If we can reach £6000 by the end of January, we'll be able to launch a pilot programme and hand out baby boxes to around 500 new mums. Each box provides a safe crib for a baby to sleep in, with a mosquito net to protect them from malaria.
The box contains some useful items for any new mum - including nappies!
The baby box acts as a powerful incentive for mums living in poverty to seek professional health support. The boxes are given to mums on the condition that they attend all their antenatal appointments, and give birth at a local health centre. This ensures every baby has the best possible chance at a healthy start in life.
Every penny you donate will be matched by our friend Dr Mike Marks and the The Bush Hospital Foundation. So a £14 donation from you will actually be worth £28 to the babies of Nairobi!
Bringing baby boxes to Nairobi: Meet Grace
Posted on 07th Dec 2017
Child.org's new baby box programme will encourage more young mums to attend their antenatal appointments. At one of our programme development workshops last week, we met Grace, whose story highlights just how important that is.
(Please note that Grace's story has a content warning for traumatic pregnancy and infant mortality.)
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.
Grace remembers feeling bewildered, she says nobody really told her what was going on. When her baby was delivered, he was taken away immediately and placed in an incubator. The baby boy, who she named George Kiman, died three days later. Grace never got to hold George, she told us that his head had grown but his body had not. Grace and her partner didn’t have any money for a funeral so the hospital buried George themselves, Grace doesn't know exactly where.
After she was discharged, Grace went to her mother’s house to recover - but after a week she fell ill and had to return to hospital. She had developed deep vein thrombosis in her leg, which had become infectious. It was two months before Grace was able to leave hospital and return home.
Grace told me that she never went for her antenatal checks when she was pregnant with George, so nobody could know that her baby wasn’t growing normally. Now she's pregnant again, she has been to all her appointments and is very happy and excited to be expecting a healthy baby! She was happy for her story to be shared, to help Child.org find ways to ensure more women attend their antenatal appointments.
This is important. Child.org's new baby box programme will encourage young new mums like Grace to attend their appointments and get the support they need. Please donate to our appeal, and help us bring baby boxes to Nairobi.
This programme is all about collecting evidence.
Does having a box to sleep in help to improve infant safety in the home for families living in urban settlements in Nairobi? Does the incentive of a beautiful baby box mean that more women attend antenatal appointments and opt to give birth in a health clinic? These are the questions that this pilot will answer.
Where we work
The perfect place to test the efficacy of baby boxes is in certain areas of Nairobi, Kenya.
Here, there is a high proportion of adolescent mothers who are severely affected by poverty and living in urban informal settlements ("slums"). Infant morbidity rates are high, so it's an area that needs more protection for the health of newborns and their mums.
If you help us to fund this pilot and the baby boxes are effective, there is potential to scale up the programme in Kenya, and beyond! Already our team are in discussions about running a similar pilot in Sierra Leone and potentially Malawi.
The Child.org team in Nairobi will run workshops to determine whether the boxes will be useful to new mums, how they will use them, what contents will be most useful - and what Kenyan mums think of our designs!
The images of the boxes on this page are illustrative only. We'll base the box prototype, contents and programme design on the feedback from these sessions and the extensive research that our team in Kenya have been carrying out over the past few months.
The next step will be to run the pilot, handing out boxes to new mums in two different areas of Nairobi. Child.org will conduct detailed research into the use of the boxes, and the impact this has on the families that receive them. This is where you come in - we need to raise £6000 to pay for the boxes and the surrounding research.
Once we have collected the evidence from the pilot, funded by you, we will be in a position to source further funding and scale the programme far more widely. So when you donate £14 to pay for one baby box, you're really funding so much more than that. You're founding a programme that could help thousands of babies, in Kenya and beyond.