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Africare In the News
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President and CEO Robert L. Mallett was interviewed \by Herb Cohen, host of Executive Leaders Radio. November 17 is the anniversary of Robert’s first year at Africare!
The interview ran November 27 and can be heard multiple times. It starts at about the 41 minute mark.
By Aliza Moorji-Hasham
Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program
A U.S. Government supported program used to improve nutrition among mothers and children was formally adopted by the Government of Tanzania as it seeks to accelerate gains in reducing stunting among Tanzanian children under the age of five. The Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program’s National Nutrition Social and Behavior Change Communication Kit (also known as Mkoba wa Siku 1000) was nationalized at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre as a part of the Joint Multisectoral Nutrition Review meeting.
The Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program and the launch of the kit has been supported by Africare Tanzania as the prime partner, with a consortium of partners of COUNENUTH, Deloitte, and the Manoff Group.
The kit was distributed to various stakeholders, nutrition partners and NGOs (as pictured), as well as Regional and District Nutrition Officers from around the country.
The Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program is a 7-year project funded by USAID as part of the Feed the Future initiative. The project’s goal is to improve the nutritional status of children and pregnant and lactating women, thereby reducing maternal anemia and childhood stunting by 20 percent in six regions in Tanzania.
Africare Zambia recently completed and opened its first six Maternity Waiting Homes. Lively community events were open to the community at each site. Local leaders from the area, including government officials, were in attendance. Three homes are in Mansa District, Luapula Province located at Mano, Fimpulu and Lubende Rural Health Centers and three are located in Lundazi District, Eastern Province: Nyangwe, Nkhanga and Mwase Lundazi Rural Health Centers. Jessy Mtenje, Lundazi District Coordinator for the project states, “These homes are set up to be community managed entrepreneurial enterprises with a variety of income generating activities as mechanisms for the homes to be financially sustainable, adequately maintained and also a sources of pride for women in the region”.
Click here to watch a time-lapse video of the one of the homes in Lundazi. This effort falls within the larger Maternity Homes Alliance efforts in Zambia that includes additional districts.
In rural Zambia, health facilities are sparse, roads are unpaved and transportation is unreliable. Women often have to travel long distances to reach the nearest health facility, making it difficult for them to get the care they need during pregnancy, childbirth and immediately postpartum. In fact, in Zambia, distance challenges are considered a leading contributor to the country’s high maternal mortality ratio of 224 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births.
Maternity waiting homes, residences near health facilities where pregnant women can stay until they go into labor and immediately after childbirth, can help overcome these distance challenges by enabling women to reside closer to health facilities as they approach the end of their pregnancies.
The government of Zambia has included maternity waiting homes in the country’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality. The goal is to make these homes sustainable by empowering local communities to both effectively manage them and generate income to support their operations through creative entrepreneurial activities, therefore ensuring the homes and the services they provide are available for the long term.
Eden Ahmed Mdluli, Senior Technical Specialist, who supports the project from Africare headquarters in Washington, DC, says “Africare is energized to work within the alliance and collectively achieve more for vulnerable communities in Zambia and elsewhere”.
MSD, through MSD for Mothers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The ELMA Foundation are supporting the Maternity Homes Alliance in Zambia to build and strengthen 24 maternity waiting homes throughout the country – all of which will be located near high-functioning health facilities equipped to provide quality care and manage life-threatening emergencies that can arise during pregnancy or childbirth. Africare, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, and Boston University, in collaboration with the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development, are leading the program, supporting local communities to manage the homes.
The three-year project focuses on the districts of Mansa, Chembe, Lundazi, Kalomo, Choma, and Nyimba, and it builds on the existing efforts of each organization to lower maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa – where more than half of all maternal deaths occur. The project also represents part of MSD for Mothers’ commitment to Saving Mothers, Giving Life, a public-private partnership led by the U.S. Government to reduce maternal deaths in the region.
The program is creating entrepreneurial models of these homes to test a variety of income generating activities to promote their long-term financial sustainability. The program will include an in-depth evaluation to help the maternal health field determine whether maternity waiting homes can be both an effective and sustainable solution to help women overcome distance barriers to quality care.
As part of efforts to drive adoption of clean cook stoves and fuels around the world, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has announced awards to four organizations to design and manage behavior change communication (BCC) interventions in Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria. Africare Nigeria has received one of the sought after awards from McCann Global Health.
McCann Health is the world’s most-awarded professional and consumer health network, and is fully integrated into McCann Worldgroup, the largest marketing communications agency network in the world. Africare Nigeria engages in projects that leverage local resources for under-served communities to solve their own development challenges, prioritizing the cross-cutting themes of economic development, nutrition, water, WASH, women’s empowerment, and youth engagement.
According to Africare Country Director Orode Doherty, Africare began working on cooking related issues in 2012, and have since worked with the Nigerian LPG and cookstove community to develop programs aimed at increasing uptake of cleaner stoves and fuels across 11 states in Nigeria. The team will focus efforts in two states in Nigeria, with a primary goal of motivating women to make the switch from kerosene to LPG for cooking. They will leverage the expertise of the McCann communications network to develop a mass media campaign, and build on Africare’ s existing community level programs and relationships with the LPG community in Nigeria, including their work with over 100 women’s cooperatives, to integrate more women into the LPG distribution chain.
Selected from more than 60 proposals, the BCC interventions will take place over the next two years and are expected to deliver impactful, evidence-based communications aimed at influencing consumer purchasing decisions and encouraging consistent use of cleaner cooking options. The interventions will employ a variety of outreach tools, communication channels, and creative concepts, including a new cooking-focused reality TV show, radio programming, mobile messaging, roadshows, street theater, and more.
“These behavior change interventions will help increase consumer demand for a range of higher-performing cookstoves and fuels, improving lives, protecting the environment, and enabling manufacturers to meet the needs of more and more households,” said Brian Smith, Chief Operating Officer of the Alliance. “The Alliance’s added focus on demand creation comes at a time when there’s a wider selection of higher-quality stoves available than ever before.”
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The Alliance’s 100 by ‘20 goal calls for 100 million households to gain access to clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020. The Alliance works with a strong network of public, private and non-profit partners to accelerate the production, deployment, and use of clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels in developing countries.