Why I'm taking on Ride Africa


Posted on
02nd Apr 2019
by Cherio Onacha


I have never ridden a bike in my adult life.

...in fact I have only two memories of me cycling. One was as a twelve year old trying to ride a black mamba bicycle. This is a bike obviously meant for grown people because of its height, but as children we had our creative ways to make this work for us. I do not think I can try any of those gymnastics now, but trust me I was a pro of my time! 

Good times!

Cycling bears all sorts of  nostalgic memories for me. Aside from my pre-teen excursions, my other fondest memory of me on a bicycle was when I was about 4-5 years old. My father would carry me on his bicycle to his place of work over the weekend.

This was in no way a hobby of his, it was just the only means of transport available to us - we have come a long way! I looked forward to these rides nonetheless. I remember him asking me to wrap my little hands around his waist for support, but my tiny hands couldn’t cover the circumference so I held on tightly to his shirt and rested the side of my face on his back. The feeling was priceless! 

I have nothing but good memories of cycling and I guess that is why my excitement to do Child.org’s all women’s ride in July comes as no surprise. I really do look forward to reliving my childhood memories and making new ones with all the wonderful and inspirational women I hope to meet on the ride.

This ride will require a lot of brevity, patience, endurance, faith and resilience from me. I believe that it is no coincidence that this mirrors the season I am currently going through in my life. My husband and I have struggled with infertility for coming close to three years now. It has been a rollercoaster of negative pregnancy tests, tonnes of supplements, endless doctors appointments, blood draws and scans with our hopes of being parents still a distance afar.

On very many occasions we have questioned everything that we believe in. Making babies is loads of  fun for many people, why is it not for us?why does it have to involve this amount of heartache, self doubt, anxiety and a deep into our pocket? In moments like this, it is very easy to drown yourself in self pity. I am not in any way trying to negate the gravity of our pain (because, trust me, it hurts) but with the amazing support I have continued to receive  from people around me in this season, my strife has been to remain positive, hopeful, and to continually give purpose to my pain. 

This then brings me to the main reason why I am doing Ride Africa, cycling from Nairobi to Meru over 6 days in July. As difficult as this journey has been for me, I am abundantly blessed. I am surrounded by a loving family that has stood by all the decisions we have had to make. I have an understanding work environment at Child.org that is accomodative to all the time off I have to take for my clinic appointments. I also have access to health information that has helped me understand our condition better, and financial resources to afford decent healthcare. Besides this, I am part of very many networks of women across the world who are currently going through this or have gone through this and overcome. The support has been incredible! Not for one second have I felt like I have to do this on my own. I will be forever grateful for this!

I cannot then even begin to imagine the isolation that a woman like me in rural Kenya, with very basic education, no family support, no financial resources or access to proper health care is going through. A woman who has struggled so hard to conceive, feeling hopeless at her inability to protect this very pregnancy that she has worked so hard for.

I have loved my child even as an idea. Deep in my heart I know I will do everything to protect them to ensure that they have a chance at life because they are already loved and wanted. If my circumstances meant that I could not realise any of these dreams for my child I would be shattered. The women we hope to work with in Meru, Kenya do not have the luxury of any of these dreams I have for my unborn child. Their circumstances make it impossible!  I am doing this ride for these women because I believe in their dreams, and I believe that in my small way I can make their dreams a reality.

I get so emotional every time I look at this picture of Winfred and her baby!

Please join Marti and I to make my journey count, by donating to this cause. I am hoping to raise £4,000 for Team Mum - enough to launch four support groups for new mums. Through these groups, new mums will be armed with the information they need to keep themselves and their babies safe during pregnancy, delivery and the early months of their babies lives. Help me make the dreams of these mothers a reality, they do not ever have to feel  alone!

If you are in the UK and give before 30 April, your donation will be doubled by the UK government.

Donate to Cherio and Marti's fundraising page

Baby Box Pilot - a report


Posted on
11th Mar 2019
by Ellie Dawes


The results are in and the report is out. You gave us the money to run a Baby Box programme, here's what we achieved with it.

Baby Boxes have been making news in the UK for a few years, with research and debates ongoing into how they help families in Scotland and Finland (or shoppers at Lidl). But there's been precious little research into whether this innovative intervention might be useful in a low-income country like Kenya. Our small pilot programme provides a glimpse into their potential. 

