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

In Zambia, where barriers to accessing youth-friendly health services have resulted in high rates of teen pregnancy and HIV among young people, UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, and UNESCO are working to ensure that students like Lydia are informed and empowered to protect their reproductive health and rights. 

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

📷: UNFPA Zambia / Helene Christensen

Forty-seven percent of girls in India are married before the age of 18, according to a report entitled “Marry Me Later: Preventing Child Marriage and Early Pregnancy in India,” published by Indian NGO Dasra in collaboration with the UNFPA and UNICEF.

The report states that, while India faces many challenges in the area of child marriage and early pregnancy, there is cause to be hopeful and invest more in programming that addresses these issues. For example, girls that pursue secondary schooling are seventy percent less likely to marry as children.

Learn more via Times of India.


Together with @unfpa, the United Nations Population Fund, 80 youth volunteers in Syria created murals inspired by ideas of equality and non-violence.

Our colleagues from UNFPA in Syria deploy dignity kits, reproductive health kits and equipment, and medical personnel to assist communities affected by the conflict. They also offer psycho-social support and outreach programmes for youth.

Crown Princess Mary will participate the UN General Assembly in New York from September 17-19,2017


Sunday, September 17th

Visit at Meyer in Brownsville
4:30 pm
The Crown Princess visits the Claus Meyer Food School in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

7:00 pm
The Crown Princess participates in a dinner at Denmark’s UN Ambassador Ib Petersen.

Monday, September 18th

Deliver for Good: Inspiring SDG Action for Girls and Women
8:30 am
The Crown Princess participates in and speaks at the event ‘Deliver for Good:
Inspiring SDG Action for Girls and Women’.

Lunch Meeting
11:30 am
The Crown Princess holds an opening speech and participates in a lunch meeting at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) research center.

UNFPA side event
1:15 pm
The Crown Princess participates in and attends the UNFPA side event 'Rebuilding Shattered lives and Communities - the case of the Chibok and Yazidi girls’. The Crown Princess is the patron of the UN’s Population Fund, UNFPA, which is an international development organization that promotes women,
men’s and children’s right to health and equity.

Book launch
3:15 pm
The Crown Princess participates in the launch of UNFPA’s book #Childmothers. The Crown Princess has written the preface to the book, which is about a number of 15-year-old girls who have become mothers. During her trip to Burkina Faso in April 2016, the Crown Princess visited one of these young mothers.

Opening of Shamballa flagship store
5:00 pm
The Crown Princess participates in the opening of a new Shamballa flagship store in SoHo, Manhattan. Shamballa is a Danish jewelry company.

Visit at Dr. Smood
6:00 p,
Crown Princess visits the Danish health concept Dr. Smood, which will create a healthy and organic
alternative to fast food.

Tuesday, September 19th

Forbes Summit
10:05 am
The Crown Princess participates in the Forbes Summit.

Global Goals World Cup
4:30 pm
The Crown Princess is present at the Global Goals World Cup and will nominate a player for SDG 5 Dream Team Player.

Women Deliver arrangement
6:00 pm
The Crown Princess participates in the Women Deliver event 'Handing over Canada as New Host Country’. Women Deliver is an international conference focusing on girls and women’s rights and health. The Crown Princess was the patron of the Women Deliver Conference 2016, which took place in Copenhagen.
The event 'Handing over Canada as new host country’ marks Canada’s hosting for the Women Deliver Conference in 2019.

7:30 pm
The Crown Princess participates in dinner and award ceremony in connection with 'Project Everyone’. The hosts for the dinner are Bill and Melinda Gates.

re: Emma Watson and criticism of her being a privileged white woman

it’s exclusive to say leaders of feminism can only be marginalised: non-white, trans, lesbian etc. I’m not white and while I agree Emma isn’t THE representative of feminism, she can be ONE OF the representatives of feminism. 

Not the same thing. 

Also, I’ve seen some criticise Emma Watson because her speech gets more attention than others. You are criticising the wrong target. You should be criticising society and its inequalities that lead to the reason Emma gets more attention. Not so much Emma herself. 

