United Nations, World Bank support women’s health and girls’ education in the Sahel

posted in: Africa

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (front, left) and Jim Yong Kim (right), President of the World Bank Group, in Timbuktu, during their joint mission to Mali; Photo: UN


New York, US – Responding to Niger’s “Call to Action” for improvements in women’s reproductive health and girls’ education, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim have pledged to strongly support the initiative and to invest US$ 200 million in a new regional project.

The new regional project is aimed at improving the regional response to maternal and reproductive health and adolescent girls’ issues.

A PANA Correspondent in New York reported on Wednesday that during a historic trip to the region by leaders from five international organisations – the UN, World Bank, African Union, African Development Bank, and the European Union, Kim announced the US$ 200 million Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographics Project.

A UN statement said that the initiative is additional to the Bank’s existing US$ 150 million in commitments over the next two years for maternal and child health programmes in the Sahel.

It will also work across the region to improve the availability and affordability of reproductive health commodities, strengthen specialized training centres for rural-based midwifery/nursing services, and to pilot and share knowledge on adolescent girls’ initiatives.

It quoted the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim as saying that “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”.

On his part, the UN secretary-general noted that “this call to action on Women’s Empowerment and Demographics is not simply about numbers. It is about people.”

He also added that “when women and girls have the tools to shape their own future, they will advance development for all”.