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We Must Listen To Girls Who Speak Up Against Discrimination and Sexual Violence

by Nigel Chapman

New research from Plan International shows the shocking truth about adolescent girls in developing countries. In one of the largest studies ever undertaken of its kind, we talked to 7,000 adolescent girls and boys in 11 countries about girls’ opportunities. The findings are overwhelming. These girls are some of the most disadvantaged people on earth.

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Moving U.S.-Africa Relationships Forward

by Ann Hudock

In 1990, I boarded a plane for Sierra Leone as a wide-eyed college graduate ready to change the world. I had never been to Africa, did not know much about Sierra Leone, and not being a detail person, had never even looked for or located the country on a map.

I didn’t change the world or even Sierra Leone that year, but the experience certainly changed me. And in that sense, I discovered what is best about good development practice: locally-led solutions to complex development problems.


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The Youth Bandwagon

by Tessie San Martin

Last week, we celebrated International Youth Day. But, even without an official United Nations-sanctioned day to provoke commentary, it seems as if everyone has something to say about this demographic. It is interesting that the UN’s definition seems to be more about what this demographic can be than what it is: Youth, it states, “is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence and awareness of our interdependence as members of a community.” Youth, it seems, is about potential. Let’s come back to that in a bit.

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Children, Migration, Violence, and Inequality

The extraordinary levels of violence in some Central American countries have created a massive wave of children traveling alone to the United States.

The families usually send them to save them from their everyday lives filled with violence, from the “maras”, or gangs, so they are not recruited, murdered, or raped. Others are sent to reunite with families in search of a better life, one with access to basic needs such as drinkable water, food, and education.

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Africa Has Big Plans

by Justin Fugle

Africa has big plans. It is a continent with more peaceful, stable, democratic countries than ever before. It is a continent with some of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is a continent with increasing opportunities for women and youth. And, it is still a continent with more than its share of conflict, poverty, and corruption. But it is certainly both of those things these days. Africa knows what Africa needs, and its leaders and citizens are more capable than ever.

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YUGA Leadership Summit: My Seat Next to Hope

by Tracy Allen

Last Friday, we ended the week-long 2014 Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA) Leadership Summit. Kids who had been there before knew that I would be very emotional sharing what I got from the week and my feelings about each and every one of the participants as they head out to make a difference in the world.

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Michelle Obama Got It Right: Gender Equality Is about Attitudes and Beliefs

by Marcia Odell

Michelle Obama got it just right when, in her address at the Summit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders last Wednesday, she pointed out that when it comes to the role of girls and women in Africa, “the problem…isn’t only about resources, it’s also about attitudes and beliefs.”

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How is Open Defecation Free Helping to Define Progress?

by Lauren Yamagata

An important part of project implementation is monitoring and measuring how we achieve our goals.

One of the two main goals of the Cambodia Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Program (CR-SHIP) is to increase access to improved sanitation in communities where the current level of sanitation is below 50 percent of the population.

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Turning Paper to Action: Ending FGM and Child Marriage

by Carol Sherman

Around the world, girls and women are forced to live with the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriage.

Although Kenya has made strides in outlawing FGM and child marriage, as well as protecting children’s rights, such practices are still rampant.

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The Children of Syria - A Generation at Risk

by Arjimand Hussain

Vulnerable Syrian refugee children in Egypt live a life of misery, despair, and challenging school conditions. Plan International is trying to make quality education possible for some of them and improve their lives.

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Development Goals Face Challenges if we Don‘t Start Counting Every Child

by Nicoleta Panta

Imagine a typical family photo. You've got mom and dad there, looking happy and proud. You have the kids with their beaming smiles, all cheerful and mischievous. It's a happy moment, captured in time, everyone in their rightful place, and everyone accounted for.

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Connecting Efforts to Protect Children and Empower Women Economically

by Ann Hudock

We walked to the Tuesday market in Lusaka, Zambia and I stopped to buy some avocados. The woman who sold them had a horribly disfigured face that made it hard for her to speak. When she handed me my change she struggled to grip the money with her twisted and lame arm.

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