Spreading the word,
saving women's lives
A couple of weeks ago, at a global conference on family planning, I had breakfast with an African colleague who told me this story of a young pregnant woman in one of the villages where Family Care International works:
Mariam was working on her family farm one day when she suddenly doubled over in pain. She headed home, planning to give birth — like every woman in her village — on the dirt floor of her hut. Partway home, she collapsed, unable to go further.
The village Imam, religious leader of this remote, conservative Muslim community, came upon her. A month earlier, he had been to an FCI training workshop where Muslim and Christian clergy learned about maternal health. “She was writhing in pain,” he said later. “I quickly recalled the danger signs we were told about during the training.”
He took Mariam to the health center, miles away, where she gave birth safely, assisted by a midwife. A week later, the Imam preached in the mosque about the importance of skilled childbirth care and family planning. “With the knowledge I received from the training,” he concluded, “it would be unjust not to use it to help others.”
Just a simple, unremarkable moment of humanity and community, in a tiny village halfway around the world. But before attending FCI’s workshop, this Imam considered pregnancy and childbirth to be women’s concerns, and maternal death an unavoidable fact of life. One simple moment; one woman, facing the risk of life-threatening childbirth complications, lives to take her baby home; and an informed, motivated leader changes the life of every woman and child in his village, forever.
Your support for FCI creates hundreds of simple, lifesaving moments like these:
- A teenager, no longer in school, goes with her friends to a community center, where they learn how to avoid pregnancy and HIV
- A mother and newborn baby survive because FCI won government approval for a safe, inexpensive drug for post-partum bleeding
- A midwife, after advocacy training, secures reliable contraceptive supplies for her clinic
- An African president declares that reducing maternal and newborn deaths is now his top priority
These simple, unglamorous, world-changing moments save lives — thousands of women, who rise each morning, go to work, care for their children, and pursue their dreams. In Africa, Latin America, and around the world, FCI breaks down the barriers that stop women from getting essential maternal and reproductive health care. FCI works with local activists, health workers, and village leaders to amplify the voices of women and communities and to develop sustainable, cost-effective, home-grown solutions.
These partnerships are at the center of our success. Over the quarter-century since FCI sparked the global safe motherhood movement, maternal mortality has been cut in half. We and our partners continue fighting to prevent every tragic, needless death.
One other partner is crucial to FCI’s lifesaving work: you. Your partnership, your decision to do something, is an investment — in healthier women, stronger families, and a better world.
There is so much work still to be done. Every two minutes a woman dies, simply because she doesn’t have access to basic pregnancy and childbirth care. And one day soon, another young woman, nine months pregnant, frightened and in pain at the side of a dusty West African road, will need help.
Family Care International will be there for her. Please be there with us.
P.S. This year, FCI was one of only a very few exceptional non-profits selected for the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Your contribution will make sure we can keep working — creatively and effectively —to make pregnancy and childbirth safer.