I do not want to be part of a kind of feminism that wants to exclude a big proportion of the world and say they cannot speak because they are too privileged. Because that is saying oppression is a contest and that only the people worse off should speak.That is wrong because then we are not using the standard of human rights and equality but the standard of oppression as a benchmark. Neither do we have the luxury to exclude people who have enormous soft power and ability to spread our message. I have a problem if the UN cancelled Malala’s speech so Emma could speak. It is fair to talk about representation. But I have no problem with what the UN did because that didn’t happen, and UN ambassadors haven’t just been white women like Emma Watson. Some others:

Waris Dirie- she’s a Somali supermodel. She is a UN ambassador against female genital mutilation- because she suffered it herself.

Or Aung San Suu Kyi? Activist for democracy who was under house arrest in Burma for decades before she was finally freed- UNAIDS ambassador for Zero Discrimination

Botswana model and Miss Universe 1999, Mpule Kwelagobe, UNFPA ambassador

Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand, another UN Goodwill ambassador for women

And, of course, Malala Yousoufzai:

Do all these women have something in common, that the average woman being oppressed usually doesn’t have? Sure, they’re ambassadors because they’re all famous for various reasons and have escaped the circumstances where they were formerly oppressed in the case of Waris, Malala and Aung San Suu Kyi. Many of them are beautiful and comparatively more privileged than the people they advocate for. But them being famous is the entire point of UN Goodwill Ambassadors- to attract attention to a good cause. That’s how the world works, and the UN works within that reality- where there is no luxury to reject using high-profile people willing to use their soft power for good. And Emma was chosen precisely because she is that kind of person with enormous influence. I am not “white” and I am glad (glad, not bowing and scraping to her- just glad) Emma has decided to use her fame for this end- unlike what many other wealthy people choose to do. 

New mothers who fled conflict in South Sudan and gave birth at a UNFPA clinic in Uganda, rest with their newborns the Ngoromoro border and reception centre.

“We walked with difficulty, but we could not stay behind because we feared we would be killed by the guns,” said 26-year-old Rose Akongo, who trekked for two days through the bush with her 3-year-old daughter, Brenda, on her back.

As in many humanitarian emergencies, pregnant women and new mothers in South Sudan face a loss of health-care access, threatening their health and lives.

UNFPA is working with partners to provide life-saving reproductive health services, such as midwives in health centres to provide antenatal care, safe delivery services and postpartum care. UNFPA is also providing family planning services, and is supplying reproductive health kits and delivery kits, which contain essential medicines and supplies.

📷:: UNFPA Uganda / Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi

Flashback Friday to Women’s Day 2017 when UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, invited 40 female photographers to share an image that celebrates women.

Featured here is a photograph taken by Shaista Deen:

“Last year I worked on a collaborative exhibit and I decided to choose one of the images I produced back then for this project. To say this was a milestone of an achievement for me in my life thus far and overall something that is representative of strength, culture and religion would truly be an understatement. From a young age my mother always taught me the importance of being an independent and educated woman that stood for something meaningful. She has always reminded me to uphold my culture and to carry my hijab as I would a crown. I have strived for nothing but that ever since, although like everyone else I face imperfections and falter every now and then. Being a woman has never been an easy task and I can assure you, being a Muslim woman is even more difficult in the world today. Prejudice, misconceptions and the oppression we face breaks my heart in a way I will never be able to explain in words. Regardless to say that amongst all the hate and the negativity, I have discovered that despite religious and cultural backgrounds the thing that strengthens us is being women. We see each other’s struggles. We see each other’s pain. We see each other’s successes. We see each other’s races and we see beauty. We see each other. We accept each other. We support each other. We fight for each other. We are strength and we are pain and we are happiness and we are love and we are purity and we are all things wonderful. We are women.”

Natalie Imbruglia rocks to new passion

WASHINGTON: Australian pop star Natalie Imbruglia doesn’t mean to leave you with the wrong impression.

She loves making music and has returned to acting, but the “Torn” singer with millions of record sales under her belt has a more rewarding mission these days: helping women recover from a haunting affliction that is all but eradicated in the West, yet affects millions across Africa and Asia.

