Mother’s Day in the U.S. was this past Sunday. The weekend was dedicated to celebrating all the amazing women in our lives, and we got flowers, went to brunch, and reveled in our families' health and well-being. Because you supported the Million Moms Challenge Fund, you know that for many mothers around the world, days like Mother's Day just don't happen. But progress is being made. Just today the UN announced that maternal mortality in developing countries is down.
So let’s take a look at how the Million Moms Challenge has been impacting mothers in the developing world.
In rural Africa, mothers walk for miles to meet with health workers who can provide them with essential health care services, including prenatal visits and vaccinations for their children. It is heartbreaking when the health workers don’t show up. In the past year, Riders for Health established a new professional driving school in Kenya. The school offers training courses that equip health workers with necessary skills in riding and driving to ensure that they have the capacity to reach more mothers, more often. When barriers due to distance and a lack of transportation are removed, health workers are mobilized to identify potential problems early and to provide women with the information and resources needed to have a healthy pregnancy.
Nokodwa lives in South Africa in a township outside Cape Town called Khayelitsha. She is HIV-positive. For Nokodwa, Mother’s Day isn’t just about flowers or candy, it’s about life—hers and her children’s. The organization mothers2mothers trains and hires mothers to be Mentor Mothers. Mentor Mothers provide knowledge, guidance, and support to HIV-positive mothers, all of which are integral to helping mothers just like Nokoda to have healthy babies and to stay alive to raise them. Nokodwa is now a Mentor Mother herself and strives to bring the gift of life and hope to other women.
Every day is Mother’s Day.
We invite you to join us in honoring the incredible moms around the world who strive selflessly to have a healthy pregnancy, a safe birth, and a baby who will survive and thrive. You can learn more about being a part of the global community of moms here!
For this month’s project report for the Horn of Africa Drought and Famine Relief Fund, we would like to highlight one GlobalGiving partner organization that the fund supports: Merlin USA. Merlin USA has been delivering health and emergency assistance to people in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya throughout the famine and drought and continues to be active in the Horn of Africa.
With working partnerships around the region, some of which have been established for over ten years, Merlin USA was able to distribute food and supplies quickly and effectively when the food crisis began last year. Primarily focused on health outreach, Merlin USA partners with agencies such as the Kenyan Ministry of Health to operate or support health facilities and mobile clinics to reach rural communities. During the food crisis and famine, Merlin USA ramped up its medical presence in health facilities and outreach sites: screening almost 30,000 children under five for malnutrition, and offering therapeutic feeding programs to those with severe acute malnutrition (a “life-threatening condition requiring urgent treatment,” according to the World Health Organization).
Health education is a crucial pillar of Merlin USA’s efforts in the Horn of Africa as it builds local healthcare capacity to respond to community needs. Merlin USA has conducted health and hygiene information sessions for the general public and trainings for health staff and committees. Merlin USA has also conducted trainings on water management, creating local water associations and teaching community health workers about the safe storing and handling of water resources. As communities work together to learn more about healthy behavior and are better trained to cope with food (and water) insecurity, communities will be better equipped to face future droughts.
Going forward, below average and erratic rainfall is expected across much of the region this year as well, so food harvests will continue to suffer and many families and individuals will continue to need assistance to meet their basic needs. Merlin USA plans to remain active in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya until at least the end of the year, and will be expanding its services in the Sahel region in response to poor rainfall, continued conflict, and rising food insecurity there. Thanks in part to your donations, Merlin USA continues to save lives by promoting health and nutrition in the Horn of Africa and beyond.
Dear Project of the Month Club,
We’re pleased to share with you that last month, you and 126 other Project of the Month Club members raised $3,355 for “Action for Health: Empowering Communities in Mali, a project providing health care for children in West African slums in exchange for their parent’s community service.
Anna Ninan of “Action for Health: Empowering Communities in Mali” wanted to share with you that your generous donations will help nearly 300 sick children who could not otherwise afford care receive free medical treatment.
We are also very happy to introduce to you May's Project of the Month, “Improving Maternal-Infant Health for Mayan Women.” This project in rural Guatemala helps children before they are born by offering access to vital prenatal and postnatal care for indigenous women, as well as medical care to their babies during their most vulnerable period from birth to five years old.
Rosemary Trent, project leader, wanted to share with you her message of excitement upon learning that she was selected to participate in the Project of the Month Club:"I am so proud and grateful that we have been chosen for the Project of the Month. I know your support will make a world of difference to the mothers and families in our program. Women in the rural Western Highlands of Guatemala often have eight or more children. This means risky pregnancies for the mothers, poor health for the infants, and large families to feed on less than $4 a day. Your gift will help 70 women receive the knowledge and tools they need to plan when and how many children they will have."
We are so grateful for your support, and hope that you are proud to know that you are providing essential prenatal and maternal heathcare for women and children in Mayan communities of Guatemala.
Thank you again for your generosity. Your support is having an earth-changing impact around the world.
Warm regards,Mari and the GlobalGiving Team