Maybe you’ve celebrated this Mother’s Day by treating your mom to brunch and flowers, or at least a thoughtful Facebook status. But here’s something better than a special Hallmark card one day a year: health for every mom, every day. Let’s treat moms all over the world by supporting organizations that are working hard to bring maternal health to their communities. What better way to show our appreciation for the women who care so much for us?
Here are some great projects and organizations dedicated to healthy mamas worldwide and year-round:
Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT): Chiang Mai, Thailand
Partnered with GlobeMed at Dartmouth College
About KWAT: As a result of increasing social and economic problems in the Kachin state of Burma, more and more people have left Burma in search of a new home, primarily in China and Thailand. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) was born in 1999 in Chiang Mai, a city in Thailand near the Thai-Burmese border, out of the need for women to organize themselves to help solve these problems both in Kachin State and in Thailand. Now, more than a decade later, KWAT continues to strive for the empowerment and advancement of Kachin women in order to improve the lives of women and children in Kachin society. Their goals include promoting women’s participation in politics, combating trafficking and violence against women, and providing health education and health services.
This year, GlobeMed at Dartmouth will help fund the Reproductive Health Training course organized by KWAT’s Migrant Worker Program. This course will educate 15 community leaders and health workers from Burma and 10 migrant workers in Thailand originally from the Kachin State of Burma about family planning methods. By disseminating the knowledge and encouraging safe practices in Burmese villages, community leaders can request more supplies from KWAT and ultimately increase the health of village members as well as refugees displaced by the ethnic conflict in the Kachin State.
Rwanda Village Concept Project: Huye District, Rwanda
Partnered with GlobeMed at George Washington University
About RVCP: Rwanda Village Concept Project (RVCP) was founded under the goal of providing sustainable healthcare fueled by self-reliant citizens. Students from the local National University noticed that there was a great need for healthcare in rural Huye, and that they could empower local citizens to build an infrastructure for these services. RVCP takes creative approaches to solving problems found in the communities surround and in Butare, Rwanda. RVCP also works to bring sustainable income generation projects to those communities as well as working with the Huye Health Center and sponsoring several youth clubs focusing on both malaria prevention and STD/HIV prevention.
RVCP and GlobeMed at the George Washington University are currently implementing an Income Generation Project and a Maternal Health Education Program (MHEP) that empowers Rwandan mothers by educating them about proper nutrition, hygiene, and other pertinent health issues while also allowing them to generate income to feed and support their children. With the Hope Apartments in Washington DC, they are holding bimonthly discussions with mothers, teens, and children, who participate in the organization’s transitional housing program. In these discussions, they help mothers connect with educational resources, speak with teens about the issues they face living in Southeast DC, and give the mothers and teens a break by watching the younger children during the discussion time. By partnering with both local and international organizations, GlobeMed at GWU seeks to promote education, awareness, and empowerment through focus on maternal health care.
CEMOPLAF Cajabamba: Cajabamba, Ecuador
Partnered with GlobeMed at Indiana University
About CEMOPLAF: CEMOPLAF, whose acronym translates into Medical Center Orientation and Family Planning, is an organization based in Cajabamba, Ecuador that focuses on sexual and reproductive health issues. Founded in 1974, it provides a wide array of sexual health services, including but not limited to: medical clinics, community distribution posts, family planning services, and general and pediatric consultations.
CEMOPLAF Cajabamba is partnered with GlobeMed at Indiana University and is currently working with them on a variety of projects related to fertility awareness, sexuality education, and HIV prevention in 21 communities. GlobeMed at Indiana University will help to fund a needlework program for women in the rural, mountainous region of Central Ecuador. A traditional artisan craft, weaving and knitting have also served as a means for both indigenous and Spanish women to come together to discuss political and social issues, and to address community conflicts. CEMOPLAF Cajabamba will supply and facilitate these needlework workshops as a method of raising discussion about issues of sexual and reproductive health inequity among Ecuadorean women.
Jambi Huasi: Otavalo, Ecuador
Partnered with GlobeMed at Loyola University
About Jambi Huasi: Jambi Huasi, meaning “House of Health” in Quichua, was founded in 1984 by an organization of indigenous people called FICI (Federación Indígena y Capesina de Imbabura) who were fighting for the right to health. Jambi Huasi is a primary care clinic offering both Western and traditional affordable medical care to the Ecuadorian people, especially the indigenous population. With this unique intercultural model of health, Jambi Huasi aims to eliminate health disparities that have been built over decades of discrimination against the indigenous population. They work by a motto of “Un pueblo sano es un pueblo libre” (A healthy people is a free people) and are eager to improve their services by partnering with GlobeMed at Loyola.
This year, GlobeMed at Loyola University and Jambi Huasi are implementing a maternal healthcare program to train 30 midwives on topics like hygiene and birth complications. Midwives are essential to maternal care in Ecuador, often being the only health workers attending the birthing process. They are also expanding Jambi Huasi’s service capacity by subsidizing medicines and updating medical equipment.