The Baby Box Pilot was Child.org's first mother and newborn programme, and the first delivered direct by our Team in Nairobi. It was also funded by our first ever Christmas appeal - £6000 raised from individual donations from UK supporters and matched by the Bush Hospital Foundation.

Between June and December 2018, Child.org used that money to deliver 483 specially-designed Baby Boxes to mothers with newborn babies living in informal settlements ("Slums") in Nairobi County, Kenya. Each box included a mattress, two sheets, a cellular blanket and a mosquito net, and was printed with safe sleeping advice. 

The aims

Using the baby boxes, Child.org wanted to:

  • Encourage more mums to access postnatal care services
  • ​Provide new mums with safe sleeping information and a safe place for their baby to sleep

Our research and programme development aims were:

  • To initiate maternal health programming for Child.org
  • To learn about potential opportunities for Child.org to make a significant constructive contribution to maternal and neonatal health programming in Kenya
  • To assess the efficacy of the Baby Box as an incentive to access services from a government health facility in Kenya
  • To assess the potential impact and value of the Box itself in the Kenyan context to determine whether a Box could be a useful intervention for Kenyan mums and babies

The results of this pilot were astounding

More families accessed vital health services, and life threatening infections were identified earlier. Mums had a far better understanding of the safest way to put their baby to sleep. Our extensive surveys and the experience of running the programme also highlighted some key opportunities for Child.org to improve the lives of mums and babies in Kenya in the future. Here are some key successes:

  • 96% of mothers accessed postnatal care services following the birth of their baby, compared to only 15% at baseline. The project saw an 81% increase in women and babies accessing life changing services.
  • 21% of babies checked during their postnatal care consultation were diagnosed and treated for an umbilical cord infection. That’s 122 babies that were treated for a life threatening infection.
  • Based on the improved access to postnatal care, that’s 98 babies that had their infection detected earlier (as a result of the mother going for postnatal care earlier in order to collect the Box.) Cord stump infection is one of the causes of blood infections such as sepsis and tetanus. These contribute to17% of newborn deaths in Kenya.
  • 95% of mothers that received the Box are using it as a place for their baby/babies to sleep either during the night or during the day.
  • Parents are using the Boxes a lot more consistently during the day (93%) and only 2% are putting their baby to sleep in the Boxes at night. This is because co-sleeping is encouraged by medical professionals in Kenya to facilitate breastfeeding. Child.org did not discourage this practice in favour of the Boxes as a place to put baby to sleep at night. (For more information on why this is - download the report, link below.)
  • Before the programme, just 7% of mothers knew that the safest position for a baby to sleep is on their back. After the programme, 43% of mothers knew this.
  • 80% of newborn babies were being exclusively breastfed
  • The number of mothers and babies sleeping under a mosquito net at night increased from 71% to 80%

Surprising facts from the Baby Box report

1. Child.org worked directly with the the Ministry of Health on this programme, and when we discovered gaps in provision of postnatal care - we ran our own training session with staff and volunteers. We also made sure we were using monitoring and evaluation tools and measurements that would work with the data used by the Ministry of Health, so we could share and compare data easily.

2. We initially registered 478 mothers, reserving 22 of our 500 boxes in case any of the mothers had multiple births. This turned out to be prudent because nine mothers in the project had twins. Only one of these mums had a scan, and her scan was inaccurate - so none of those mothers knew they were expecting more than one baby! 

“It has helped me a lot, especially the mosquito net from preventing diseases by malaria.” - Gentrix, mother of twins, Prince and Ashley.

3. In an early focus group, we showed local young mums a prototype of the box and they were shocked, saying that it looked like a sanduku/coffin! To ensure mums wanted to collect and proudly use the box, it had to look like a beautiful crib for a baby, so we worked with illustrator Jaqueline Fryers to create beautiful boxes in a cost-effective black and white. The boxes were printed and manufactured in Kenya.

4. Mums told us that the boxes were most useful as a safe place to put the baby during the day, while they were working or cleaning up. Imagine the impact on your day-to-day life when you're given a safe place to put your baby down, in an environment where that wasn't possible before.

