiled by the International Center for Research on Women and others has consistently shown that adolescent girls are among the most vulnerable to rights abuses and are yet the best-positioned to contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous future when they have a fair chance – a decent education, access to health care and the opportunity to contribute economically.

However, these opportunities escape child brides, who are less likely to finish their education, more likely to experience violence, sexually transmitted infections, early pregnancy and complications in childbirth, typically living a life of domestic servitude. This is not only a violation of their fundamental human rights, but also an unnecessary and avoidable challenge to the outcomes African leaders gathering this week seek – more educated, healthy and productive societies.

See: https://www.devex.com/news/us-african-leaders-must-tackle-child-marriage-84051

Reducing Carbon by Curbing Population

August 12th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Reducing Carbon by Curbing Population 

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/business/economy/population-curbs-as-a-means-to-cut-carbon-emissions.html?_r=0

Remember the population explosion?

When population was growing at its fastest rate in human history in the decades after World War II, the sense that overpopulation was stunting economic development and stoking political instability took hold from New Delhi to the United Nations’ headquarters in New York, sending policy makers on an urgent quest to stop it.

In the 1970s the Indian government forcibly sterilized millions of women. Families in Bangladesh, Indonesia and elsewhere were forced to have fewer children. In 1974, the United Nations organized its first World Population Conference to debate population control. China rolled out its one-child policy in 1980.

Then, almost as suddenly as it had begun, the demographic “crisis” was over. As fertility rates in most of the world dropped to around the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman – with the one major exception of sub-Saharan Africa – population specialists and politicians turned to other issues.

By 1994, when the U.N. held its last population conference, in Cairo, demographic targets had pretty much been abandoned, replaced by an agenda centered on empowering women, reducing infant mortality and increasing access to reproductive health.

“Some people still regret that; some applaud it,” said Joel E. Cohen, who heads the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University in New York. “I’m not sure we need demographic goals but we need forward thinking.”

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/business/economy/population-curbs-as-a-means-to-cut-carbon-emissions.html?_r=0

In South Sudan, opposition to family planning exacerbates reproductive health needs

August 12th, 2014 | Add a Comment

In South Sudan, opposition to family planning exacerbates reproductive health needs 

See: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/news/pid/17917

WAU, South Sudan - The need for reproductive health care remains overwhelming in South Sudan. Even before the current humanitarian crisis erupted in December of last year, the country had one of the highest maternal death rates in the world. And now, more than 1.1 million people internally displaced by violence, conditions have significantly deteriorated.

The country does not have nearly enough health professionals to meet the needs of adolescents and women. Some of the UNFPA-supported clinics operating in displacement camps see more than 40 births a week.

Access to basic reproductive health information and services – including voluntary family planning – would reduce the country’s staggering number of maternal deaths. It would also help bring down the high infant mortality rate.

Yet there remains stiff resistance. Rumours and misconceptions about contraceptives are widespread, and many men are opposed to family planning.

See: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/news/pid/17917

Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment Aims to Shed Light on Pop-Environment Link

August 4th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment Aims to Shed Light on Pop-Environment Link 

See: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/08/family-planning-environmental-sustainability-assessment-aims-shed-light-population-environment-link/

As global environmental change accelerates, understanding how population dynamics affect the environment is more important than ever. It seems obvious that human-caused climate change has at least something to do with the quadrupling of world population over the last 100 years.

But the evidence that slower population growth is good for the environment – logical as that statement may seem – has never been extensive, with conceptual models, empirical research, and data often lacking on key issues.

An ambitious new Worldwatch project, the Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment, hopes to help redress this, shedding light on how increased access to voluntary family planning services can support environmental sustainability.

See: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/08/family-planning-environmental-sustainability-assessment-aims-shed-light-population-environment-link/

Hot Hulu web novella ‘East Los High’ spans media platforms to help young Latinos make smart choices, researchers say

August 4th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Hot Hulu web novella ‘East Los High’ spans media platforms to help young Latinos make smart choices, researchers say

See: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/07/024.html

BUFFALO, N.Y. – “East Los High,” the trailblazing, addictive and hugely popular Hulu original series, uses a range of digital media platforms to involve its audience in the lives, scandals and emotional traumas of Latino students attending a fictional high school in East Los Angeles, California, and communication experts say it works on both the entertainment and educational levels.

The first season was streamed online in summer 2013; the second season was premiered on July 9.  Only a few days later, Hulu announced their renewal of the show for a third season. As one critic said, “Latin heat – East LA never looked so good.”

It is the first-ever English language series with an all-Latino cast to address issues in Latino communities in the United States.  Characters are complex and realistic, and through the program they learn to make smart lifestyle and health choices, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health.

See: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/07/024.html

Africa has a billion soccer fans, but doesn’t need a billion more

August 4th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Guest commentary: Africa has a billion soccer fans, but doesn’t need a billion more 

See: http://www.insidebayarea.com/opinion/ci_26212369/guest-commentary-africa-has-billion-soccer-fans-but

My work in Mozambique was marked by World Cup fever. I arrived here a few weeks before the start of the games and soon joined fellow soccer-crazed fans in a crowded street-side café, careening my neck to cheer on the African teams shown on a low-quality projection on the side of a building.

