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Compassion In Kenya

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Compassion CBO

Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas of Kenya and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo

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COFAPRI

COFAPRI is registered in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Grassroots News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....
Handwashing

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

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The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

Globally, victim compensation programmes play a significant role in providing assistance to the victims of violence... however, in Pakistan we are lacking any such programme. It is high time to take serious note of the issue and develop a strong referral…
Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…

Adepeju-profile

By Courtenay Forbes, Global Correspondent for Safe World. March 2014.

Nigeria is a country infamous in the media for political corruption and terrorist activity, particularly in northern parts of the country where terrorist group Boko Haram (‘no western education’) are active.

The situation in Nigeria is at such a point where the government has declared a national emergency, and many areas of the country are inaccessible.

One of the main problems facing Nigerians is the alarmingly high maternal death rate: it is estimated that 36,666 women die every year in childbirth in Nigeria alone. According to recent World Bank data, there are 630 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. However, in rural areas, the maternal mortality rate is even higher.

In 2013, Save the Children published a report titled ‘State of the World’s Mothers’ Report’ placed Nigeria 169th out of 176 countries in rank of the best countries to be a mother in.

There are a complex set of reasons for these alarming statistics: medical facilities are poorly equipped and maintained, particularly in rural areas, and cultural and religious traditions mean that many women will go to unskilled spiritual figures rather than a traditional hospital when in labour. These practices are prevalent to the extent that UNICEF reports indicate that only 39% of births in Nigeria are overseen by trained professionals.

Adepeju Jaiyeoba - Saving Mothers and Babies

Someone who is all too aware of the issues facing mothers in Nigeria is lawyer and women’s rights advocate, Adepeju Jaiyeoba. Having lost a friend in childbirth, Adepeju recognised the dire need to address the issue of maternal health. Together with medical specialists, she founded the Brown Button Foundation (BBF) in 2011.

The organisation focuses on educating expectant mothers around the country about the dangers of unsanitary delivery conditions. BBF, recognising the cultural importance of traditional birth attendants (TBAs), respects local practices provides these figures of religious significance with tools and knowledge to better enable them to provide medical as well as spiritual care for women giving birth.

The lack of infrastructure for ensuring the safety of mothers is exacerbated in rural areas: an estimated 70% of the 2009 $264 million budget for healthcare was spent in urban areas of Nigeria, meaning that women in the countryside are hours away from the nearest hospital. BBF seeks to help rectify this issue by travelling to the remotest, and often the most dangerous and hostile, areas of the country in order to provide equipment and training.

The doctor to patient ratio in rural Nigeria is 1:6,400 approximately, resulting in even more women turning to more readily available TBAs. BBF, being aware of these unique issues, improves the quality of antenatal care at the grassroots level.

MDK-banner-smallA social venture, inspired by some of the lapses noticed by BBF, Mothers Delivery Kit (MDK), is improving the situation even further.

Developed by Adepeju alongside doctors, these kits are self-contained packages containing the essential items for helping to ensure the safe delivery of children, even in remote areas.

Each kit contains:

  • 1 absorbent disposable delivery mat
  • 1 infant receiver,
  • 2 pairs of sterile gloves,
  • 2 cord clamps,
  • 1 mucus extractor,
  • 1 scalpel blade,
  • 1 bottle of methylated spirit,
  • 1 antiseptic soap,
  • 1 pack of cotton wool,
  • 1 bottle of olive oil,
  • 1 bottle of disinfectant,
  • 5 pieces of gauze,
  • 10 maternity pads,
  • Immunization calendars, immunization and antenatal reminder request forms

 

Components such as the bottle of olive oil included in the kits acknowledge the cultural importance of certain religious rites associated with childbirth, and therefore, can be used in conjunction with local beliefs and practices, whilst providing the essential basic medical care. MDK developed the kits alongside local businesses, and as a result can produce them cheaply enough to sell them at affordable prices where they can be sold, and given to those in desperate need.

In its first six months, MDK ventures have provided over 6,000 kits – in effect, saving as many lives. There have been no recorded cases of maternal or infant deaths where the kits have been used.

Included in the kits are immunizations calendars, which help new mothers to request them for their children and antenatal reminders. As a direct result, where the kits have been distributed, there is a 70% increase in antenatal and immunization attendance. The kits are such a success, MDK Ventures now boasts a network of 140 TBAs, 25 primary health care centres using their kits, alongside 40 private hospitals and one university teaching hospital.

International Recognition

The vital work that BBF and MDK are doing has not gone unnoticed in the international community which has continued to heap a huge amount of praise for the contribution these efforts are making towards better maternal health in Nigeria.

Most recently, MDK has been chosen by the Colorado-based Unreasonable Institute, being one of 240 applicants from 60 countries, as one of the 14 ventures nominated for its 2014 fellowship program. The Unreasonable Institute supports entrepreneurs who are tackling important issues in their ventures.

Inspired by a woman who lost a friend due to a lack of basic care, this cause addresses the basic right of every person to a safe entry to this world, and proper care for all mothers. Maternal health is an issue that touches all of our lives.

Supporting this crucial initiative through donating even a small amount or merely raising awareness will enable Adepeju and her colleagues to further improve information and facilities available to mothers all across Nigeria, indiscriminate of location or monetary means.


Sources

Brown Button Foundation website: www.brownbuttonfoundation.org

Mother's Delivery Kit Ventures website: www.motherskit.com

Olive Oil Times: interview with Adepeju Jaiyeoba

Interview with Adepeju Jaiyeoba - by Chris Crowstaff

BBF: Saving Mothers and Babies in Nigeria

Unreasonable Institute

Maternal Health Task Force

The World Bank

Save the Children - 'State of the World's Mothers 2013'


Courtenay-Forbes-3Courtenay Forbes is studying Ancient History and History.

"Once completing my degree, I will be studying law in London, and then training as a barrister.. I firmly believe real progress must be made by re-educating societies concerning the treatment of women, and bridging the gap between traditions and modern-day human rights."

Follow Courtenay on Twitter: @CourtenayForbes