A global conference to be held this month will root for continuing investments for women’s health

Three Indians have been selected for the 100 Young Leaders programme of Women Deliver conference to be held at Kuala Lumpur later this month. Women Deliver is dubbed as the largest global event of the decade to focus on the health and empowerment of girls and women.

To be attended by representative from more than 160 countries, the conference aims at ensuring investments in girls and women remaining a global priority in the lead-up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline and beyond.

This will be the first time Women Deliver’s triennial conference will take place in Asia, which offers an unprecedented opportunity to engage regional leaders on these issues. While many countries across the continent have shown remarkable progress, such as Malaysia, which has reduced its maternal mortality rate by 45 per cent since 1990, others are still struggling to curb maternal mortality and increase access to family planning.

The three Indians selected are: Smarak Samarjeet who is pursuing his Ph.D in Advertising, researching women’s representation on TV at Pondicherry Central University. He has created 30-second radio campaigns related to issues such as ‘Save the girl child’ and ‘Human Trafficking’. He is developing a script for a documentary on domestic violence as well as compiling his work to publish and raise funds for women and girls. 

Anuja Hazarika works with an NGO — Beyond Social Services. She is a social development professional who has worked on issues related to youth and HIV/ AIDS.  

Finally, Bijoyeta Das is with Women’s eNews. She is a journalist and photographer. She has reported from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Turkey and USA.

“Getting a scholarship to attend such a big conference has its own privileges. One ends up meeting people with huge talent and potential, from different spheres of life. I am equally excited to connect with people from whom I can learn their success stories, share my opinion and start my project back home with more enriched vision and broad outlook,” Smarak told The Hindu.

As a part of the global Women Deliver 2010 conference, Women Deliver selected 100 Young Leaders from a pool of 6,000 scholarship applicants and representing 59 different countries, with every region across the globe represented. For the 2013 conference, the 100 Young Leaders will represent 68 different countries. They were chosen based on their previous knowledge, skills, and experience as an advocate or activist, and their potential to increase their advocacy efforts in their home communities and countries.

The conference will address a number of key issues related to girls and women across the region, including leadership, health, violence against women, and education. The first day of the conference will largely focus on investing in women; the second day will concentrate on the global unmet need for family planning; and the third day will emphasise the importance of including women in the post-2015 development framework.

Leading regional reproductive and maternal health organizations, including the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Asian Forum of Parliamentarians in Population and Development (AFPPD), and local offices of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), will take part in these discussions. 

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