JJH Zonta

Judi (ZC of Brisbane Breakfast), Julie (BKFA) and Helen (ZC of Brisbane Breakfast) load birthing kits made by the ZC of Brisbane Breakfast

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.

The idea of the birthing kit originated with Dr Joy O’Hazy, a member of the Zonta Club of the Adelaide Hills. In 1995 at the 5th World Health Conference in Beijing, Joy heard Sally Field, the actor, speak on how these small kits that cost less than a dollar can save a life. In 1999 the club turned an idea into a reality by organising the first assembly day, making the first 100 kits which were sent to PNG.

Feedback from PNG was extremely positive with the noticeable reduction in mother and baby deaths. This motivated the Adelaide Hills Club members to expand the project.

Between 1999 and 2004 the project grew slowly. However, when AusAID funding was received it expanded rapidly, mainly due to the huge supporter base for the project throughout the 114 Zonta clubs in Australia. An easy to follow Assembly Day Manual had been created for every club interested in running an assembly day for the manufacture of kits. The Adelaide Hills Club co-ordinated the provision of supplies and the dispatch of the kits to their final destinations, a huge logistical task.

Clubs everywhere enthusiastically embraced the work; they raised the money to fund assembly days and motivated the wider community to help. Without this support the Zonta Birthing Kit Project would never have grown or prospered and the Foundation would never have come into being. By 2006 the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) was created to manage what had become a complex operation. This created a corporate structure to regularise the running of the Foundation relieving the Zonta Club of the Adelaide Hills of an increasing work load. The Foundation has maintained all its links with Zonta and Zonta should be proud of the role it is playing in reducing infection rates and saving the lives of so many women and children.

Julie Monis-Ivett and Anne Westley at the Zonta International Convention in Florida, proudly displaying the Award

Julie Monis-Ivett and Anne Westley at the Zonta International Convention in Florida, proudly displaying the Award

Over 1500 Zontians from around the world heard about Zonta Birthing Kits at the Zonta International (ZI) Convention in Orlando Florida in July 2014. The recognition in winning first place at their inaugural ZI District awards was an honour to our supporters and very satisfying for those Zontians on the Birthing Kit Project who have been approaching ZI since the 2000 convention in Hawaii. Enjoy your award Zontians and supporters across Australia – it was an honour and a joy to represent you at the convention.

Supporting BKFA

If you are a Zonta Club, your first priority in supporting international projects is to support the Zonta International service projects. One third of all fund raising is allocated each year to support Zonta international projects. These funds are crucial to the success of our Zonta International projects. To support BKFA any funds used need to come from the remaining two thirds of your 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 you are a Club outside of Australia and would like to hold an assembly day, please contact us.

If your Club would like to hold a fundraising event, you can find more information here.