Social Action for Women: Mae Sot, Thailand
Partnered with GlobeMed at University of Cincinnati
About SAW: Social Action for Women (SAW) was founded in 2000 to assist displaced Burmese women living in crisis as refugees in Thailand. SAW believes that by supporting vulnerable women and children, the Burmese refugee community will strengthen their abilities to face future challenges, minimize their risk of becoming involved in illicit activities, and develop into healthy and productive members of society. The GlobeMed chapter at the University of Cincinnati felt immediately connected with Social Action for Women’s grassroots, community-based model when their partnership began in the fall of 2011. Since beginning its partnership, the GlobeMed chapter has supported SAW’s Community Health Outreach Program to educate rural migrant communities in reproductive and regional health issues.
GlobeMed at University of Cincinnati partners with Social Action for Women and is currently working to fund their Community Health Outreach Program, which will fund the training of peer leaders to teach 300 Thai people about Reproductive Health and regional health issues such as skin diseases and multi drug-resistant Tuberculosis. This will impact the overall health of the region by encouraging both awareness among the class participants and a sustainable impact through communication of the information throughout the regions in Thailand.
Care Net Ghana: Hohoe, Ghana
Partnered with GlobeMed at University of Southern California
About Care Net Ghana: Care Net Ghana is a grassroots organization in Hohoe, Ghana dedicated to delivering efficient and sustainable programs that promote rights and improve the living condition of marginalized groups, especially women and children. They combine basic education with health information, providing women and children with information about how to remain healthy and take actions to improve their own and their families’ health. Their areas of focus are education, health, child’s rights and environmental conservation.
Care Net Ghana and GlobeMed at USC are working together to educate and train 100 volunteers, five each from the 20 villages in the Volta region of Ghana, to become community health workers (CHWs) who can provide pre and post-natal maternal and child care. This training will transform each motivated villager into an efficient, educated, and sustainable resource for his or her community. The maternal and child mortality rate is tragically high in rural southern Ghana, and with only 0.85 trained doctors for every 10,000 people, resources are highly limited. The chance to empower a community to take control of its own health is a unique and truly incredible opportunity. This project will go incredibly far in creating a sustainable solution to the crisis of maternal health in Volta, Ghana, and ultimately changing the landscape of health for this community.
Build your Future Today: Cambodia
Partnered with GlobeMed at University of Virginia
About BFT: Build your Future Today Center (BFT) was founded in 2006 to bring the intellectual and economic tools required to attain self-sufficiency to Cambodian children who have lived through hardship and poverty. BFT believes that by living out their guiding principles–”Knowledge is Hope” and “Peace is Development”, they will be able to bring opportunity and improved lifestyles to children living in poverty. The GlobeMed chapter at University of Virginia felt immediately connected with BFT’s emphasis on mutual learning and peaceful action when their partnership began in the fall of 2011. Since beginning its partnership, the GlobeMed chapter has supported BFT’s Safe Child and Mother Project.
GlobeMed at University of Virginia is working with BFT to fund the Safe Child and Mother Project for children and mothers in the village of Arak Svyak outside Siem Reap, Cambodia. In partnership with BFT, they hope to eliminate malnutrition in children under 5 years through daily feeding programs and training to community cooks, reduce the rate of child and mother mortality through educational classes, and reduce the rate of children repeating the first grade by providing educational materials and training to community volunteers.
Cambodian Organization for Women’s Support
Partnered with GlobeMed at University of Wisconsin-Madison
About COWS: Cambodian Organization for Women’s Support (COWS) was founded in 1993 by five women seeking to bring women’s health and community development to the Kampong Thom Province. COWS believes that by focusing on natural resource management, good governance at the grassroots level, and promotion of health education, they will be able to support and empower the most marginalized Cambodians to bring them a better life.
The GlobeMed chapter at University of Wisconsin – Madison felt immediately connected with COWS’ emphasis on community development and grassroots efforts when their partnership began in the fall of 2011. Since beginning its partnership, the GlobeMed chapter has supported COWS’ reproductive health education program. They are working together to implement and execute a program of reproductive health education for four rural villages by organizing youth groups. Members of these youth groups will then hold meetings to spread their new knowledge to the rest of their communities. Their goal us to reduce HIV/AIDS infection rates and promote safe sexual behavior in participating communities.
Burmese Women’s Union: Mae Sot, Thailand
Partnered with GlobeMed at Whitman College
About BWU: Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) was founded in 1995 by a group of young female students who fled Burma in the aftermath of the military junta’s violent crackdown on the popular uprising in 1988. While working in the movement for peace and democracy along the Thai-Burma border, BWU’s young founders recognized that there was a lack of awareness about women’s rights and gender issues, among both women and men in Burmese society. BWU exists to promote the role of women in Burma and to efficiently increase women’s contributions to the political and social leadership functions in the struggle for democracy and human rights and the establishment of a genuine democratic federal union. By providing educational trainings, increasing access to accurate information and providing women a safe place to gather and discuss their issues, BWU works to increase the capacity of women from Burma to participate in the pro-democracy movement.
Since the fall of 2011, GlobeMed at Whitman has partnered with BWU to support their reproductive health programs. They will fund a reproductive health training program and family planning supplies program for women in the migrant and refugee communities. This will impact the health of these communities by making women knowledgeable about the reproductive health services and rights available to them and empowering them to use the family planning supplies provided. This will cut down on domestic abuse and unwanted pregnancies, and the trained women can pass on their knowledge about reproductive health to others.