“I’m very passionate about it,” Imbruglia told AFP about her role as spokeswoman for the UN Campaign to End Fistula, a childbearing injury that often results in the loss of the baby and leaves women shunned.

“I intend to continue my creative endeavours. I’m songwriting at the moment, in Los Angeles, and working on some other projects,” she said. “But most importantly, we’re planning a trip to Africa” and possibly India and elsewhere.

Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal which develops during a prolonged and obstructed labor. It results in chronic incontinence, and the foul smell of leaking urine and feces often drives away husbands and shatters women’s lives.

“It was like dying everyday,” Sarah Omega, who was raped at 19 and then suffered with fistula for nine years, told a United Nations economic council meeting in 2009 that Imbruglia also addressed.

While it is largely preventable and easily treated, up to 100,000 new cases develop annually, the UN estimates. Some say the number is far higher.

Treatment costs about US$300, but many poor women can’t afford the operation. Others are never told treatment is available for fistula.

Imbruglia is the most high-profile star committed to stamping out the ailment.

“It just jumped out to me as a woman, and the fact that they didn’t seem to have anybody speaking for them,” Imbruglia said in Washington, where she attended a UN Population Fund forum.

The quiet crisis caught her eye back in 2005, when friend Richard Branson, the British business tycoon who heads Virgin Group, urged Imbruglia to harness her fame into activism.

She had been basking in superstardom after her 1997 debut album “Left of the Middle” was a global smash. The stunning star also became one of the faces for for cosmetics giant L’Oreal, and her image was plastered across gossip magazines.

She would soon put a hold on the glamour, becoming an ambassador with the Virgin Unite humanitarian campaign and heading to Africa.

“The kind of things that you see there, it becomes personal,” she said.

She visited villages and hospitals in Ethiopia, broke bread with religious leaders in Nigeria, and met countless women suffering from fistula’s indignity.

At the Washington forum, a young African woman named Helena, her smile as wide as the stage, approached Imbruglia and told her of how she reclaimed her own life once she had the operation to repair her fistula.

The singer lit up, and they hugged at length.

“You’re doing a good job,” the woman whispered. “So good.”

Celebrity activists are a dime a dozen, and large-scale issues such as poverty reduction and environmental protection bring out the big guns like U2 frontman Bono.

But few have braved such personally unpleasant issues as the secretion of human waste, troubles with reproduction and the specter of rape, “all things that people are conditioned to turn away from,” said Heidi Breeze-Harris, founder of non-governmental group One By One, which works to end fistula.

But Imbruglia has not shied away, leading UN Population Fund chief Babatunde Osotimehin to hail her “extraordinary work to fight this terrible childbirth condition.”

“Her travels across the globe and her efforts to raise money to support fistula rehabilitation centers and training for community educators are essential in bringing help and needed health care to women and girls,” he told AFP.

The taboo on speaking about the condition in Africa has begun to lift too, said Imbruglia, particularly among the very people whose involvement is crucial in improving women’s health in small, poor communities: men.

“Nurses in the hospital told me, ‘You have to speak to the emirs, it’s not just about the government. If you don’t have their ear and if they’re not on side, the women won’t listen, the men won’t listen,’” she recalled of one of her trips to Africa.

“So of course we set up the meeting with the emir of Katsina (in Nigeria), and he was incredibly supportive.”

Imbruglia, who starred on Australian soap opera “Neighbours” as a teenager, reprised her acting career in 2003 with a role in spy spoof “Johnny English.”

In 2009, she starred in “Closed for Winter,” and last year was a judge on Australia’s “X Factor” reality show.

But asked if she gets the same satisfaction from singing and acting as she does helping women, her big eyes quickly grew moist.

“No,” she admitted. “It doesn’t come anywhere near.”


Touching video that shows the work that UNFPA-United Nations Population Fund is doing around the world to make equality a reality.

Today, on World Population Day 2013, the UN Populations Fund (UNFPA) shines the spotlight on adolescent pregnancy.

“On this World Population Day, we raise awareness of the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.” – UNFPA

To read more, visit the UNFPA website’s announcement, and stay tuned for this year’s State of World Population report to be released on the 23rd of October.