Interview with BKFA Champion and Zonta Club of Adelaide Torrens member – Prue Cowled

Interview with BKFA Champion and Zonta Club of Adelaide Torrens member - Prue Cowled

Zonta Clubs throughout Australia have been fundamental to the birthing kit story, having produced over 60% of all kits assembled in Australia. In order to recognise this enormous contribution, an Ambassador and Champion recognition program was developed by BKFA. A Champion is a member of a Zonta Club, nominated by the Club itself, who has provided outstanding support to the Zonta Birthing Kit project and who actively promotes fundraising within their community.

This month, we had the opportunity to chat with Zonta Club of Adelaide Torrens member – Prue Cowled, about her role as a BKFA Champion.

How did you get involved with Zonta and BKFA?

I joined Zonta in November 1993, nearly 30 years ago. I was introduced to Zonta by the wife of a colleague and my initial motivation was to meet new people but I very quickly became involved in the Club’s service projects. When the Birthing Kit project began, our Club enthusiastically joined in and held our first Assembly Day. I was given the task of coordinating the Assembly Day and very quickly became committed to the Birthing Kit project as I viewed the outcomes as vital for the health of women and babies in developing countries.

What is your Zonta Club?

I am a member of the Zonta Club of Adelaide Torrens and am currently the Secretary, as well as curating the website and editing our quarterly newsletter, The Z Files. Although our membership is not large, the Club is committed and enthusiastic and we achieve some excellent outcomes in a range of service and advocacy projects.

Tell us what your role is as a BKFA Champion?

As a BKFA Champion, I view my role in two ways, firstly facilitating our Club’s Assembly Days and secondly, talking to as many people as possible about BKFA. As an example, our Assembly Days have been held for some years at the Basil Hetzel Institute at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, my workplace until my recent retirement. I have been able to involve many colleagues in the Assembly Days, thus broadening the knowledge of BKFA into the wider community.

How many KIT packing days have you delivered during your time with Zonta?

The Zonta Club of Adelaide Torrens first packing day was held in 2005 and we have held yearly packing days ever since, with the exception of 2012. Even during Covid, we managed to make 400 kits! I led the organisation of 17 of these events, and we have assembled anywhere from 400 kits one year to several very big kit packing days where we assembled 2,000 kits. I estimate the Club has assembled approximately 30,000 kits, a number which makes me very proud of the Club and all the hard work involved.

What draws you to the BKFA cause?

I can see the overwhelming need for Birthing Kits in developing countries where resources are limited or non-existent. I continue to be impressed by the wide-ranging actives of BKFA, including education of birth attendants as well as kit distribution. Every time we assemble a kit, I wonder who is likely to use it and I hope for a good outcome for both mother and baby!

What are the highlights of your time with Zonta and BKFA?

I was thrilled to be recently acknowledged as a BKFA Champion! I am always very happy when we ship the completed kits, a great outcome. In the wider Zonta world, I’ve attended three Zonta International Conventions and met with Zontians from all parts of the world. These interactions strengthen my commitment to the ideals of Zonta and BKFA.

Why should others get involved in the BKFA cause?

The need for Birthing Kits and support for the other activities of BKFA continues to be urgent. Based on my positive experience with the project, I feel that others would also benefit personally from making a meaningful contribution to better health outcomes in countries with very limited maternal facilities.