Project #1169

Teach Traditional Ethiopian Midwives to Save Lives

by VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations
Ethiopian Midwives in a VSI Training Session
Ethiopian Midwives in a VSI Training Session

On Wednesday, June 15th, every donation made to this project will be matched by Global Giving by 30%.  Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference to mothers in Ethiopia.  Every 90 seconds a mother dies during pregnancy or childbirth, and 99% of these deaths take place in developing countries where lack of access to basic medicines and services are taking mothers from their children.

VSI is a nonprofit organization committed to improving women’s health in developing countries by creating access to life-saving and affordable health solutions for all.  Make your dollar stretch by giving a gift on Wednesday and supply life-saving medicines to women most in need.

No matter where you live pregnancy and childbirth should be a cherished and joyous experience, not one of fear.   Thank you to our committed donors who share our dedication to making maternal health an equal right no matter where you live.


Health Extension Workers in Training
Health Extension Workers in Training

Empowering women to help women

Through the education of young health extension workers, we continue to expand the use of misoprostol for PPH prevention in efforts to save lives throughout Ethiopia’s nine regions.  Reaching mothers where they deliver – whether at a facility, home alone or on the way to a distant health clinic – our project is equipping these young frontline providers with the knowledge and skills to use misoprostol for PPH prevention, treatment, and referral on clean and safe delivery.

This year we have expanded our cascade trainings into the SNNPR (Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples) region which is one of the largest regions in Ethiopia, making up a fifth of the country’s population.  With less than ten percent of its population living in urban areas, the region is overwhelmingly rural as well as ethnically diverse (over 80 different ethnic groups; 56% indigenous to the region).  Using a cascade or train-the-trainer method to spread messages on PPH management not only is cost effective but allows us to empower local providers to help mothers in their respective communities survive childbirth and pregnancy.  More importantly, it increases ownership of the training and the likelihood of success.

Within the SNNPR region, we have conducted cascade trainings in six “kebeles” or neighborhood associations across three districts, reaching 183 frontline providers (health extension workers, nurses, midwives, and health officers).  The providers trained on the use of misoprostol for PPH prevention and treatment will assist their fellow health workers develop confidence in managing delivery using misoprostol to help reduce maternal death due to PPH.

As we approach Mother’s Day, we would like to extend our deepest thanks for your support through Global Giving in making childbirth safer for all mothers.  Please consider continuing your support by joining our “I am a mother” campaign and giving through Global Giving or visiting us online to learn how to get involved –


This Wednesday, March 16th, Global Giving is matching all online donations at 30%. Here are ten reasons why you should consider supporting our project, “Teach Traditional Ethiopian Midwives to Save Lives”:

  1. Investing in a mother’s health is an investment in her children, family and community.
  2. In Ethiopia, women have a 1 in 40 lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth; when a newborn loses her mother, the likelihood she will reach her first birthday is diminished.
  3. Excessive bleeding due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death in developing countries– a condition that is preventable.
  4. Due to the remote, rural countryside, most women (over 90%) deliver a home.
  5. VSI is helping women where they are at the village level.
  6. Our project ensures mothers and frontline providers have access to generic tablets that have incredible life-saving effects in the management of excessive bleeding. 
  7. The cost of a preventive dose is less than a dollar. 
  8. We have empowered and trained over 2800 frontline health care providers on its use and benefits.
  9. By giving through VSI this Wednesday your dollar will go further in helping women most in need.
  10. You are helping to save a life during childbirth and pregnancy.

We believe that no matter where women live, they deserve equal access to life-saving medicine and the opportunity for a safe pregnancy and childbirth as part of their basic human rights.  Thank you for your consideration this Wednesday. We deeply appreciate the support of those who share our commitment to saving mothers' lives in Ethiopia.


Ethiopian Mother
Ethiopian Mother

Celebrating International Women's Day

This Tuesday, March 8th, we join the world in celebrating 100 years of International Women's Day.

As an organization committed to improving maternal health in communities most in need, we take notice of this special milestone and acknowledge the countless contributions women make to their families, communities and countries.  In the developing world, where we work, women are both the economic and social providers requiring that they be supported and their health needs met.  That’s why we are committed to addressing the leading causes of maternal death by ensuring mothers and frontline providers have access to safe, affordable and effective medicines.

Thanks to your support through Global Giving, we are making motherhood safer in Ethiopia and 14 other developing countries and our collaborative efforts are improving health while strengthening communities.

To learn more about International Women’s Day click here To learn more about our programs and how to get involved click here.


Aynalem, Heath Extension Worker in Rural Ethiopia
Aynalem, Heath Extension Worker in Rural Ethiopia

With 94% of Ethiopian women giving birth at home, we continue to educate and train frontline providers like midwives, health workers, traditional birth attendants – even the mothers themselves – on the life saving effects of misoprostol tablets.  By training those working at the village level, we are helping to ensure that mothers have the chance to survive childbirth, an often frightening experience when medical care and medicine is scarce.

Meet Aynalem (pictured) who is a health extension worker deployed to rural communities by the government to provide primary health care.  Aynalem is one of the many health extension workers (HEWs) trained by VSI on the use and benefits of misoprostol.  At the mere age of 24, Aynalem has already assisted in over 80 home deliveries, all made safer with misoprostol tablets. 

Prior to this project, health workers faced many challenges in home deliveries due to minimal supplies and training. Now they are equipped with a simple-to-use tablet and the knowledge on how to use it for the management of postpartum hemorrhage, the leading killer amongst women.  Sometimes with no more than a 10th-grade education themselves, health extension workers not only educate women at rural health posts about the use of misoprostol and a host of other important preventative health measures, but they also travel from home to home providing misoprostol tablets to delivering mothers.  These young women provide critical care and services where there otherwise would be none.

Since June 2010, we have trained over 1100 health extension workers, including many in new regions of the country like Somali, Afar, and B. Gamuz in our program to prevent bleeding after delivery.   By integrating training on misoprostol for postpartum hemorrhage into regular trainings and curricula, we are contributing to a sustainable improvement in knowledge about a life-saving drug among the men and women who serve families across Ethiopia.

We are excited about our progress in equipping frontline workers with misoprostol, and deeply appreciate the support we receive from donors committed to reducing unnecessary maternal deaths.



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Organization Information

VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations

Location: Irvine, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations
Project Leader:
Allison Boiles
Communications Specialist
Anaheim, CA United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 123 donors like you, a total of $10,373 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. 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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