MOTHERS ON THE MOVE (MOM) supports healthy mothers and babies by providing transportation for pregnant women of the Nyakach Plateau to deliver at health facilities. Our vision is for girls and boys to receive a healthy start to life with equal opportunities for growth, education, freedom, energy, leadership, and endless creativity. We want to empower, foster, and support mothers and their children to break the cycle of structural violence.
To help with this project by making a donation, click here.
**To our friends in Europe: if you prefer using direct banking, we now have our own Mothers On the Move account. Please send your donation to NL36 ABNA 0536 1424 83 and make it out to Mothers On the Move!
Erikamano (thank you)!
THE STORY OF MOTHERS ON THE MOVE–by Jolene Damoiseaux (Founder)
“Do you remember me?” asked a familiar, curious face. “Of course I remember you! Emily Ouma!” I quickly responded. Hugging each other after almost a year apart, Emily enthusiastically exclaimed, “You interviewed me when I was 6 months pregnant and now I have an 8 month old daughter. Guess what her name is? … JOLENE Gloria Apollo!”
As an extension of the Straw to Bread annual trip in 2012, I had the opportunity to live amongst the Luo tribe in rural Western Kenya for two months. While working on my thesis, Approaching Barriers to Health Center Deliveries in Rural Western Kenya from a Liberation Theology Perspective: A Community-Based Needs Assessment, I had the privilege of interviewing ninety women. My translators and I walked from mud hut to mud hut in search of a pregnant woman or previously pregnant mother that was interested in “answering several questions to allow us to improve the health of women in her community.” During these 90-minute interviews, I sat between my translators and our participant – four women huddled together to discuss an experience unique to our gender. Something that tied us together despite our many differences.
After my countdown of 320 days finally came to an end, I was able to bring the results of my research back to Kenya in 2013. It was a privilege to share what I learned from months of statistical analysis as well as literature review. With a PowerPoint presentation and my thesis passing among curious eyes, I explained that 93% of the women on the Upper Nyakach Plateau managed to seek prenatal care while only 45% were able to safely deliver at a health facility. Using a liberation theology approach to attribute this disparity to “structural” (accessibility to a health center delivery) versus “cognitive-personalistic” (value of a health center delivery) barriers, it became clear that all of the women in my cross-sectional study valued a health center delivery but faced significant structural barriers. Among these barriers, 92% of the women reported a transportation problem that forced them to hike an average of five kilometers after the onset of labor to deliver at the nearest Sigoti Health Center.
When Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta proclaimed maternal health services free of charge, the faces and stories of each of the women I interviewed testified to the importance of pragmatic solidarity when attempting to serve the less fortunate. Government-sponsored maternal health services would be an impractical solution if women on the Upper Nyakach Plateau were unable to access those services in the first place – paying more money to deliver with an unqualified traditional birth attendant because they were unable to make the necessary transportation sacrifices. With the generous support of Baylor’s Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative (BIPI), I implemented a community-based approach to helping women experience safer deliveries. In conjunction with the Sigoti Health Center, I started Mothers On the Move (MOM) – a program to pay for laboring women’s transportation to the Sigoti Health Center as well as referrals to the more equipped St. Joseph’s Nyabondo Hospital. Since October of 2015, women can also go to Bethlehem Home Hospital, centrally located on the Plateau and staffed by Dr. Don Ogolla. Along with President Kenyatta’s 2013 agenda, our Luo mothers can now experience a delivery that is promising and free of charge.
I was the second “mzungu,” or white person, to open a bank account at Kenya Commercial Bank’s (KCB) branch in Sondu (the first of which also happened to be a Dutch woman!). After withdrawing and depositing BIPI’s $1,500, or 127,400 KSH, into this bank account, I opened a Mothers On the Move account to which money will be transferred every month. Little did I know I would see the culmination of my research in the arms of a proud mother less than seventeen hours later!
As the Kenyans living permanently on the Nyakach Plateau are much more of a solution to the problem of inaccessible health care than I am, I was grateful to witness their eager involvement and enthusiasm at the idea of Mothers On the Move. Their participation is vital to the success of this program as they are responsible for raising awareness within their community as well as providing me with monthly reports regarding our progress. Since it’s implementation, Mothers On the Move has transported over 1000 new mothers to the local health center or to the hospital. The “M.O.M.” phone number is now becoming a Luo sign of hope, trust, and most importantly the beginning of new life.
Please see the Waco Tribune article that features MOM at: http://www.wacotrib.com/news/higher_education/baylor-senior-starts-program-to-provide-transportation-help-to-pregnant/article_33358b8b-a908-55c7-ab2a-29cfc031bc0c.html.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL!
As we are celebrating the infinite potential of girls and nurturing that power within, I think it is much needed time for an update!
|Mothers On the Move Transports as of October 2017|
|Total transports to Sigoti Health Center and St. Joseph's Nyabondo Hospital||864|
As of today, Mothers On the Move has brought 864 girls AND boys into the world. Let’s empower them from the day they are born with a healthy start to life!!!!!
While MOM has made a significant contribution over the last four years to helping over 800 women become mothers after 9 months, there are still more than 800 women dying from preventable complications related to pregnancy and childbirth EACH. DAY.
