Globally, one of the most powerful ways to create social impact is to improve the lives of women and girls. If you’re stuck on what to give mom this Mother’s Day (or she’s intimated she does not need another mug), consider a gift in her name to an organization that supports vulnerable mothers and their children throughout the world.
Keeping New Moms and Their Babies Healthy
Home-based care and support helps vulnerable new moms to build their parenting skills and improve their children’s health and well-being. In the United States, Nurse-Family Partnership pairs a first-time, low-income mom-to-be with a nurse, building a relationship and support system from pregnancy through the first two years of the child’s life. In the global community, SEARCH provides home-based care focused on increasing the survival rates of newborns; the Home-Based Newborn Care (HBNC) package can be delivered at a low cost by community health workers (trained by SEARCH) at the village level.
Other Health Challenges Facing Women and Children
Mothers around the world face unique and challenging situations pertaining to their health. For mothers in the US facing addiction, Meta House in Wisconsin provides a safe, women-only treatment facility that engages families in the treatment process and allows children to stay with their mothers. In Africa, mothers2mothers uses mentor mothers to encourage HIV+ women to utilize the entire cascade of care and treatment options necessary to avoid transmission of the virus to their newborns. JHPIEGO is another international organization that focuses on providing for the full range of reproductive health needs that mothers face throughout their lifetime.
Promising Uses of Technology for Women’s Health and Safety
Utilizing technology to assist healthcare workers in rural or hard-to-reach areas has the potential to significantly impact health outcomes. The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) sponsored programs in four countries which sent core health messages to pregnant women and mothers of infants, and compiled research suggesting that delivering messages and appointment reminders in this way can lead to behavior change that supports healthier women and children. In Kenya, Pathfinder International supports mHMtaani, one such program which is used by community-based health workers to communicate with expecting mothers with the goal of helping women plan for safe deliveries.
Economic Empowerment of Women and Their Communities
Given their roles as caregivers, breadwinners, and de facto community leaders, it is not a surprise that strong data links improvements in the lives of women to improvements in outcomes for families, communities, and global economies. By hiring and training local women as healthcare leaders, organizations contribute to their economic empowerment, in turn strengthening the livelihood of their families and communities. BRAC and SEARCH are two examples of international organizations that utilize local human capital to provide their services, such as in-home mother and newborn healthcare and support.
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