Since 2005, we have been working in developing countries to achieve long-term change and are in the process of growing our innovation partnerships across the world. Our projects are driven by our Global Partners and are designed through a collaborative process in response to local maternal and newborn health issues.
“Strengthening the Rural Health Network to Improve Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health
BKFA has partnered with Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), Afar Region, Dullassa District, Ethiopia, for over ten years.
Afar Regional State has poor maternal health indicators, even by national standards. Low status of women, poor literacy, geographical isolation, unequal access to essential sexual and reproductive health services, and harmful traditions that negatively impact on the wellbeing of girls and women, are all factors that contribute to the disproportionately high levels of poor maternal health outcomes experienced by Afar women.
Disempowerment of Afar women within the household and community means that women and girls are unable to define their own issues or influence change. This, in turn, reinforces the cycle of poor maternal health outcomes across generations.
BKFA has partnered with APDA on a project that aims to improve maternal and newborn survival and prioritise the reproductive health of girls and mothers in 10 Kebeles of Dullassa District by ensuring that community health teams work well, and work together, that fewer girls and mothers are harmed by traditional practices and that men and boys prioritise their families’ health. Project activities comprise:
- training of local health team members in reproductive health and safe motherhood practices;
- community engagement and sensitisation on the importance of safe motherhood;
- local delivery set (birthing kit) component procurement and assembly; and,
- distribution of locally assembled delivery kits to pregnant mothers and APDA-trained traditional birth attendants.
You can read the full APDA 6-Month Report 2023-24 here.
Since 2005, BKFA has been involved in supporting community development projects in DR Congo, working alongside Mission in Health Care and Development (MHCD) in Sud Kivu, Nord Kivu, and Katanga.
The funded projects have included traditional birth attendant training, training of trainers, in-country kit production, and a monitoring and evaluation project.
MHCD primarily works on the Eastern side of DRC, where the African War (1996-2004) resulted in the deaths of over 5 million people. Even today, there are smaller rebel groups operating in the area, and rape is endemic. Women in these communities suffer greatly, with many having been raped and taken as child soldiers, while their husbands were killed or fled, and all their food was taken. As a result, they are left destitute and often pregnant.
Through TBA and micro-credit training funded by MHCD and its supporters, these women have been given hope, as they are able to earn a sustainable income and purchase food, whilst having some control over their futures.
The profits generated from their businesses have allowed most of them to send their children to school, giving them a sustainable education and a future. Dr Luc Mulimbalimba from MHCD personally supervised 12 TBA training seminars in Uvira Territory, where over 1,200 TBAs were trained.
For some of the most marginalized communities, like the pygmies of Goma Nyringongo, Lemera, and Mulenge, this was their first experience of education, and they were eager to learn more. This was the beginning of a transformation in their communities, particularly the Mulenge community.
In 2014-15, BKFA and AusAID funded two Midwifery Seminar Training (MST) programs, each with 18 participants. Six participants were selected from each of the three provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, and Katanga, with two from each of three villages. They attended a three-week general health and midwifery care course and were taught how to train TBAs to improve childbirth outcomes. The MSTs were so encouraged by their ability to learn that they requested further training to become midwives/nurses.
As a result, MHCD established the “Great Lakes Midwifery College,” with a national curriculum and national examinations and examiners. To date, 40 midwives/nurses have graduated and returned to their remote villages. MHCD supporters then funded the construction of a local hospital/clinic and provided it with resources to care for the people. Most of these resources come from Australia in containers.
For the first time, remote communities have access to professional healthcare, and the midwives are able to earn a respectable, valuable, and sustainable living. This empowers women in their communities to pursue further education.
You can read the full 2023 MHCD Report here.