This month we have submitted our Annual Report to the UK’s FCDO, and it’s allowed us to take a step back and assess the project’s performance over the year. In short, we smashed it. By this point in the project we had targeted to reach 3216 pregnant women in Meru, but we’ve actually reached 4102! This is despite the challenges and disruptions faced, and changes within the team in Meru.
Strengthening links between communities and health services
We’ve also seen an amazing number of referrals from the health workers engaged on the project. Referrals are a recommendation from a community-based health volunteer to a woman to visit a clinic. For this we are using a government referral tool which is recommended but often not utilised in a community setting.
These referrals include women actually seen by health workers, referred for antenatal care (for those who hadn’t already started attending clinics, for a variety of reasons) or for specific causes of concern such as reduced foetal movement or bleeding during pregnancy. We are using the number of referrals made from the community as an indicator to measure how our project is performing in terms of improving linkages between the community and health care services, and by this point in the project we anticipated to have made 280 referrals, but actually recorded 1304. It’s an amazing testament to the way in which our project is encouraging women to seek the care they need and have a right to.
We do what it takes - a growing recognition for Child.org's work in Meru
The team is doing incredible work, and the impacts are being noticed at county government level. Just last week our team hosted a County Review Meeting, inviting members of the Government of Kenya’s health governance teams at county and sub-county levels. These meetings aren’t easy to host nor facilitate, and Cherio, our Programme Manager successfully shared our project wins and - perhaps more importantly - our frustrations. She held the county to account where there had been barriers to the sub-county teams’ efforts, as well as demonstrating weaknesses within the local administration (sub-county) to their county leads. Cherio and the team managed to hold open and honest conversations to look at constructive paths forward, rather than just showcasing the positives.
To put it into context, Cherio received feedback from a senior health worker at that meeting, who told her "Your organisation is very different. I think you are very hands on with your projects and that is how you are able to identify some of the gaps you have been presenting to us today. We have never had any other partners present the challenges and the gaps. They only present the successes of their projects." As Cherio told us in a team meeting after: “we do what it takes”.
And she’s absolutely right; we DO do what it takes. Child.org does what it takes to look at what’s wrong and how we can make it right. We do what it takes to improve access to care for thousands of women and babies in Kenya. We are doing what it takes elsewhere as we kick off our Baby Box project in Kwale this month and women are already joining the next intake for Mama Tips.
We’ll be sharing much more on each of the projects over the coming weeks so look out for posts from the team.