Read the report

Our report outlines the whole story of the programme: the challenges we faced, the things we learned and the families we met. 

Download a digital version

Order a print version

What next?

Right now, Child.org are fundraising to deliver our next mother and baby programme in Kenya. Our pregnancy support groups will work with new mums in a remote rural environment, where Baby Boxes are less suitable as an intervention, but we will be providing new mums with a pack of baby essentials as an incentive to attend. This new programme will also link mums with health services that will make their babies safer. The Team Mum appeal is raising funds for this right now, and if you donate before 30 April your donation will be matched by the UK government. 

Having learned so much from the Baby Box Pilot, Child.org are currently reviewing the opportunities presented and how we can act next. For example, here are some aspects that our team are keen to explore further:

Postnatal care 
Considering the significant gaps we found in the provision of postnatal care while we were delivering this programme, we’re keen to keen to increase the scope of our potential impact on postnatal care rates in Kenya. 

Postnatal depression
We also want to capture more data on the mental health of new mothers. We conducted a small survey of women using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during the endline evaluation and found that 36% of mothers were found to have symptoms of depression. Mental Health is a much-hidden topic in Kenya and postnatal depression is not discussed with mothers at any time during pre and postnatal care. 

Safe sleeping
We want to address the deficit of data regarding safe sleeping for infants living in informal settlement environments in Nairobi and beyond, through academic study of safe sleeping studies in collaboration with universities in the UK and in Kenya. There is huge scope to find out more about whether sudden infant death syndrome (SIDs) really is leading to more baby deaths in Kenya, and assessing what interventions could save more lives. 

 

Fund our mum and baby programming

If you like what Child.org are doing to support mums and babies, please consider joining Team Mum Monthly. Your donation will help us reach mums and babies who need our help, and we'll keep you up to date with all the cool stuff you're helping us to do. 

PLUS if you join Team Mum Monthly before 30 April 2019, your first three months will be doubled by the UK government, with this funding going towards our new pregnancy support groups in rural Kenya.

Join Team Mum Monthly

Child.org's commitment to better communications


Posted on
08th Mar 2019
by Ellie Dawes


If you’ve heard about our Team Mum appeal, you've probably seen a photo or a video of at least one of these mums with their children.

I'm so proud to work with these families to give people in the UK a clear picture of what motherhood is like in rural Kenya. With so much discussion in the press last week about how charities choose to represent the people they work with in African countries, I wanted to share with you some of the ways we’re innovating in comms at Child.org through Team Mum and our commitment to do this well.

Beyond consent forms

Donata, Conzolata, Lilian, Mercy, Ruth, Winfred and Sarah are active members of Team Mum. Just like a Team Mum supporter in the UK, they’ve contributed their time to improve the lives of mums in local communities in rural Kenya. Like any responsible charity, Child.org always ensure that anyone featured in our marketing has given formal consent, and understands how their pictures and stories will be used. 

But we want to go further. That’s why I’ve been working with our Nairobi team, Charity Fast-Trackers and partners to explore ways to provide people with the photographs we take, and to thank them for their support. 

In recent years, we’ve been working with better access to technology and the internet and our Kenyan team have been delivering more of our programming work directly. This opens up more opportunities for Child.org to aim higher in terms of the relationship we have with the people whose stories we share.

Here’s what we’re aiming for…

1. Share our content with those featured in it

Where possible, if we collect a great image, we want to share that picture with the person featured in it! The Baby Box photos we took of babies last year were shared back with mums via WhatsApp. For those mums featured in our Team Mum appeal, we had copies of all the beautiful campaign photos printed and framed the best. When the team returned to Meru last week with our Ride Africa riders, they had the chance to deliver these to some of the mums in person. Family photographs are rare and expensive in these communities, so it was lovely to be able to provide these for the families.

In these photos, Faith (yellow jacket) and Cherio (in glasses) from the Child.org Nairobi team are with Margaret from our local partner organisation (in orange). They're presenting Winfred and Donata with their framed photographs. 

