This past summer 10 American moms, including me, went with the ONE Campaign to Kenya to learn, firsthand about U.S.-funded programs in Africa benefitting mothers and children.
One of our first visits was to a maternal and child health program outside Kisumu, Kenya called the Lwak Nutritional Center, where we were joyously greeted with dance and song by several dozen women.
The women were called "village reporters", positions to which they were elected by the community -- but another name for their job could be lifeline.
Through a program with the U.S. Center for Disease Control, day after day the village reporters trudge miles along winding, steep, dirt roads to the homes of expectant and new mothers checking in on the women and their children, often saving lives in the process.
Elisa Morgan, one of the ONE MOMS on our trip, blogged this story about accompanying a village reporter on a home visit:
Our team then hiked our way up a rocky crevice to the home of Lillian and her new baby, Emily. Accompanied by our very own village reporter -- also named Emily -- we learned that Lillian had tried to make it to the hospital but her labor was too strong and ended up in the untrained attendant's home. We sat on the edge of the bench and were relieved to learn that all had gone well. But when village reporter Emily made her post-delivery visit to Lillian, she discovered that the baby had a deformity in her legs and not only advised Lillian to take her to the hospital pediatrician but arranged for transportation. As we met little Emily, we all rejoiced that she'd been attended to early -- preventing permanent deformity.
Thinking back on the trip to Kenya and all we saw and learned, the village reporters have stuck with me. Every community -- no matter where it is -- needs, and if it's lucky has, "village reporters" -- the lifesavers -- the people who care about those in need and who do all they can to make sure those in need get help.
Watch our ONE Moms video:
In our own, more global version, the ONE Moms became "village reporters" when we shared stories about the mothers in Africa on our blogs and social networks, when we lobbied our lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support foreign aid, when we sat down with Dr. Jill Biden and voiced our support for U.S.-funded programs that save lives in Africa, and as we continue to encourage our communities to take action against poverty and disease around the world.
The Global Motherhood platform launching today is a powerful opportunity for us all to be village reporters and take action for mothers and children everywhere, to tell their stories, to care about them and, most importantly, to make sure we do all we can to get mothers and children the help they urgently need.
Photos by Morgana Wingard, ONE