Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women

A microproject by Reach Out NGO
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Provide a Birthing Bed for Congolese Women
Dec 14, 2021

Birthing Bed Arrival!

Surrounding the bed: Chairman, Mzunga & Jean Marie
Surrounding the bed: Chairman, Mzunga & Jean Marie

(This project is implemented by the Congo Federation of Smallholder Farmers Organizations of South Kivu [FOPAC-SK])

Thanks to your generous donations, the Congolese village of Rwenena has its very first birthing bed!

You will recall from our original appeal in September that this had been a high priority for women for many years. Countless appeals from a range of would-be funders—from the Health Department to international entities—fell short, until now. It is no exaggeration to say that without each of your donations, the long-awaited, life-saving bed would remain out of reach.

Jean Marie of FOPAC-SK coordinated with community leaders to name a day and time for him and his team to arrive as well as the bed delivery truck. Leaders arranged a dedication ceremony and invited regional officials.

The bed arrived, as did community residents and assembled guests. Conspicuously missing, however, was our dedicated team, which was delayed for more than 2 hours. Due to lack of basic infrastructure services in Rwenena like telephone and internet, they could not send this time-sensitive update.

We made the difficult but necessary decision to proceed with a rare opportunity for Jean Marie to inspect eco-friendly cookstoves. They belonged to a local NGO in Uvira – up to 8 hours from FOPAC’s office but only 1 hour beyond Rwenena. The president—with whom I had negotiated for many months—offered a deep discount for the stoves as a service to Rwenena women. The meeting in Uvira was well worth the time invested: The two sides agreed on a deal, with final arrangements to follow. The acquisition may come as soon as next month (January) and will launch a new income-generating activity in Rwenena.

With the FOPAC team delay, the nurse-administrator of the Rwenena Health Center, Mzunga, decided to hold the ceremony without our team. It was the right decision. By the time they arrived, all had dispersed except for women and some men who lived nearby, the chairperson of the local Health Committee, and Mzunga. With the community’s consent, we plan to hold another ceremony on the team’s next visit, marking the acquisitions of the cookstoves as well as the bed. Both will be presented in the broader context of community development.

While preparing the bed in the Health Center, the chairperson referred to it as the fruit of many lobbying efforts—including his own. He vowed that for the next ceremony, he would personally invite “all the faithful of the churches.” Even though the Congolese authorities did not provide the bed, the Rwenena community has gained more recognition and respect. The accomplishment reflects well on Mzunga, who keeps goals for the advancement of women and who speaks on their behalf, including in a recorded video. The bed, he says, raises visibility on women’s struggles in general. Local communities can better understand the challenge to address other social concerns, including those that can be addressed without funding.

Speaking in a nearby spot with women’s “Pama Kaci” cooperative members, the FOPAC team witnessed sheer delight at the arrival of the bed. Jean Marie distributed apples from the cookstove visit, which mothers shared with their young children.

Also present were some husbands, who joined in a celebratory spirit. The cultural norm is to consider illnesses and deaths as a sign of weakness in a family. Due to the necessity of walking for hours during labor to reach what was then the nearest birthing bed, expectant mothers have endured many stillbirths. Fetuses cannot survive the stress of the journey, nor can some of the women. The community hopes that with the bed’s arrival and the long walk eliminated, fetuses and newborns will have a greater chance of survival, other factors notwithstanding. They believe that improved survival rates will reflect well on the family.

Jean Marie reports (translated), “The women are joyful that conditions of childbirth are ‘morally strengthened.’ They also know that the stress of expectant mothers in labor is greatly reduced by the presence of the bed.” He adds that several women are currently in late-term pregnancies. The first among them to give birth on the new bed is anyone’s guess.

To learn the outcome of the cookstoves and follow other income-generating activities of determined Rwenena women, please check out and consider a donation to our main project, “Economic Success...in DR Congo.” Alternatively, you can enter “Economic success” and “DR Congo” in the GlobalGiving search bar.

Thank you again.

The bed has made this mother outright giddy.
The bed has made this mother outright giddy.
A young boy enjoys part of an apple.
A young boy enjoys part of an apple.
A young girl accepts an apple.
A young girl accepts an apple.
A man examines a newly distributed seed packet.
A man examines a newly distributed seed packet.

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Organization Information

Reach Out NGO

Location: Buea, South West Region - Cameroon
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @reachoutdev1
Project Leader:
Marc Serna
Buea, South West Region Cameroon

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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