Safe Mothers, Safe Babies
Country of Operation
SummaryWe seek to improve the diverse structural and cultural contributors to poor maternal and child health in rural communities of the developing world. By working with target populations under a model of "participatory development," to uncover local problems and devise community-sustainable solutions.
Safe Mothers, Safe Babies works with local populations to identify the best ways to address harmful cultural traditions, improve knowledge of safe motherhood, and generate demand for maternal and child health interventions. The project aims to increase market size to at least 100,000 direct beneficiaries over the next 2 years, which, due to the nature of the method on community needs and solutions, will also increase the scope of services provided.
Key program components
The process the project undertakes includes the following steps: 1) Identifying formal and informal community leadership and important cultural practices. 2) Working with those leaders to identify how to engage the community at large in defining maternal and child health in local terms, exploring the structural and cultural obstacles to good health, and devising potential solutions. 3) Taking a multi-sector approach to improve the identified conditions, including initiatives addressing each of the following: Strengthening public demand for maternal and child health interventions; Preventing common public health conditions, such as malnutrition and unsafe water, in income-generating ways utilizing already-available and community-sustainable technologies; Improving medical infrastructure in low-cost and community-sustainable ways. 4) Ensuring that interventions engage community members in their conceptualization, physical implementation, monitoring, and adjustment. 5) Forming committees in each community to implement projects and fund/manage their upkeep. 6) Developing a system for the community to track maternal and child health outcomes, receive community feedback, and together adjust projects in practice. SAFE has also worked with local citizens and medical professionals to develop an innovative, cost-effective solution--a comprehensive motorcycle ambulance system, consisting of 2 eRanger motorcycle ambulances; An educated public, trained in emergency recognition with cell phone based dispatch system; They also have trained drivers and a network of "Emergency Clubs" that act like first responders to provide care before the eRanger arrives.
Safe Mothers, Safe Babies (SAFE for short) was founded with the mandate to improve maternal and neonatal health through projects conceived and implemented in true partnership with the citizens and professionals of the local communities in which SAFE operates. Originally a collegiate-based initiative of Vassar College founded in 2007 -- the Vassar Uganda Project -- they have been working with the people of Uganda for 4.5 years, and have been working in Iganga District for 3.5 years. The Vassar Uganda Project became Safe Mothers, Safe Babies in 2009 when SAFE founder, Jacqueline (Law) Cutts, and a number of the SAFE volunteers graduated from Vassar College and established SAFE as an independent organization. SAFE still maintains a strong relationship with university students, and encourages the involvement of college students, graduate students, and PhD students from a variety of disciplines and institutions in our volunteer work.
The project works with 31,800 people receiving direct benefits, 110,000 who are served indirectly, and an additional 20,000 people via technology projects started by the organization and transitioned to partner control.