UN, World Bank support 'call to action' for women's health, girls' education in the Sahel

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An African mother and her baby.

Responding to Niger's "Call to Action" for improvements in women's reproductive health and girls' education, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim pledged Wednesday to strongly support the initiative and to invest $200 million in a new regional project aimed at improving the regional response to maternal and reproductive health and adolescent girls' issues.

During an historic trip to the region by leaders from five international organizations – the UN, World Bank, African Union, African Development Bank, and the European Union – Kim announced the $200 million Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographics Project.

The initiative, which is additional to the Bank's existing $150 million in commitments over the next two years for maternal and child health programs in the Sahel, will work across the region to improve the availability and affordability of reproductive health commodities, strengthen specialized training centers for rural based midwifery/nursing services, and to pilot and share knowledge on adolescent girls' initiatives.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said "As we work towards ending poverty across the developing world, we know that educating adolescent girls and getting health services to women will lead to greater prosperity not just for individual families but also for entire economies".

And UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that "This call to action on Women’s Empowerment and Demographics is not simply about numbers. It is about people," adding, "When women and girls have the tools to shape their own future, they will advance development for all".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28″

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