Latin America’s teenage girls are a crucial force for change and for promoting sustainable development, if the region invests in their rights and the correction of unequal opportunities, according to Luiza Carvalho, the regional head of UN Women.
In plain and simple language, an Argentine video aimed at teenagers explains how to get sexual pleasure while being careful. Its freedom from taboos is very necessary in Latin American countries where one in five girls becomes a mother by the time she is 19 years old.
Thirteen-year-old Hula Khadoura sits on a large sofa in her grandfather’s home in the neighbourhood of Tuffah, Gaza City, her one-year-old twin brothers Karam and Adam on her lap. “I am so happy they arrived,” she beams, holding the babies’ feeding bottles in her hands.
So extreme are gender inequalities in South Sudan that a young girl is three times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than to reach the eighth grade – the last grade before high school – according to Plan International, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world.
Elida Almeida is Cape Verde’s newest star, with thousands of fans in Africa and Europe. She sings, dances, plays the guitar, tells jokes, and makes her audiences laugh as well as groove. But behind it all, her music carries a serious message, about the importance of overcoming setbacks, avoiding unplanned pregnancy and following one’s dreams.
She is just 14, but Janida avoids eye contact with others, preferring to look down at the ground and nodding her head if someone tries to engage her in conversation.
For 47-year-old Albert Mangwendere from Mutoko, a district 143 kilometres east of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, transporting his three pregnant wives using a wheelbarrow to a local clinic has become routine, with his wives delivering babies one after the other.
The outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has dwarfed the campaign against HIV/AIDS, to the extent that patients no longer go to hospitals and treatment centres out of fear of contracting the Ebola virus.
Irina was 21 when she first started using drugs. More than 30 years later, having lost her husband, her home and her business to drugs, she is still battling her addiction.
At the largest refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, young Syrian mothers and pregnant women are considered relatively lucky.
Nasrin Mohamadi, a mother of four, has promised herself never to set foot in an Afghan public hospital again. After her first experience in a maternity ward, she has lost all faith in the state’s healthcare system.
Heightening their campaign to eradicate violence against women and girls, United Nations agencies and civil groups have called for increased action to end child marriage and female genital mutilation.
When Phumzile Khoza* came to the central Johannesburg antenatal clinic on a chilly day in August 2013, she was feeling on edge. Not about the medical procedures – she already had two children – but about talking to the nurse.
It was a long and hard 10 hours of labour.
Ever since giving birth to a stillborn baby 15 years ago, Mary*, a peasant farmer from Mubende District in central Uganda, has continuously leaked urine.