About us

Maternity Foundation is a Danish development organization that aims to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in developing countries. Every year, 303,000 women die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth, 2.7 million babies die during the first 28 days of life and 2.6 million stillbirths occur. The majority of these deaths are preventable.

With the vision ‘No women should die giving life’, Maternity Foundation works to empower and mobilize women to seek care, to build the capacity of and train health practitioners, so that more women give birth with skilled birth attendance. With the support of MSD for Mothers, Maternity Foundation’s own program, the Integrated Maternal Health Program in Ethiopia, works with local partners in the capacity building of health care workers and empowering the community to seek care.

Maternity Foundation has an entrepreneurial approach that focuses on developing evidence-based solutions that can be scaled up to benefit as many women and newborns as possible. To this end, the organization works closely with leading researchers and academics.

In partnership with Copenhagen University and University of Southern Denmark, and with the support of MSD for Mothers, Maternity Foundation developed The Safe Delivery App, a free smartphone application for low and middle income countries that improves skilled birth attendants’ capability and confidence to  provide quality, respectful, evidence-based basic emergency obstetric care (BEmONC) that adheres to global and national guidelines.

Since 2010, HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has been a patron of Maternity Foundation. The Crown Princess is an active advocate for women’s rights and health, and is a member of the international high-level panel of ICPD and patron for the UN Population Fund.

History and milestones


  • Maternity Foundation and Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA) enters partnership on developing a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) curriculum for midwives in Ethiopia, which will integrate The Safe Delivery App.
  • Based on the successful results from our program in Ethiopia, Maternity Foundation launches its new Maternal and Newborn Health program targeting nine new districts (600.000 people and 28 health facilities) in West Wollega in Ethiopia.
  • The Safe Delivery App is featured in new Apple film about the power of apps presented by Apple CEO Tim Cook at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
  • Maternity Foundation has a strong presence at the Woman Deliver conference in Copenhagen, which gathers more than 5000 stakeholders from the global health and women’s rights community. This includes co-hosting the event “Scaling Innovations to Save the Lives of Mothers and Babies” with Merck for Mothers, UN Foundation, Concern Worldwide, Philips and more.
  • Article on The Safe Delivery App is published in the internationally renowned medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.
  • Maternity Foundation joins workshop in London on mobile health hosted by Merck for Mothers and Gates Foundation.
  • Danish jewelry company Carré produces the LIV (“Life”) bracelet in support of Maternity Foundation.
  • Artist Jeppe Eisner creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • The Safe Delivery App is presented at several international conferences, including the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Conference in Vancouver and Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City.
  • Commitment to reach 10.000 health workers with the Safe Delivery App announced with UN’s Every Women Every Child during the UN General Assembly in New York.
  • Co-hosts event on “Mobile Innovations for Maternal Health” at the Morgan Library and Museum during the UN Week in New York together with Merck for Mothers, Marie Stopes Tanzania and mPowering Frontline Healthworkers.
  • The French Embassy’s Human Rights Prize is awarded to Maternity Foundation by Ambassador François Zimeray at a memorable ceremony at the French Embassy in Copenhagen.
  • Establishment of a task force of 24 trainers in Ethiopia, who will conduct trainings of midwives and health workers based on an intensive course in facilitation skills and Maternity Foundation’s training compendium.
  • Celebration of Maternity Foundation’s 10 year anniversary attended by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary.
  • The Safe Delivery App is launched at App Store and Google Play.
  • Photographer Anne Prytz Schaldemose creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Continues to operate under the name of Maternity Foundation independent from the British sister organization Maternity Worldwide.
  • Completes the clinical trial of the Safe Delivery App in Ethiopia in cooperation with University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark.
  • Establishment of first Regional Maternal Capacity Hub in Addis Abeba in Ethiopia. The establishment of the competence centre is Maternity Foundation’s first major step in becoming a leading innovator and catalyst for maternal and newborn health across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Hires first Regional Manager based in Ethiopia.
  • Maternity Foundation receives the prestigious Vallø Pris.
  • Presentation of results at international conferences such as GETHealth Summit in Dublin.
  • Our patron, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary, receives the Bambi Charity Award for her engagement in social work.
  • Artist Anika Lori creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Launch of the project: “mHealth for Maternal and Perinatal Health Research project (2013-2014)” to test mobile health tools developed in cooperation between University of Copenhagen and Maternity Foundation.
  • Partnership with SOS Children’s Villages about capacity building SOS’ health clinics within reproductive health.
  • Maternity Foundation becomes an operational partner to the Ethiopian regional health authorities’ Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care training program.


  • CSR partnership with the Danish branch of the international pharmaceutical company MSD/Merck. Through this partnership Maternity Foundation is invited to apply for a grant under the MSD/Merck for Mothers’ Global Giving Program. A grant is successfully obtained to Maternity Foundation and University of Copenhagen’s mHealth development and research project.
  • Maternity Foundation establish partnership with Grundfos about sustainable technologies to enhance safe birthing environments in targeted health facilities in Ethiopia.
  • Maternity Foundation initiates collaboration with the Ethiopian regional health ministry about the establishment and running of a satellite training center for basic emergency obstetric and newborn care.
  • Establishes partnership with the Norwegian foundation Kavli Trust regarding support for integrated maternal health project.
  • Christian Stadil is designer behind the annual Mother’s Day campaign – a Iphone cover.


  • Second phase of the “Integrated Maternal Health Project (2011 – 2014)” in West Wollega, Ethiopia, targeting 60 villages, 2 hospitals, 8 health centers and 80 health posts in 4 districts is established. The integrated approach focuses on building the capacity of the health system through clinical training and on empowering the community through health education and livelihood strengthening.
  • Maternity Foundation enters into partnership with University of Copenhagen about developing and testing innovative mHealth (mobile health) technologies and approaches for reproductive health.


  • Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark becomes the patron of Maternity Foundation.
  • Maternity Foundation obtains an independent NGO operating license in Ethiopia enabling a scale up of the program.


  • Maternity Foundation establishes a long-term operational partnership with The Obel Family Foundation (Det Obelske Familiefond) and a number of other partners including; Bech Bruun (legal assistance), Buus Jensen (audit) and Decato (IT and communication).
  • Maternity Foundation launches our first Mothers’ Day fundraising and awareness campaign: “Save a Mother’s Life on Mother’s Day”.


  • First phase of the “Integrated Maternal Health Project (2006 – 2009)” in West Wollega, Ethiopia, targeting 40 villages, 4 health centers and 1 hospital in 3 districts is established. The integrated approach focuses on building the capacity of the health system through clinical training and on empowering the community through health education and livelihood strengthening.


  • Maternity Foundation is established by M.D. in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Henriette Svarre Nielsen, and 5 other Danish women.