World Population Day
Tuesday, July 11 was World Population Day, and leaders from around the globe met in London to review how much progress is being made in giving women deciding power in their pregnancies to meet global development goals.

Established as an observed day by the U.N. in 1990, World Population Day commemorates continuing efforts to empower women through gender equality initiative and access to safe contraceptives – both are tools to reduce global poverty.

July 11 also coincided with the 2017 Family Planning Summit, which was held in London and was organized by the United Nations Population Fund, the United Kingdom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Here are four ways various countries and organizations observed World Population Day:

  1. The Central Luzon region of the Philippines commemorated the day by highlighting the importance of women’s empowerment as a benefit to communities. Activities and coordination with local government emphasized the importance of advocating for women’s choice in policymaking. Hamis Kigwangalla, Tanzania’s deputy minister of health, community development and gender, led the nation in observing WPD. The theme of the observance was the same theme as it was for the year: “Family Planning: Empowering People and Developing Nations.”Education on various contraceptive methods was provided, with an emphasis on family planning as a means of addressing health and rights for women at home and globally.
  2. The Girls Empowerment Movement (GEM) observed World Population Day in partnership with Good Food Brampton and IMPACT Leaders Fund on July 22. The organization hosted a workshop which educated participants on integrating sustainability into everyday life. According to its website, GEM connects youth in the Peel region of Canada to mentoring, leadership and empowerment opportunities.
  3. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commemorated World Population Day by attending the Family Planning Summit in London. The summit stressed the importance of providing access to safe contraceptives to ensure that women are empowered to achieve greater stability, contribute towards global prosperity and increase their quality of life.“Longer-term, more innovative research and development need to be done to create new contraceptives that meet more of women’s needs,” Melinda Gates said in her speech at the summit.“If you put these innovations together, the future looks promising. Women get the contraceptives they need when they need them. As a result, they have more opportunities, raise healthy children, and build more prosperous families and communities,” Gates said.
  4. The Gambia also officially commemorated World Population Day with a meeting in Sanyang Village. The government placed an emphasis on the relationship between population and the reduction of poverty and national development. The event was organized with the participation of the Health Promotion Directorate and the United Nations Population Fund.

Providing women in developing countries with access to contraceptives empower them to be economically independent and contribute to global prosperity and development.

Hannah Pickering

Photo: Flickr

World Population Day

Every year on July 11, the international community holds World Population Day, a day dedicated to observing population issues. These issues become more challenging as the world’s population continues to grow rapidly. As of March 2016, the number of people in the world was approximately 7.4 billion and is expected to reach 8.5 billion people by 2030, according to the U.N.

The World Population Day theme this year was investing in teenage girls. The day marked the launch of the Babaenihan campaign, which will work to secure the success of young girls in the Philippines.

The world’s fastest growing population is adolescents, according to UNFPA. About 25% of the world’s population is made up of adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 24, said UNPFA. In developing countries, adolescent girls constitute up to one-third of the population.

Adolescent girls are constantly faced with challenges. Despite their young age, they are often considered eligible for marriage and ready for motherhood. These premature life changes prevent girls from completing their education.

Even those that can remain in school lack access to invaluable information about human rights and health, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

The alarming increase of the youth population does not match the access in education to women’s rights and reproductive health. Pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for girls between 15 and 19 globally, according to WHO.

In the Philippines, young girls represent 10% of the country’s 100 million people population, according to UNFPA. The country has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Southeast Asia. It was the only country in the Asia-Pacific region whose rate of early pregnancy did not decrease but doubled from 6.3% in 2002 to 13.6% in 2013, according to the survey released by the University of the Philippines Population Institute.

Adolescent girls hold huge potential for the country’s future; however, their success depends on their access to the right information, help shaping their skills and empowerment. Ensuring their prosperity will increase the positive development of the country.

The Babaenihan campaign will use policies and programs to increase opportunities for young girls in the Philippines through investing in their education, health and wellbeing. As the Philippines Vice President, Leni Robredo, expressed in a speech read by her daughter, education for young girls is an especially important solution for reducing poverty.

Erica Rawles

Photo: Flickr