September 27, 2015

Girls take center stage at launch of UN pledge to end preventable deaths of women and children

Written by Emily Teitsworth, Deputy Director, Let Girls Lead

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At the launch of the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy on Saturday, world leaders from Ban ki-Moon to Melinda Gates shared the stage to pledge an end to preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.

But it was a 12 year old girl leader from Guatemala who reminded the hundreds of dignitaries gathered for the launch event that adolescent girls are the key to making this pledge a reality.

After key heads of state, including the President of Kenya and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, committed to achieving EWEC’s key health objectives over the next fifteen years, 12 year old Jimena took the stage along with four other girl advocates from around the world. Jimena shared her perspective on the particularly severe challenges to adolescent girls’ survival, most especially maternal mortality, one of the leading causes of death among teenage girls worldwide, and a major barrier in Guatemala particularly. Representing Let Girls Lead’s global network of over 100 girl leaders, Jimena called on the world leaders assembled for the EWEC launch to support girls’ participation now in order to ensure a better future for everyone:

“Girls are not just the future of the world, we are its present, and we call on government to invest in us.”

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