WRA Kenya is raising awareness of the Government commitments at all levels of society and building champions to work towards making sure these commitments are delivered.
Three Kenyan team members attended the WRA Annual General Meeting (AGM)and workshop in Tanzania in November last year. A commitment by WRA-K to "Raise the visibility of Maternaland Neonatal Healthin Kenya and ensure that MDG 5 is no longer the forgotten goal" was made. WRA-K received a certificate for Pioneering Safe Motherhood in Kenya during the AGM.
The WRA-K team during the Annual General Meeting in Tanzania
Angela Nguku, WRA-K coordinator, with His Excellency the President of Tanzania, Dr. Kikwete
WRA-Kenya has continued with its membership drive, and its membership has grown. The current membership is over 400 organizational and individual members. A vigorous organizational membership drive is currently underway.
Madam Ida Odinga Becomes WRA-K Patron
WRA-Kenya got its patron, Madam Ida Odinga, on board. Madam Ida is the Wife to the Kenyan Prime Minister, Hon. Raila Odinga, and a very strong supporter of the girl child and women.
Madam Ida givesan address during a recent media breakfast to raise the profile of maternal health in Kenya
WRA-KForms a Core Committee
A core committee comprising 17 members was formed and comprises of representatives from: USAID, DFID, WHO, AMREF, JHPIEGO, ENGENDERHEALTH, HENNET, MOPHS, FCI, University of Nairobi, The Nurses and Midwifery Council, Population Council, private practice and CSOs.
WRA-K Receives a Visit from the Global Office
In February, WRA-K was privileged to host a guest from the global secretariat of WRA. Lisa Bowen, the point person for WRA-K, visited Kenya and got to meet with core committee members. She also helped prepare for the strategic planning process for WRA-K and got a feel of the situation in Kenya.
Core Committee members with Lisa Bowen,Program Advisor for the WRAGlobal Secretariat, during a recent meeting
Pre-International Women's Day Activities
As part of its advocacy activities and in rallying towards the International Women’s Day, WRA-K held a number of key activities which included radio talk shows, TV talk shows, and advocacy events, among others. A media guide was developed and key statistics well-formulated for the WRA-K members who were going to speak on TV and radio.
Media Support for Maternal and Neonatal Health (MNH)in Kenya
WRA-K approached media houses to raise the visibility and profile of MNH in Kenya. The media responded and gave WRA-K airtime.
- WRA-K has been hosted by the Kenya Television Network (KTN), one of the leading TV stations in Kenya, to air key issues affecting women and children and contributing to theirs deaths, as well as what needs to be done.
- Four local FM stations have given WRA-K airtime to air issues on maternal health and advocate for every Kenyan to play their part. Such radio talk shows are held weekly.
- The media has redirected its efforts to airing issues on maternal health. Newspapers have been running clips on maternal health.
WRA-K held a media breakfast on the 26th of February to alert the media on the state of maternal health in Kenya and to orient them to the grim picture of MNH in the country. This was held at the Sarova Stanley Hotel and officiated by Madam Ida Odinga, WRA-K Patron. Madam Ida called on the media to bring out the issue of maternal mortality into the forefront for every Kenyan, and especially for the media to:
- Advocate to government and partners to allocatemore financial resources within the budget towards initiatives and programmes dedicated to saving mothers’ lives.
- Raise awareness on the magnitude and consequences of maternal death in Kenya.
- Educate the public on their roles and responsibilities in addressing this preventable situation. This entails accurate, unbiased research and reporting.
- Call onmen to act as partners in the prevention of deaths of their mothers, wives, friends, relatives, and daughters.
WRA-K Chair Dr. Kidula delivers her address to the media
The media response was overwhelming. On that day alone:
- Almost all TV stations aired the issues raised, and leading newspapers reported on the issues the following day.
- Media personnel joined WRA-K.
- Journalists have been looking for information to report on the state of maternal health from WRA-K.
- The profile of maternal health reporting has been raised, and an article is posted almost every week.
Kenya Recognizes International Women's Day
1. Wearing White for Mothers and Planting Trees on InternationalWomen's Day
WRA-K membersat AMREF dressed in white on International Women's Day and plantedtwo trees - onenamed Tumaini (which means "there is hope for mothers") anda second one named Makumbusho (in memory of all those who have died in pregnancy and childbirth). The treesare doing well under the watchful eyes of WRA-KNationalCoordinator, Angela Nguku.
WRA-K members plant trees in honor of mothers and those who have died in pregnancy and childbirth
2. Kilele Foundation Holds Event
Kilele Foundation,a member of WRA-Kenya, held an impressive event at Yatta which was aimed at raising awareness on the state of maternal and neonatal health in the region. This is a region which has low health facility deliveries. The event was attended by over 500 people. Men were also reminded of their duty to take control of maternal and neonatal health in their households.
Invitation to Forums
WRA-K was invited to a Maternal,Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH)stakeholder’s workshop on acceleration of attainment of MDGs 4 and 5. This was aimed at drawing up high-impact interventions, all geared at drastically reducing Maternal, Neonatal and Child Deaths in Kenya. WRA-K presented best practices borrowed from other countries, some of which were borrowed and adopted for Kenya.
WRA-K was also invited by the NACPD to share the Birth Atlas with members of parliament (MPs) during a breakfast meeting. This was a meeting to present to MPs the importance of family planning as a tool to help Kenya achieve its Vision 2030. The Birth Atlas was hailed as a true representation of regional disparities in terms of MNCH and a tool to use to push for the leadership from these areas to move faster to avert these calamities.
WRA-K gave a presentation on "Raising the profile/visibility of MNCH in Kenya" during the annual Kenya Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society of Kenya Conference held in February.Three obstetricians joined WRA-K.
WRA-K Attends African Union Planning Meeting in Malawi
Twomembers from WRA-K took part in the African Union planning meeting in Malawi aimed at strategising the way forward for maternal health in Sub-Saharan Africa. This was aimed at drawing up a common theme for advocacy. The two included the WRA-K chair and a member drawn from the media.
Documentaries on the State of MaternalHealth in Kenya
WRA-K teamed up with a leading TV station in Kenya to carry out a TV version of "Stories of Mothers Lost" in one of the biggest urban slums in Nairobi. The stories highlighted the grim picture of women in the city’s urban slums and what the residents needed done to address this. The documentary,"Tales of Difficulty Motherhood in the Slums," was aired on prime time news and also during other news times by the same station. This was during the month of March after International Women's Day.
In April, WRA-K also carried out a documentary with another leading media house to highlight the plight of women in another slum in Nairobi. This documentary, capturing the deplorable conditions facing mothers during pregnancy and childbirth in Kenya, was a special tribute to mothers on Mothers' Day.
WRA-K has become a centre of media focus, especially on issues related to maternal health, and is a reference for media on issues of maternal health in the country, including special features on issues affecting women’s health.
WRA-Kenya Patron Madam Ida recently attended a luncheon hosted by AMREF USA and aimed at highlighting the plight of African women and girls.