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As the European Union prepares its latest plan to support gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) around the world, a timely evaluation of its efforts so far has found much room for improvement.
Meet Judith Muntahli. She was born in 1977 in Ilenga, a village in the Isoka district of Muchinga Province in the far north of Zambia. She and her husband are subsistence farmers with nine children. During her first pregnancy, Judith (pictured below) was bitten by a snake. But by the time she got to the hospital, infection had set in and her leg had to be amputated. With no access to contraception, Judith carried nine more pregnancies on one leg using crutches. Sadly, her 10th child died when he was a month old. 
One of the poorest countries in the world, Mozambique is extremely rich in natural resources. But while the extractive industry provides important revenues for the country’s economic development, it also creates deep social problems.
The main afternoon session of the European Union’s recent Sustainable Energy for All Summit was dedicated to gender issues. Participants agreed that empowering women with access to sustainable, clean energy will open up a world of possibilities to benefit the entire population.
Girl in Guinea
While Guinea has made progress on gender equality, traditional norms have remained a barrier to women’s ability to express themselves. Establishing gender as a prerequisite to development in political dialogue could help move the agenda forward.
This International Women’s Day, we share stories from those dedicated to helping girls and women affected by violence. We hear from Dr Denis Mukwege about rebuilding women’s bodies and lives after sexual violence in DRC; from Dr Bogaletch Gebre about her campaign to end FGM in Ethiopia; and from Vanna Lawrence about tackling root causes of violence in Jamaica.
ICT can go a long way in promoting gender equality and women empowerment. Winner of an Africa-wide programming contest tells us how she’s tapping into her digital skills to get ahead in the field.
One year after the launch of the five-year European Union Plan of Action for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development, the 2011 annual implementation report presented to the European Council showed that some steps have already been taken to improve the EU’s work with women and girls.
Technical assistance plays a key part in projects backed by the European Development Fund (EDF). However, translating the needs of a beneficiary government can be challenging. We hear from Ram-Maria Ouedraogo who has experience of working on both sides of the aid partnership.
The world passed a collective milestone in October when the planet’s human population topped 7 billion drawing some development professionals to consider the impact of such a large, and in the developing world, increasingly youthful population.

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