2. Value and thank the people who donate their stories

If someone in Kenya takes time to share their story with us and appear in photos, their contribution to our work is as valuable as that of someone in the UK who’s hosting a cake sale in their office. We want to value and thank these story-sharers for that contribution wherever we can. At The Shindig on 1 Feb, our UK supporters signed thank you cards for the women featured in our Team Mum campaign. Here's a picture of Rozie, one of our amazing Team Mum comms parners and volunteers, adding her thanks and message of thanks for the mums:

 

3. Dignity and positivity

When sharing a photo or video of someone we work with, Child.org staff ask ourselves: “Would I proudly share that photo publicly on Instagram if it was a photo of my friend’s child, or a member of my family?” If the answer is no, we don’t share it. That’s why you’ll only ever see photos and videos from us of people having a good day and bossing it. 

4. Three-dimensional stories

If we’re using a person’s photo, we want to tell you their name (unless we’re protecting their identity for safeguarding reasons) and give them a voice. We want you to know something about them that makes them unique. We want to tell you about the hard work they’re putting in to improve their own life and the lives of others in their community (it's ludicrous that Child.org team should get all the credit!) Check out the contributions made by headteacher Walter, health teacher Phylis and primary pupil Zulea - just a few of the hardworking people I met on a brief visit to our HealthStart schools in 2017.

5. Support our network to do better too

Child.org are looking at how we can offer more advice to those who visit our programmes, whether they go to work on a Charity Fast-Track placement or to learn about our work on a visit at the end of their Ride Africa cycle ride. If you’re visiting our projects, we’ll support you in presenting yourself and the people you meet on your social media in a way that is hopeful and empowering, not harmful.

We’re proud to receive regular feedback from supporters who say that they find our comms materials positive and empowering. But we can always do better. If you have feedback or comments about our communications I would love to hear from you - email me at ellie@child.org or give me a ring in the Child.org office on 07751768207.

 

If you like the way Child.org do things - then please support us. We are small and brave and we need your support to grow our impact. Join Team Mum monthly and help us build a stable future for Child.org by providing reliable funding for our work with mums and babies. 

Join Team Mum Monthly

If you don't feel like to can donate regularly, show your respect for the commitment of the epic mums you've read about in our comms - join Team Mum with a donation today. Just £10 can provide a new mum with a pack of baby essentials, encouraging her to join one of our new pregnancy support groups. 

Team Mum month one - my highlights


Posted on
01st Mar 2019
by Ellie Dawes


It's been the busiest month ever in our London office as Team Mum heats up. Here are my personal highlights so far...

Our Team Mum appeal launched on 1 Februrary at The Shindig, one month ago. So far we've raised £88,802 towards our target of £150,000. It's been a whirlwind, but I think these are my favourite moments from the campaign so far.

Our launch at The Shindig

Hundreds of you flocked to The Shindig, our annual celebration party, to launch Team Mum. For the first time ever, Cherio and James from our Kenyan team were able to join us in London for the party and it was so lovely to get the chance to hang out together. We even had a special guest from the Department of International Development - Lord Bates joined us to speak about the impact of UK Aid Match. We all enjoyed delicious food provided by our generous and brilliant friends at CH&Co.

Ride Africa riders met our Team Mum Storytellers in person

The biggest chunk of our fundraising so far has come from the heroic efforts of our Februray Ride Africa riders. After a spectacular and challenging ride to Meru, they visited some of the women Child.org is working with in this community. We had a special thank you to deliver on the visit - the team presented each of the young mums who appears in our Team Mum campaign with a printed and framed selection of the beautiful family photos we took of them. We also delived cards signed by Child.org supporters and friends, thanking them for allowing us to use their stories here in the UK to fundraise. It meant a lot to me to be able to thank these women for their help, having been creating content out of their real life experience for months

Team Mum Scotland join Ride Africa

 

A team of bold and brilliant Scottish women are joining the pack for our very special all-women Ride Africa in July, and TV presenter Cat Cubie organised a launch in Edinburgh to bring more on board. It was attended by dozens of influencial mums, including A Place in The Sun presenter Jean Johansson, who has also signed up to take on Ride Africa in July, as she reported last week in her Scottish Mail on Sunday column. Other riders include partners from the wonderful Cuckooz Nest, and our own Head of Creative, Naomi. This ride is going to be incredible.