99% of these deaths occur in developing countries where accessibility – such as the availability and quality of services, the financial means to afford said services, and in many circumstances transport to nearby clinics and hospitals (as is the case on the Nyakach Plateau) – makes “becoming a mother” THE most dangerous endeavor in a woman’s life.
From the start, these expectant women and their unborn girls (AND boys!) are already subject to structural violence that will hinder them from living the life that they so deserve.
TOGETHER we can decrease those “more than 800 a day” and increase those “happily forever after’s”!
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!
I just received an email from my friend in Kenya telling me about 25 year-old Alice Atieno who suffered life threatening complications during her delivery but made it to St. Joseph’s Nyabondo Hospital just in time thanks to Mothers On the Move.
To those of you that have been a part of our movement (by donation, prayer, whatever!), the following words are for YOU!
Jasper Oluoch writes, “Having witnessed the great work you do in saving lives, I personally take this opportunity to thank you for this awesome initiative. You have surely moved from the narrow confines of individualism to the greater needs of humanity. Indeed as we write the historical chapters of Kenya, your contribution will forever remain as lasting footprints in the sands of time and dearly engraved in our hearts as a reminder for the higher calling.”
Thank you for helping us celebrate women not just today but every day 😀
I hope these words will also be a reminder for you (as they were for me) of “the bigger picture” and what our purpose in life should look like.
I’ll be spending today celebrating our newest mom Alice, the rest of our ladies on the Nyakach Plateau, and the incredible committee of strong women involved in keeping this project running in Kenya!!!
IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER!
As of December 1st, we have transported 743 women to happy and healthy deliveries at Sigoti Health Center and St. Joseph’s Nyabondo Hospital!!!
This is all thanks to the generous support of our friends and donors all over the world. We now even have an ongoing partnership with the Hubertus & Berkhoff Culinaire Vakschool in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (http://www.hubertusberkhoff.nl/nieuws/hubertus-berkhoff-in-actie-voor-mothers-on-the-move)!
14-16 year old students in this vocational school are learning how to run a business by cooking for and serving customers in the school’s restaurant, and NOW.. they are also learning about the importance of serving their world.
For every carafe of water that is ordered, Mothers On the Move’s story will be shared and customers will be asked to donate 1 euro. This project has been a great succes so far and is going to help many women experience safe deliveries (we will reveal the total amount when the fundraiser ends next summer!).
We also have some new projects beginning in Maastricht, the Netherlands as well as continuing in Waco, Texas, and now we are just waiting to see how YOU want to get involved 🙂
This program is growing in ways we never expected and we are so excited to continue to do so as we return to Kenya this June. Our ideas include:
- Also providing transportation for mothers before and after deliveries (for prenatal care visits, baby checkups, etc)
- Buying vehicles for transport instead of only using our existing piki piki/dirt bike system (I think our laboring mothers will appreciate that!)
- If we are VERY lucky with donations, providing transportation to everyone in need of healthcare on the Upper Nyakach Plateau
- And much much more!
We will keep you updated as to our progress, but until then.. “kwaheri’ (goodbye!) and don’t forget to “kwam gweth magi” (count your blessings) as we approach the holidays.
In this season of giving, we hope you will consider the gift of just $10 to help bring an expectant mother to the hospital for a healthy delivery (some of you may have noticed the slight increase in price from before, but this is also to give our mothers a meal during this special time of the year).
Maybe you’re running out of ideas for Christmas gifts? Here is the opportunity to give a gift that will bring new life into the world and make for a wonderful start to 2017!
Please help us get to the 1,000 mark in the New Year!
With many thanks,
OH HAPPY DAY!
We just received Mothers On the Move’s report and have officially transported almost 700 WOMEN to health centers for safer deliveries in rural western Kenya!
One of the women transported was pregnant with twins in the breech position. Without MOM, Quenter would have had to walk more than 3 miles to the nearest health center WHILE IN LABOR. She would not have made it, would have tried to deliver at home or with a traditional birth attendant, and she might not have the beautiful family in the photo below.
I am SO grateful to those that have believed in this program and donated just $6 to transport an expectant mother to a hospital for skilled delivery care.
If you want be a part of Quenter’s story and help us “move more,” please visit http://www.strawtobread.org/mothers-on-the-move/ to see how YOU can get involved!
Happy Mother’s Day from our MOMs to YOURS!
Mothers On the Move (MOM) has some exciting news to share: As of today, we have transported 459 women to nearby health centers for safer deliveries!
This is something to celebrate in a country with a high maternal mortality as a result of many barriers to health services.
With a woman dying every minute from preventable complications related to childbirth, we are grateful for and humbled by the support we have received to help so many enjoy the privilege of motherhood.
Just last month, Grace Achieng came to Sigoti Health Center with serious complications during delivery. MOM further transported her to St. Joseph’s Nyabondo Hospital, where she safely delivered a beautiful baby girl!
Grace is one of the many women for whom MOM has made a difference. To continue spreading the joy of motherhood we need your help. For this Mother’s Day, would you consider all of the mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters in your life and make a donation to Mothers On the Move in their name?