Making Pregnancy Safer
SafeHands is a UK registered charity whose vision is a world where no woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth. As an award-winning photographer/filmmaker, I understand the power of the visual to tell stories, inspire and advocate for change. Our documentaries shown on our innovative solar-powered media players help to communicate lifesaving messages.
I’m Nancy Durrell McKenna, Founder Director of SafeHands for Mothers and I am a strong supporter of midwives and the work of MIDIRS.
Recently, I went, with our Project Manager, Dr Nahid Chowdhury, to Northern Ethiopia where our Comic Relief funded Making Pregnancy Safer Project (MPS) is entering its third year. Our MPS project, implemented by our partner the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia, is working in 81 villages to reduce the number of mothers dying in childbirth.
Our project works in two areas: encouraging women to give birth in midwifery-led health institutions and increasing the uptake of long-acting methods of family planning (IUCDs and Implants). We have set up community emergency funds in each village, with the aim that no woman should die because she cannot afford transport to a health facility. For those women living in remote communities with no roads, transport involves four men carrying a makeshift stretcher to the nearest road, perhaps hours away, where the SafeHands ambulance with midwife, will then take them to the nearest facility.
Now That You Know Say NO to FGM
We were delighted to be awarded runner-up in the prestigious BOND award for an inspiring campaign with our Now That You Know Say NO to FGM films. Shot in black and white these three two-minute films capture the rawness and honesty around FGM, a practice that harms women and girls in countries throughout the world and in the UK. The films are now being used by facilitators working with young people in communities to highlight, inform and educate on FGM. You can watch the films at www.safehands.org/media/saynotofgm.
Following on from this award, we have now received a grant from BOND to continue to spread this inspiring campaign. During October, Black History Month, these short films will be screened in independent cinemas prior to the feature films, culminating in an event at several London universities where young people can learn more about the harmful effects of FGM and how to end it.
Follow our website for the latest updates, www.safehands.org.
Image: Nancy and midwife, Takele in front of SafeHands / FGAE Ambulance