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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. 
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.
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.
One year into the EU’s second Gender Action Plan (GAP), which stepped up ambitions to make all the EU’s external action gender-sensitive, what is happening on the ground?
Now even more than before, gender equality is a necessary ingredient in all EU development assistance, across countries and sectors. Gender-sensitive planning and management can make programmes at once more equitable and more effective. Blerina Vila, who supported DG DEVCO in drafting the EU’s new Gender Action Plan, explains what it hopes to achieve, how it will be put into action, and why it is urgently needed.
Marie Stopes Zambia's (MSZ) innovative family planning project is coming to an end of its funding (around €750,000) from the European Union. However, MSZ plans to continue delivering family planning services in 2016 in conjunction with other donors, says MSZ Senior Programme Manager Julia Ross.
Women with cell phone
Since 2015, the access and usage of digital finance in Zambia has increased more than fivefold. Instrumental in this success has been the work of the UN Capital Development Fund.
Woman being provided with contraceptives
In our first-ever podcast, we look at how one EU-funded programme is attempting to provide 120 million women in developing countries with access to contraceptives.
One of the major impediments to developing programmatic action against micronutrient deficiency among women of reproductive age has been the lack of adequate indicators. MDD-W is an attempt to fill that gap.
How can a simple bucket protect women and girls from sexual violence in the Central African Republic? For women talking to the International Rescue Committee, buckets are an essential part of the “dignity kits” they receive in displacement camps so they can avoid the perilous walk to communal bathrooms after dark.  

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