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In Pakistan, empowering midwives to empower women

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,…

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Solar lanterns light perilous path to shared toilets in Myanmar refugee camps

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…

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For most vulnerable Nigerian women, high rates of traumatic birth injury

“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…

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Trailblazing all-girl cricket tournament calls for bowling out child marriage

"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…

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In Cambodia, push to end maternal deaths in remote areas

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…

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A secret pregnancy in the Comoros: One teen’s story

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.

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Two wheelchairs and a stroller: Overcoming barriers to parenthood in 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…

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“Your voice is your weapon”: Taking on sexual harassment in 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.

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Men take a stand against gender-based violence in Azerbaijan

Recent weeks have seen several high-profile cases of gender-based violence splashed across headlines. Millions of women around the world have demanded an end to these abuses – and, increasingly, people are calling for…

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