For a sports lover like me, it was heaven.

At each commercial break, however — right through the final match — Coca-Cola reminded me why I was in Mozambique.”Whatever it takes to win a FIFA World Cup, we have!” the announcer boomed optimistically to his African target audience, while African players deftly maneuvered through defenders. “But our African teams have something even more powerful on their side … 1 billion fans!” continued the announcer. And the crowd went wild.

One billion.In 1990, Africa was home to around half that many, with 630 million people. Today’s actual African population stands at more than 1.1 billion. That’s 1.1 billion who are mostly young people who need primary education, safe water and fuel.They are farmers who need arable land to feed the continent. Young men who need jobs. On a continent that faces abysmal doctor-to-population ratios, all 1.1 billion will, at some point, need health care.
The United Nations estimates that, in 2050, there will be more than twice as many people as there are now. Africa will have to provide for a population of some 2.5 billion. But 2.5 billion people by 2050 is not a foregone conclusion.

Family planning: Ugandan president’s change of heart

August 4th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Family planning: Ugandan president’s change of heart 

See: http://www.theafricareport.com/East-Horn-Africa/family-planning-ugandan-presidents-change-of-heart.html

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has scored an impressive first, as for the first time, since coming into power almost 30 years ago, he has lent support to family planning efforts, as the country’s rising population raises concerns.

Museveni, a fervent defender of high population as a key economic driver, attributing China’s success to its human capital, conceded that massive numbers supported by poor quality education will not transform the economy.

“Although I advocate for a big population, I have realised that a poor quality population cannot transform the country,” he told delegates to the country’s first ever national family planning conference on Monday.

Uganda’s current growth rate is estimated at 3.1 per cent, against a 1.2 per cent world average, with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics saying unmet needs for family stands at 34 per cent.

“It is imperative that parents have children they can afford to look after, so that they don’t grow like wild plants,” Museveni said.

See: http://www.theafricareport.com/East-Horn-Africa/family-planning-ugandan-presidents-change-of-heart.html

How the right contraceptive can change a woman’s life

August 4th, 2014 | Add a Comment

How the right contraceptive can change a woman’s life

PATH’s Sara Tifft describes the global effort that’s helping expand family planning options in four African nations, starting with Burkina Faso

See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/partner-zone-path/contraceptive-change-womans-life

It’s about choice. All women, no matter where they live, should have access to a range of contraceptive options that allow them to make an informed choice and meets their needs – for the sake of their own health and the health of their children and communities. When a woman finds the right contraceptive, it changes her life.

This month in Burkina Faso, in the heart of west Africa, a new form of contraceptive is being launched to do just that. Sayana Press, which PATH helped to develop, has the potential to reach tens of thousands of women who want the choice of an injectable contraceptive, but who live far from clinics where the injections are given.

Sayana Press combines a lower dose formulation of the widely used contraceptive Depo-Provera® with the BD Uniject™ injection system. Uniject, which PATH developed, is a small, prefilled syringe that is easy to transport, easy to use, and designed to reach people wherever they live.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/partner-zone-path/contraceptive-change-womans-life

In Ethiopia, family planning increasingly an article of faith

July 30th, 2014 | Add a Comment

In Ethiopia, family planning increasingly an article of faith 

See: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2014/0725/In-Ethiopia-family-planning-increasingly-an-article-of-faith-video

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - Religious figures have been preaching the gospel of family planning here in Africa‘s second most populous nation. The result: a whittling of the fertility rate, and a leap in contraceptive use.

In Ethiopia, where the population is devout and widely scattered, local religious figures exercise far more authority than government officials or the young female health workers they send out across the country.

The poverty and high mortality rates in many communities have led to an unusual level of support for contraception among Ethiopia’s religious leaders. Pastors, priests, and imams are paving the way for the birth control that the government is making available for pennies.

It is a pragmatism born of problems with poverty that don’t exist in many Western countries. Religious leaders are now seen as one of the most powerful tools in development workers’ hands across sub-Saharan Africa, from Kenya to the Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

See: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2014/0725/In-Ethiopia-family-planning-increasingly-an-article-of-faith-video

Philippines Population Up to 100 Million

July 30th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Philippines Population Up to 100 Million

See: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Regional/2014/07/28/Population-up-to-100-million-Latest-birth-in-Philippines-highlights-challenge-of-providing-for-more/

MANILA: A baby girl born early yesterday has officially pushed the population of the Philippines to 100 million, highlighting the challenge of providing for more people in the already-impoverished nation.

The child, Jennalyn Sentino, was one of 100 babies born in state hospitals all over the archipelago who received the symbolic designation of “100,000,000th baby”.

“This is both an opportunity and a challenge … an opportunity we should take advantage of and a challenge we recognise,” Juan Antonio Perez, executive director of the official Commission on Population, said.

While a growing population means a larger workforce, it also means more dependants in a country where about 25% of people are living in poverty, he said.

He said the Philippines had to find a way to bring services to the poorest families while also lowering the average number of children that fertile women will bear in their lifetimes.

See: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Regional/2014/07/28/Population-up-to-100-million-Latest-birth-in-Philippines-highlights-challenge-of-providing-for-more/