This International Women’s Day we have been celebrating the achievements of some of our incredible Restless Women. Poppy Bullen from the International Communications team has listed five young women to watch out for.
In Madagascar, it used to be illegal for under 18’s to access contraception, contributing to a teenage pregnancy rate of 34% and severe social stigma for young women as well as exposing young people to the threat of HIV.
22 year old Mia recognised that this law had to change. She led a network of young people on a campaign in partnership with the UNFPA, taking the issue to members of parliament and the Head of the National Assembly.
With support from the government, the law was changed under 18’s now have access to contraception, allowing them to have safe sex without risking unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other health issues.
As part of her work, she has been able to provide clear evidence that many women and girls in the communities she has worked in are discriminated against due to many issues and poor cultural practices.
From the results of Judith’s Data, Restless Development have been able to provide gender equality training for the community, changing people’s perceptions of how they see and treat women and even empowering young girls and women to start their own businesses.
After a friend of hers was involved in an incident of sexual violence at university, Ritu was motivated to work to raise awareness on the issue. She started working with Restless Development as a Youth Accountability Advocate as part of the project with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Today Ritu is on her way to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to represent Restless Development at the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women! Watch this space for another blog from Ritu about her experiance.
Betty was part of the Girls Advocacy Alliance youth-led research on access to economic opportunities for girls and young women. The research findings from the project were presented at a high-level national stakeholders meeting, and informed local and national level engagements where commitments were made from key government ministers.
Betty was inspired by the experiance to start her own business selling second hand clothes. The young enrapture has already hired her first employee and hopes her business will play a part in advocating for favourable working conditions for girls and young women.
Go to the Guardian to hear how Betty is celebrating International Women’s Day!
Sabrina and Priyanka are the young women to look out for in the next year! After learning about the lack of knowledge around HIV risk or PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) they were motivated to create something new that would educate young women about sexual health.
With support from MTV Staying Alive Foundation, they are in the middle of laying the foundations for their first multimedia project which is expected to premiere this summer!
These girls are full of energy and have a real passion for their vision of Girlsplained. They hope that one day, any woman who comes in contact with the brand, will be left feeling more powerful and confident about themselves.
Iye couldn’t afford to complete her schooling so applied to volunteer with Restless Development’s Business Brains programme which aims to develop the entrepreneurship skills of vulnerable girls in rural communities.
By promoting family planning to girls and young women, teenage and unplanned pregnancies in the community dropped drastically.
Iye progressed through the Business Brain programme. As a support intern, she would take the problems facing many of the girls she had worked with to discuss with community board members.
Alongside her work with Restless Development, Iye was able to save enough money to complete her education and achieve her dream of going to university. She is currently studying Finacial Services at IPAM (of the University of Sierra Leone) and hopes to continue studying up until she can get a P.H.D! Another Restless Woman to watch out for.
Check out all our stories from our Restless Women this International women’s Day!