 

Charity Fast-Trackers rally behind Team Mum

The Child.org team went to Utopy's Charity Fast-Track Bootcamp weekend, to support the Fast-Trackers who attended. These guys are all running their own challenges, recruiting and managing teams of volunteer fundraisers to support Team Mum. Many are taking on the Sukuma Wiki challenge - living on kale for a week or organising Walk Like A Mum walks. The passion and excitement from these future charity leaders was infectious and it's no surprise to see many of them already leading large and successful teams!

Team Dad

When dads support Team Mum, it makes my ovaries hurt. It was lovely to chat to dad blogger Stuart of Father-Hood.co.uk about his support of the campaign.

Motherhood is universal

Seeing our comms partners post and blog and promote the campaign has been an eye-opener. What's really resonated with me have been the answers to our "What do you wish you'd been told?" question on social media. There are so many similarities, and a few big breathtaking differences, between the experiences of the mums we spoke to in the UK and in Kenya. I look forwrad to sharing more of these over the next two months. 

 

 

Working side-by-side with some incredible volunteers

This campaign simply wouldn't be running without the support of an army of skilled volunteers, most of whom are Charity Fast-Trackers or alumni. From creating and scheduling a mountain of social media content, monitoring our reach to report to DfID, sending out resources,  and supporting comms partners, a massive thank you for all your hard work so far.

Clary & Peg baby bloomers

Our Kenyan Team worked with Clary & Peg to pick the fabrics for their special Team Mum products in Nairobi. Just look at these precious little baby bloomers! Gorgeous. (You can buy them here.)

Otis goes viral

When Rozie from Jungle Creations came on board and make a crafts video to promote Team Mum, we both agreed it would be great to have a real mum and baby in the video. My sister Daisy and nephew Otis were very happy to step in, though I think my whole family was taken by surprise when the amount of views hit 2.7 million. TO be fair, he does look very cute in Rozie's finger-knitted hat.

Support from my family and friends

I've been overwhelmed by the dedicated support of my family and friends for this campaign and want to thank them in this blog. They've been generous with their time, advice, money and support. They are performing at Vault festival, holding supper clubs, making their work colleagues hold Royal Baby Sweepstakes, holding coffee mornings, poetry evenings, contacting local press, coming to events, donating, hosting quizzes, cooking me dinner every night when I get home late and appearing in my content. Team Mum really has rallied all our personal networks here at the charity, and I want to thank everyone who has personally been supporting me and the rest of our little team.

What's next?

This week, our brilliant programme of shows at Vault Festival kicks off. We're holding a big concert in Covent Garden for Mothers' Day. We'll be asking everyone to buy a mum a pack of baby essentials as a Mother's Day gift. 

We have thousands still to raise, and we need your help. Please, donate here, find fundraising ideas here, order posters and t-shirts here. Come to our events. Tell us what we can do to help you to support Team Mum. If you donate or raise donations before 30 April, they will be matched by the UK government.

Two months to go. We can do this, guys. 

Meet Conzolata


Posted on
28th Feb 2019
by Ellie Dawes


Conzolata lives in a rural area that is hard to reach.

When her son, Victor was born she walked a long way over uneven roads to the hospital to give birth:

Before she gave birth, Conzolata was unaware that she could travel to attend clinics and find out if her baby was healthy or not. She says, “I wish I knew people go to clinics. I would have gone.” She would love to have a health visitor come and visit her to tell her about her own health and how to best look after Victor.  

Conzolata also told us, “When I got pregnant, I was scared of being judged by other people.” In Meru, the lack of status for pregnant women in the community means that young women can struggle to speak up and seek help during pregnancy when they feel something is wrong. 

If Team Mum can launch our pregnancy support groups, we will  reach young mums like Conzolata with the message that they are not on their own. We will provide access to health advice and support that will help mums to keep their babies safe.  Child.org are extremely grateful to Conzolata for taking the time to share her story with us, in order to benefit other new mums in her community.

Donate now to join Team Mum and launch pregnancy support groups in Donata’s community. Give before 30 April and your donation will be matched by the UK government.

Join Team Mum


Go further, join Team Mum Monthly

Give monthly to Team Mum and support more mums, empowering whole communities to make pregnancy, birth and early childhood safer.
If you sign up before 30 April, your  first three monthly donations will be doubled by the UK government.

