What we've learned from our Baby Box baseline survey

Posted on
07th Aug 2018
by Martina Gant

This is my first month back in the Nairobi office since having my baby in January. My first day started with a meeting with Mike from Nairobi County Council, who came to talk the team through the baseline data from the baby box pilot.

The baseline is an in-depth survey we conducted right at the start of a programme - to find out more about what the situation is like for families before we provide them with a box. The data will help us see the impact of the pilot more clearly, and it also helps us identify other opportunities - other problems we can solve to keep babies safer.

It was an enlightening day and incredibly helpful for me to catch up with what we’ve learned by speaking to women directly. I wanted to share some of our findings because there is some surprising and frankly quite shocking content that will inform our activities from here. 

What the team did

This is the summary of the baseline collection activity in numbers:

  • 200 mothers interviewed
  • 4 research assistants
  • 5 different areas in Westlands, Nairobi
  • 8 days
  • 8 ministry of health staff trained by the Child.org team
  • 1 digital platform used to collect and summarise the data

What we learned 

We asked the women a lot of questions so we learned a great deal, but the most interesting findings were around safe sleeping practices and access to health information. 

Safe Sleeping

The boxes are designed as an incentive for women to access postnatal care from their local health facilities.

What the pilot is also helping us to achieve is a better understanding of safe sleeping practices. UK readers might recognise safe sleeping campaigns, designed to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), sometimes referred to as "cot death". We know that education around safe sleeping in the UK reduced SIDS by half between 1989 and 1992 during the ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign but in Kenya there’s very little information on SIDS or how much of a problem unsafe sleeping practices are for small babies.

From our pilot, we’ve learned that there is a significant gap in knowledge about how to keep your baby safe while they sleep. 

92% of women told us that they bedshare with their babies. Only 51% of the women interviewed had received any information about how to safely co-sleep. We wanted to check whether women could correctly answer some questions about safe sleeping and shockingly only 7% told us that the safest way to put a baby to sleep is on its back. 

21% of mothers put their baby to sleep in a bed with a parent (them or their partner) who had been drinking, meaning a significant number of babies face an increased risk when they go to sleep at night.

Health Information 

43% of women told us that it’s not easy to find out info on their family’s health. We saw strong correlations with location here: unsurprisingly where there were health centres that provided decent services, the rate was much higher. Using a digital platform with geo-location analysis will help us to identify where the most significant gaps and where Child.org can focus on supporting mothers. 

Less than 1% said they access health information from Community Health Volunteers (CHVs). This is hugely significant - CHVs are Ministry of Health positions that community members volunteer in. They are supposed to be trained and supplied with information, in order to help bridge the gap between the community and health facilities. They are vital for encouraging women to access the healthcare they need, and are entitled to, during pregnancy and beyond. 

In a similar vein, almost 30% of the new mothers we spoke to hadn’t received the Antenatal Care Booklet they’re supposed to get on their first visit to hospital. This is the equivalent of the UK's maternity notes and red book for babies, combined into one accessible booklet by the Kenyan government. It’s a great resource, full of content to assist mothers in understanding what danger signs to look out for in pregnancy, breastfeeding and their child’s growth and development. 

According to Mike, there is a problem with the distribution of these booklets from the ministry to the health centres, causing long delays with restocking when a facility runs out. This is a huge waste of a great resource and the gap can be plugged very simply by ensuring that Community Health Volunteers have a constant stock, so that every woman we work with has access to the booklet.

Other notable gaps in health education are that only 5% of women said they have access to information on water and sanitation. Our researchers witnessed people washing clothes next to open sewers so some simple health information could have a significant impact on the spread of disease in these regions. Also, under 1% of women had received information on nutrition and 27% hadn’t received any advice or education on family planning. 

How it’s going to impact what we do

As we’ve said, the key driver of the Baby Box pilot is to assess the impact of the box as an incentive to improving access to postnatal care. We’re learning about this over the course of the pilot but we’re also learning about what other gaps and problems there are that we’re already beginning to help solve, or how we might tweak our activities to plug gaps we’ve discovered. 

For example, Child.org are already providing safe sleeping information on the boxes themselves but we’re talking with the ministry of health about how we can arm Community Health Volunteers with more health information to disseminate to the women they meet.

Collecting valuable data is a key part of our work and the Baby Box baseline is a prime example of how knowing our audience can shape and improve our work. Funding such studies ensures that we’re developing the best possible solutions to real problems.

I’m so excited to be back in the office and working on this project again. In an environment where the international recommendation of putting a baby to bed in a crib next to mum isn’t feasible, because access to a crib is unobtainable, a baby box offers a mum a safe alternative to bedsharing. Perhaps most important though, is the information provided alongside the box - the knowledge of how to keep mum and baby safe and well.


You can read more about our Baby Box programme here. If you like the way Child.org do things, please consider supporting us with a donation, so we can reach more mums and babies. We'll use your donation to do what works. Thank you!

In too many countries, birth is still unacceptably dangerous.

In Kenya, one in 26 babies will not live to see their first birthday. 

In Sierra Leone, one in 17 women will die in childbirth. 

This problem is keeping families in poverty and driving inequality. Child.org want to build a world where families are able to build stable futures for their children and lift their communities out of poverty. This isn't possible for families who can't be confident that their children will survive. 

Our friends at mamaME have been helping Child.org in our mission to make birth days safer. Read on to discover why that's important - and what we've been up to!

