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Women and Girls aims to give our readers a deeper understanding of the issues that impact female populations around the world. Our reporters and editors are committed to telling vitally important stories in areas like health, education and women’s rights, and fostering a more sustained engagement with the biggest challenges facing women and girls today.

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Annual Roundup: The Best of Women & Girls 2016

From family planning to HIV activism, and from the mother of an ISIS recruit to survivors of Burundi’s conflict, here are five of our most-read stories this year and five that you may have missed.

Written by Jumana Farouky Published on Read time Approx. 4 minutes
Guatemala vid

They were about war and birth, devastation and optimism, but the most-read stories on Women & Girls in 2016 were all, at their heart, about people facing extraordinary challenges. Some have found solutions; others are still searching.

Starting with an island on Lake Victoria, Uganda, where conservation and contraception have saved a community, and ending with a look inside one of India’s sterilization camps, the videos in our series on family planning made a mark on our readers, who read, shared and engaged with them more than almost any other stories on the site. Other top stories included an account of what it’s like to be pregnant in Germany’s largest refugee camp, an interview with Uganda’s HIV-positive beauty queen, and a look at ways to end child marriage in Rajasthan.

We also share here some of the Women & Girls stories we always come back to when we think of the year’s best: the Canadian mother who lost her son to ISIS, the Ugandan journalist who dedicated his life to helping teen girls avoid the struggles he saw his mother go through, two doctors delivering babies as war rages around them in South Sudan – all deeply personal stories that speak of bigger issues impacting the lives of women and girls around the developing world.

FIVE OF THE TOP STORIES OF 2016…

‘Choice and Change’ Video Series

Pregnant Inside Tempelhof, Germany’s Largest Refugee Camp

Sonia Narang
Sonia Narang

Bushra escaped from Iraq, but she and her family remain stuck in a makeshift shelter at Berlin’s former Tempelhof airport. Now the mother of five is expecting again and fears she’ll have to raise her newborn in the shelter’s dire conditions.

The Dark Side of Cambodia’s Surrogacy Boom

For many couples in the developed world, the only route to having a baby is international surrogacy. But the rapid rise of the industry in Cambodia has raised concerns about the welfare of women.

Meet the Ugandan Beauty Queen Living With HIV

William Davies
William Davies

Ugandan activist Sharifah Nalugo knows what it’s like to live a lie. But revealing her HIV status to her friends has helped her cope with the disease, and earned her the crown in a beauty pageant for young HIV-positive role models.

Finding an Alternative to Child Marriage for Girls in Rajasthan

Usha Choudhary dodged being married off at age 13 by taking on five jobs and working morning to night. Now she runs a leading charity that helps other young girls in Rajasthan avoid a similar fate.

AND FIVE STORIES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

Mother of an ISIS Recruit Tells of Loss and Hope

Christianne Boudreau
Christianne Boudreau

An estimated 4,500 Westerners have joined ISIS so far – leaving behind devastated parents who never saw the signs of radicalization. One Canadian mother tells her story, and calls for more support for families who have lost their children to terror groups.

The Man Who Sold His Land to Educate Women

Ugandan journalist Brian Mutebi was troubled to see teen mothers ostracized and forced to quit school, so he founded a charity to provide scholarships to young women in need.

Life and Death: Delivering Babies in South Sudan

AP/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin
AP/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Gripped by a conflict that has devastated its healthcare system, South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates on earth. Two doctors share their stories of struggling to save women and their babies in the world’s newest nation.

Burundian Refugees Tell of Rape as a Weapon of War

As conflict rages in Burundi, reports are mounting of women being raped as punishment for their political affiliations. Women & Girls Hub spoke with women who had fled to refugee camps in Tanzania, many left with nothing but the memory of their ordeal.

The Lesson Syria’s Children Can Teach Us

For countries taking in Syrian refugees, aid focuses on food, shelter and healthcare. But to ensure a better future for Syria, children’s education should also be a priority, says Theirworld president Sarah Brown.

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