Join Team Mum Monthly

Ten surprising facts about breastfeeding


Posted on
18th Feb 2019
by Ellie Dawes


Put “breastfeeding facts” into Google and you’ll find hundreds of lists from everyone from the NHS to Hello magazine.

In this 2016 TED talk, lactation researcher Katie Hinde talks about how breastfeeding has not been a research priority (more studies are done on coffee, wine or tomatoes than on human breast milk!) - but it feels like  we’re learning new facts about breastfeeding all the time. 

What concerns Child.org is that the information we do have about breastfeeding and breast milk is not being shared equally. To illustrate this, here are two different lists, compiled by our team...

Five completely amazing facts you might not know about breastfeeding

  1. When a woman breastfeeds, scientists now believe that her baby’s saliva is absorbed back into her breast, providing the mum’s body with information about the baby’s health. Her milk then adjusts accordingly - for example if baby has a cold, the amount of infection-busting cells in the mother’s milk increase.
  2. The makeup of your breast milk might be different depending on your baby’s sex. Working with rhesus monkeys, Hinde found that that mothers make more milk if their infant is female, but milk richer in fat for male offspring. (She saw similar sex differences when she investigated lactation records of more than a million cows!)
  3. Breast milk could help regulate your baby’s sleep. Sleep hormones in the milk (melatonin and tryptophan) vary at different points during the day. A 2016 study found that melatonin levels were, on average, nearly five times higher in milk produced at night.
  4. In 2007, scientists discovered that human breast milk contains stem cells. Stem cells are the building blocks of life and can turn into a broad variety of tissues. In a lab dish, scientists have manipulated stem cells extracted from human breast milk to grow into organ-like blobs with spherical endings, almost like nipples. These organoids could even produce milk.
  5. Delaying baths for newborns could increase rates of breastfeeding. A study in January 2019 found that babies who were bathed right after birth were less likely to exclusively breastfeed. 

Five completely vital breastfeeding facts that many mums in rural Kenya do not have access to

  1. It is not healthier to wean your baby as early as possible. Many mums believe they need to provide food for their baby as soon as possible to help them grow stronger. This isn’t true, babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, and to stop early can cause malnutrition.
  2. Breastfeeding babies do not need to drink water.  Many mums believe their baby should also drink water. But this can put babies at risk of diarrhoea and malnutrition. Water may not be clean and cause the baby to have infections. Giving a baby water may also cause them to drink less breastmilk or to stop breastfeeding early. If mothers give water instead of breastfeeding it can also affect their supply of milk.
  3. The best way to position your baby for ease of latching on and feeding. This is simple advice afforded to all mums in the UK, which Donata (see video below) in particular said she’d have liked to know about. 
  4. How to hand-express and store breast milk safely. If a mum has to return to work very quickly, it is vital for her to know how to hand-express milk, so her baby can be fed even if she is not around.
  5. What to do when breastfeeding is tough. It’s so common for a mum to experience problems breastfeeding. Her baby may have tongue-tie, like Sarah’s twins, or, like Donata, she might have mastitis. Without a pregnancy support group or other source of support, some of these mums have noone to turn to.

When we interviewed Donata in rural Kenya about her experience of motherhood she told us about breastfeeding. She had difficulties feeding her baby, but had no source of advice. Donata believes that new mums in her community should be provided with that advice:

 

The information that we, as humans, have about our health is not being shared around. By joining Team Mum, you can help us address this inequality. 

Imagine working out for yourself how to breastfeed, with noone to ask questions if complications arise. In Donata’s community, accessing the internet briefly can cost the same as your daily food budget. Health clinics are hours away by foot and community care is inconsistent and scarce at best.

Donate now to join Team Mum and launch pregnancy support groups in Donata’s community. Give before 30 April and your donation will be matched by the UK government.

Join Team Mum


Go further, join Team Mum Monthly

Give monthly to Team Mum and support more mums, empowering whole communities to make pregnancy, birth and early childhood safer.
If you sign up before 30 April, your  first three monthly donations will be doubled by the UK government.

Join Team Mum Monthly

This Galentines Day, meet Lilian


Posted on
11th Feb 2019
by Ellie Dawes


Happy Galentines Day!

