In 2014, Maternity Foundation established our first regional hub in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Through the hub, we will offer our expertise within maternal and newborn health to NGOs and public institutions in Ethiopia and the region. The establishment of the hub was made possible by a donation from Ole Kirk’s Foundation.
We are very proud that Ole Kirk’s Foundation has committed funds to support the hub’s further expansion in 2016 and 2017. Their support will enable us to build and strengthen local partnerships, conduct training for birth attendants and community members, roll out the Safe Delivery App in a new project, update and develop new training materials – and hereby reach even more mothers and newborns in Ethiopia and beyond.
The regional office in Addis is led by Hiwot Wubshet, who was previously managing director of the Ethiopian Midwives’ Association. In addition, we have hired Mesfin Wondafresh as Operations and Training Program Manager, who is responsible for coordinating Maternity Foundation’s trainings and training task force. Maternity Foundation’s presence in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, strengthens Maternity Foundation’s position in the broad RMNCH environment and towards national authorities and government in Ethiopia, enabling added influence through advocacy and lobby activities for improved maternal and newborn health policies and strategies.
The regional hub also co-ordinates country-partnership projects, like our partnership with SOS Children’s Villages and the Ethiopian Midwives’ Association (EMA) with whom Maternity Foundation is implementing a maternal and newborn health project in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. The project includes a focus on how to handle birth complications in circumcised women. Approximately 90 % of women in the Somali Region have undergone the third – and most mutilating – type of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
In addition, the hub has been instrumental in:
– Evaluating our existing training materials and developing a new module for handling birth complications due to FGM.
– The development of an online training platform with an updated and standardized version of Maternity Foundation’s training materials.
– Training and establishment of a task-force of 24 trainers, who have undergone an intensive course in facilitation skills and either the clinical or community training compendium of Maternity Foundation . The task force will be deployed to conduct trainings for Maternity Foundation in support of partners in Ethiopia.
The new donation from Ole Kirk’s Foundation will go towards further strengthening of the regional hub in Addis Ababa, which will allow us to both consolidate and expand our partnership with SOS Children’s Villages as well as establish 2-3 new training partnerships in the region.
Photo: Focus group discussion with traditional birth attendants in Gode in Somali Region.