What is Zonta?
Zonta International is a leading global organisation of executives in business and the professions working together to both advance the status of and empower women worldwide through service and advocacy. Zonta is why BKFA exists.
A short history
At the 1995 UN Women’s Conference in Beijing, actor Sally Field inspired Adelaide Doctor, Joy O’Hazy with the idea that women in developing countries could survive birth in far greater numbers if they had access to a few basic, clean items.
After four years of research Joy developed the Birthing Kit using six items packed into a small zip-lock bag. 100 kits were put together at the first ‘Assembly Day’ in 1999 by the Zonta Club of the Adelaide Hills.
Those kits, distributed in Papua New Guinea, were incredibly successful. Joy sought support from Zonta, the word spread and ‘The Zonta Birthing Kit Project’ was adopted.
Between 1999 and 2004 the project grew slowly. When AusAID funding was received it expanded rapidly, mainly due to the supporter base for the project throughout the 114 Zonta Clubs in Australia. A simple Assembly Day Manual was created for every club interested in running an Assembly Day and The Adelaide Hills Club co-ordinated the provision of supplies and the dispatch of the kits to their final destinations; a huge logistical task.
By 2005, over 121,500 kits had been assembled and distributed – the majority of these by Zonta Clubs. Over the years, Zonta clubs reaffirmed their commitment with the Zonta Birthing Kit Project Committee responsible for distributing kits across the developing world, seeking out NGOs to partner with.
Clubs everywhere enthusiastically embraced the work; raising money to fund Assembly Days and motivating the wider community to help. Without this support the Zonta Birthing Kit Project wouldn’t have grown or prospered and BKFA would never have been established. By 2006, Birthing Kit Foundation Australia was created to manage what had become a complex operation with an increasing workload. BKFA has maintained its strong links with Zonta and is proud of the role it has and continues to play in its success.
An incredible accolade is granted
Over 1500 Zontians from around the world heard about the success of Birthing Kits at the Zonta International (ZI) Convention in Orlando Florida, 2014. Here, District 23 was recognised, with the Zonta Birthing Kit Project voted ‘Best District Service Project’ as part of the inaugural ZI Service Recognition awards; a huge honour for all Zontians involved in the Birthing Kit Project.
If you are from a Zonta Club, then your first priority is to support the Zonta International Service Projects. Each year, a third of all funds raised are allocated to support these projects – they are crucial to the success of Zonta International. To support BKFA, any funds used need to come from the remaining two thirds of club fund raising. We ask Zonta Clubs not to divert funds usually destined for Zonta International to BKFA.
If your Club would like to hold an Assembly Day in Australia, you can find more information here.
If your Club would like to hold a fundraising event, you can find more information here.