It's become popular for people to shower their most vital friends in love and appreciation on 13 February, acknowledging that friendships are as important as romantic relationships, and not to be taken for granted. This activity has become known as Galentines Day, thanks to Parks and Recreation, but there's no reason men can't be involved too (Mumdood at Child.org celebrates it as Palentines Day...)

It's great to take stock, to remember the times when a group of our peers were there to offer love and support. Here at Child.org, we've been thinking about that a lot recently, as we work to raise donations for our Team Mum appeal and create our pregnancy support groups. 

The groups we're working to fund will arm mums with vital health information that will help them keep themselves and their babies safe through pregnancy and early infancy. But they will also be an important source of friendly peer-to-peer support. We've been asking mums, both in Kenya and in the UK, about what they wish they'd known when they first became pregnant. A common theme from all mums is that they need someone to ask for advice, someone to tell them that they are doing well!

Lilian was struggling for money and support when she became pregnant. In this video, she describes what happened when she went into labour - and why she wishes she'd had the chance to join a pregnancy support group:

If you donate to Join Team Mum before 30 April, your donation will be matched by the UK government. Together, we will launch pregnancy support groups in Lilian's community in Meru. Here are five great ways to support Team Mum this Galentines Day...

1. Plan an International Women's Day pub quiz

Order your pack and plan to get your friends together on or around International Women's Day (8th March). This quiz has been created specially for Team Mum by our friends at Wondering Womb. It's designed to be hilarious fun which celebrating the power of women. You could host it in your local pub, at work or in your living room! Find out how to host a quiz.

2. Share Lilian's story

We're sharing a whole host of content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter during the Team Mum campaign. Lilian has joined Team Mum and lent us her story and her voice so we can make a difference in her community. Please amplify that voice by sharing our posts this week.

3. Consider a real adventure

Riders are signing up now for our first ever all-women Ride Africa this July. Join TV presenter Cat Cubie, some awesome Team Mum partners, and the Child.org team on the ride of a lifetime through Kenya. You'll finish your ride in Meru, where you'll likely meet Lilian and talk to her first-hand about how pregnancy support groups will make a difference. Read more about ride in Jamie's blog here, or sign up at rideafrica.org

4. Get your colleagues to hold a Royal Baby Sweepstake in your office

Easy peasy office fundraising! Order your pack, stick some names in a hat and wait for Megan and Harry's baby to be royally named.

5. Plan a night out at one of our Team Mum events

If you're in London, check out our women-power themed programme of awesome events at Vault Festival, or bring your mum to our Mother's Day Concert (details soon to be announced!) Elsewhere in the country, look out for an International Women's Day quiz near you.

 

For more about our campaign, and to donate, please visit child.org/teammum. Thank you for all your help so far - we can do this!

Women riding for Women


Posted on
11th Feb 2019
by Jamie Chisholm


Ride Africa’s first all Women ride is now open! Ride across Kenya with us 6 - 13 July 2019

Imagine you are riding in a nature documentary with an inspiring group, with no MAMIL’s (middle aged men in lycra) to spoil the landscape, then experiencing first-hand the area and meeting the families that your pedalling and fundraising efforts have impacted. It’s no ordinary charity bike ride, it’s the ride of a lifetime!

Child.org have opened registration for our first ever All Women Ride Africa cycle adventure across Kenya’s stunning landscape. The ride will take place this July with riders fundraising in support of Child.org’s Team Mum appeal, which has the support of UK Aid Match. People involved in the ride so far include Scottish presenter Cat Cubie and  the co-founders of Cuckooz Nest, with support on the ride provided by David Kinjah, legendary coach for Chris Froome.

Our team have developed a great reputation for our Ride Africa challenges since the first ride in 2010. The all-women ride will cover 450 km over 6 days from Lake Naivasha to Meru in Central Kenya. There are places available for just 70 women to experience the best of Kenya. Our riders will pass through Hell’s Gate, across vast plains, through national parks, past lakes teeming with wildlife, see the majestic Thompson Falls and up to the base of Mount Kenya. The ride destination is Meru, a very fitting finish, as this rural community is where our project team will be using rider’s Team Mum  fundraising to create vital pregnancy support groups.