The power of mum

mamaME and Child.org both understand that if you want to help babies and children - a great place to start is by supporting their mum. Child.org have read so much research evidence that tells us that working with mothers is the key to preventing more infant deaths in low-income countries.

So together, we’re working to arm more new mums with the expert health information and community support they need to make their pregnancies and early months of motherhood less dangerous. 

Questions to answer

Investigating now

Could we use the globally popular Baby Box as an incentive for new mums in Nairobi to attend postnatal care sessions? With the funding you've raised, we're trying to find out.

Read about our Baby Box Programme.

Coming soon

In rural Kenya, we want to make sure every mum, however isolated, has access to friendly support and expert health information. We want to launch pregnancy support groups that will empower these mums - and save lives. We just need to raise the funds.

Read about Team Mum.

What they said

Meet Grace

One of the ways Child.org believe we can save lives will be to encourage more young mums to attend their antenatal and postnatal appointments. At one of our programme development workshops, Anne-Liese met Grace, whose story highlights just how important that is.

"Grace is 18 and pregnant for the second time, with her baby due any day now. She told me about how her first pregnancy ended in tragedy at 7 months. 

"Grace was at home when her waters broke early. Although she had not attended any antenatal appointments, she knew she needed to get to the hospital, so she and her parner got in a Matatu (a public and crowded minibus) and headed to Kenyatta National hospital in Nairobi. When they arrived, Grace was immediately admitted and the hospital team performed an emergency c-section..."

Read Grace's full story


Get involved!

Supporting mums and babies, with every mamaME order

Every beautiful mamaME subscription box you order includes a donation to fund Child.org's work and make birth days safer.

Browse the mamaME website

Join Team Mum

If you have a way to reach parents with our message, please be like mamaME and join Team Mum. You'll share our appeal in Feb-April 2019 and fund pregnancy support groups in rural Kenya.

Join Team Mum

Ask Amanjit

Got ideas? If you would like to help us to make birth days safer, we would love to hear from you.

07751 768207

Our first Baby Box collection

Posted on
13th Jul 2018
by Ellie Dawes

This week our very first mums returned to Nairobi health centres to attend a postnatal care session and collect their box.

In the lead photo above, Child.org Programming Intern Faith hands a box to new parents Annastacia and Ernest for their baby Samuel. Below, Child.org Programming Officer Cherio hands a box to new parents Leonard and Sylvia for baby Truth. 

Members of staff at the health centre go through the safe sleeping information printed on the top of each box for all new parents. 

Babies Diyan and Samuel couldn't wait to try out their new beds! As you can see, it's chilly in Kenya at the moment with parents keeping their baby well wrapped up! Each box comes with a snuggly blue baby blanket, as well as a mosquito net.

Child.org will distribute 500 of these boxes, and follow up with 200 of the families with an in-depth interview at their home within the first three months of the baby's life.

These interviews will tell us how useful the families are finding the box, and how their experience, including access of postnatal care, differs from that of the new parents we spoke to before the programme began.

We don't have those findings yet, but we are already collecting obvervations from the box and voucher distributions to highlight areas that we can improve and develop the programme in future. To give you an example, here are some of the observations that Cherio, Doreen and Faith recorded after their visit to the health centres this week, taken from their notes:

  • The working mothers, especially those that are casual labourers, tend to come for the antenatal care sessions late, at 7-9 months
  • Women do not know their due date and their scans are often unclear hence making it difficult to know if they are expecting twins
  • A large number of the mothers are unsure of their due dates 
  • There is very minimal male involvement as we will rarely see the women’s partners accompany them to the clinics
  • Teenage girls also come for antenatal sessions late (in their third trimester). A majority of teenage girls seem to be on the move as they seem uncomfortable stating where they live 
  • Many mothers are unable to read or write, so the Child.org team have to go through the programme and the forms with them very carefully
  • Hardly any mothers know what postnatal care is
  • In one health centre, the blood pressure machine is often running low on batteries so mothers are being asked to contribute money to buy new batteries
  • Some women are curious to know the price of the box and upon informing them that it's free they ask why it's free

We look forward to sharing detailed findings with you later in the programme! 


If you like how Child.org do things, please do consider giving a regular donation. Having regular, dependable income from the supporters who believe in us most provides the stability we need to be ambitious and plan effectively.

Changing rooms

Posted on
13th Jul 2018
by Ellie Dawes

A new London Office with room to grow...

The London team are excited to be moving to a new home in Old Street! From August 3rd, 2018 our new address will be:

209-211 City Road

To celebrate, we'd love you to join us for Child.org Friday drinks on 3rd August from 5pm at The Eagle pub on Shepherdess Walk, right round the corner from our new home! Everyone is welcome for an informal meet up and a chat about our current work and plans.

As well as having more room for our growing team, Child.org are particularly excited that our new office sees us sharing space and working right alongside other charities! We'll also be more central and closer to public transport links, which will save our team valuable time in travelling to meetings and make it easier for people to come and see us.

Please do update any records you have for us, and bear with the team during the transition period while we update our address everywhere and get settled in. (Our phone number will stay the same, a big benefit of using an office mobile instead of a landline.)

Look out for more updates about our new space... because we've got some VERY exciting plans in the pipeline. No spoilers.


(We don't have a pic of our new office yet, but this post looked a bit dull without a photo. So I've used one of Anjali moving everything into our new office two years ago. She'll be thrilled.)


Subscribe to Child.org RSS