A Heartfelt Welcome to María Wong

2018 is indeed a year of change and growth for Shanti Uganda – as we celebrate #10YearsofImpact we are experiencing a change of leadership, with our Founder Natalie stepping out of the Executive Director role and onto the Board of Directors to support our mission and vision from there. While all of our staff will dearly miss working with Natalie day-to-day, we are extremely excited to welcome María Wong as our new Executive Director.


A message from our Founder, Natalie Angell-Besseling

Natalie and her husband Nic during the construction of the Birth House in 2009

Dear Friends,

In January 2018, Shanti Uganda celebrated our 10 Year Anniversary! Every day, we work to improve maternal and infant health throughout Uganda and to date, we have raised $1,500,000 towards maternal and infant health, supported over 1300 births and impacted 46,000 lives.

In the last year, we saw a 123% increase in revenue, substantial program growth and launched our Grand Challenges Canada funded Propelling Motherhood project which is seeing great results. Our leadership team in Vancouver and Canada is stronger than ever and we have begun our multi-year strategy to develop our Ugandan leadership capacity.

Celebrating #10YearsofImpact

2018 is a special year for us here at Shanti – 10 years ago this year, we began our journey to serve women and families in Uganda. This anniversary has given us an opportunity to reflect on our growth, impact, and all that we have learned over the years. So much of what we have accomplished is because of the support we have received, and as a way of thanking you, we are delighted to start off our year-long celebration of #10YearsofImpact by sharing some of our impact and reflections with you!



Shanti Uganda Launches Postpartum Outreach Project

20 VHTs and 10 Boda drivers as part of the Propelling Motherhood Project

Studies have shown that the first week after birth is the most dangerous for mother and baby and in Uganda, less than 50% of new mothers have access to postpartum care services. In general barriers to care include:

  • Negative perceptions on seeking care outside of the home and the extended family
  • Limited or lack of access to care facilities
  • Lack of awareness or education on postpartum care, hygiene and danger signs  

To fight maternal and infant mortality in this critical period, Shanti Uganda has launched a new project funded by Grand Challenges Canada called Propelling Motherhood. Propelling Motherhood aims to visit at least 480 postpartum women and babies and provide 1,920 home visits all to create a proven model that can be replicated in other districts of Uganda and around the world.

Teen Girls Workshop: Joan’s Story


The world has marked October 11th as the International Day of the Girl. In spirit of this day we conducted a three day workshop on October 18-20, attended by 33 girls aged 12-18 from Everest College – a school nearby Shanti Uganda.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Uganda

Uganda is known to many as ‘The Pearl of Africa’ for it’s magnificence, variety of form and colour, and profusion of brilliant life. Winston Churchill’s words in 1908 still ring true today, and we here at Shanti are privileged to experience Uganda at its best every day. To give you idea of what you can expect visiting Uganda on a Shanti retreat, we list the top 5 reasons to visit Uganda.

How one Gardener Hopes to Influence a Community

By Rachel Simmet, Communications and Social Media Coordinator

Kato is a common name in the Buganda kingdom, as it is a name you must give to a youngest twin if they are a male. “There were eight Katos in my primary class.” Kato remarks, along with several that live in Nsasi village, where our gardener grew up and where the Birth House is located today. “So what do they call you?” I ask. “They call me Shanti Kato,” he says with a laugh.

Let’s Celebrate! From WIGG Members to Business Owners

Graduation ceremonies are always exciting, but Shanti Uganda celebrated a very special one this July. The Women’s Income Generating Group (WIGG) completed their business formation training program and GRADUATED to move on to the next phase of their individual business plans!

Sister Josephine Joins the Shanti Family

By Rachel Simmet, Communication & Social Media Coordinator

We are excited to announce the latest member of our team and new Head Midwife, Sister Kizito Josephine. Sister Josephine brings both experience and passion, as she has been a midwife since 1980. She was originally inspired by the nurses she met who conducted outreaches at her secondary school and she went on to study at Nsambyu Nursing and Midwifery School. It was during her studies that she learned about postpartum hemorrhaging and realized that is how her own mother passed away while giving birth to her younger sibling. “I didn’t know about it [how she died] until I went for my studies.” This lack of knowledge about health complications and common health-related issues is something that Sister Josephine hopes to change. She sees better education as instrumental in reducing the maternal and child mortality rate, which is estimated at an average of 16 deaths per day in Uganda. “We still have a long way to go to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate… We appreciate NGOs like Shanti because they are reducing the rate.”

Midwifery Care beyond Language Barriers

By Rachel Simmet, Communications & Social Media Coordinator

Midwife Kerry Dixon recently had the opportunity to volunteer at our birth house in Ugandan and cherished her time there. Kerry has been a midwife for over 20 years and has many qualifications including being a Certified Professional Midwife and Certified Nurse-Midwife. She also has the unique experience of practicing in 4 continents over the course of her career including in the US, Pakistan, China, New Zealand, Rwanda, and now most recently, Uganda.