Marti, our Programming Manager at Child.org and previous Ride Africa rider said: “Ride Africa is a life-changing experience for our riders and for the women their fundraising will support. Imagine going through a difficult pregnancy and birth in a place where access to information is a struggle. Accessing the internet briefly can cost the same as your daily food budget. Health clinics are hours away by foot and community care is inconsistent and scarce at best. By empowering mums with information about how to keep their families safe and well, we will enable them to help their babies survive and thrive.”

With riders each covering the cost of their own trip, all fundraising from the ride goes directly to where it’s needed. Thanks to UK Aid Match, all donations made in support of the Team Mum appeal between 1st Feb–30th April will be matched by the UK government - so riders who fundraise during this period can support twice as many new mums in Meru. 

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Expectant mothers across the UK are supported throughout their pregnancy by the hard work and care of our fantastic NHS. Sadly, this is not the same for many women in Kenya who still do not have access to the care they need to make sure that their babies grow.

The Team Mum campaign, with the support of UK Aid Match, is bringing together parents and experts from across Britain to support communities and empower pregnant women in rural Kenya.

Every time the British public reach into their pockets and donate to a UK Aid Match charity, the Government matches their contributions pound for pound. This appeal is directly changing the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Our Ride Africa team is building, with some inspiring women riders already signed up. Fabienne O’Neill and Charlie Rosier are the co-founders of Cuckooz Nest, clever co-working space with crèche for working Mums. They said: “We at Cuckooz Nest are incredibly proud to be a part of Team Mum. As a team, we have always strived to better support mothers and this felt like a natural affiliation & something very close to our hearts. We are really excited (and slightly scared!) to be a part of the epic all-women Ride Africa cycle team.”

Other riders include Cat Cubie, Scottish TV presenter and journalist, who is recruiting a team in Scotland.

The legendary Kenyan cycling ambassador David Kinjah, who is famous for discovering and mentoring Chris Froome as a boy, is part of the elite support team who will be there to support the ride.

If you're interested in taking part in Ride Africa, or would like more information, please get int touch! You can call me on 07941 535837 or email jamie@child.org. Women cyclists can sign up to join the ride at rideafrica.org.

For all those men looking to join in, your chance to experience the next regular mixed event is 19th to 26th October.  Sign up is already open above.

Announcing Team Mum


Posted on
01st Feb 2019
by Ellie Dawes


Child.org are thrilled to announce the launch of Team Mum!

It’s by far the biggest fundraising appeal this organisation has ever attempted - and it is the first time first time we have run a UK Aid Match appeal - where the UK government will double all the donations we receive. 

Our Team Mum appeal will run from today (1 February) until 30 April 2019. Money raised by the appeal will catapult forward Child.org’s new work to make babies safer. Donations made before 30 April will be matched by the UK government. 

The match funding from the government will be spent right away, creating brand new pregnancy support groups in Meru, rural Kenya. Public donations will be spent on this project and on taking Child.org’s Team Mum work forward, designing, funding and delivering more solutions like this for mums in Kenya and Sierra Leone*. Watch this video to find out why we want to create pregnancy support groups in rural Kenya:

This is a golden opportunity for our supporters! If you donate to join Team Mum, you know that through your donation you are helping mums in Kenya immediately, but you’ll also have a stake in driving Team Mum forward over the next few years - providing vital long-term support for Child.org’s new work with mums and babies.

Donate now to join Team Mum

If you’d like to support Child.org’s mother and baby programming even further into the future, please consider joining Team Mum Monthly. By making a monthly contribution towards our work with mums and babies, you’ll be empowering whole communities to make pregnancy, birth and early childhood safer. If you sign up before 30 April, your first three monthly contributions will be matched by the UK government.

Join Team Mum Monthly

Child.org need to raise £150,000 to launch our pregnancy support groups. We’ll be sharing lots of beautiful stories about your impact in Meru over the coming months, and exciting ways for you to be involved. Your support in sharing, commenting on, and liking our content is always appreciated!

Team Mum will involve 120 parenting comms partners, a special all-women edition of Ride Africa, our own stage at Vault Festival, choirs, Supper Clubs and Royal Baby Sweepstakes! We can’t wait to get started, watch this space...

 

*If you are raising money as a Soroptimist, your donations will go towards Meru Women’s Garden Project as usual, and the extra match funding will fund our pregnancy support groups - also in Meru!

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