Shanti loves doulas! We were founded by a doula, we work with doulas, and we spend one week every year collaborating with doulas during our training retreats. The work they do—the emotional and physical support they provide before, during and after birth—fits perfectly within Shanti’s holistic model of care, and their positive impact on empowering women through the birthing process is undeniable. That is why we dedicate this August to celebrating #10YearsofDoulas.
After a successful year of impact, our Propelling Motherhood Project has come to an end. We cannot thank our amazing Village Health Team members, boda drivers and support staff enough for their hard work and dedication to this project. We surpassed our original goal to serve 480 women—in the end reaching 496—making a total of 1,924 postnatal home visits to new moms.
This Father’s Day, we want to share with you more about one of our favorite Shanti dads. Fred is the Field Coordinator and driver at Shanti Uganda, and more importantly, he is a fantastic story teller. His perspective, born of many career changes and embedded in recent Ugandan history, offers insight into some of the strengths and challenges of being a father, how to build strong relationships, and what it means to be proud of your family.
At Shanti, we believe that #MomsMatter and have mothers at the foundation of our organization – that is why we so look forward to celebrating Mother’s Day each year with our community.
This year, as we celebrate #10YearsofImpact, we’ve decided to follow up on moms who have given birth at the Shanti Uganda Birth House, both recently and not-so-recently, to see how both mama and babe are doing. We hope you will enjoy this special series of stories in celebration of Mother’s Day 2018.
We hosted our first Doula Training in September of 2012 and since then have welcomed 10 inspiring training groups to Uganda. We believe deeply that a cross-cultural exchange of knowledge is life-changing for everyone involved. Our training retreats are also one of Shanti’s most sustainable sources of funding – raising over $84,000 to provide life saving care to women and their families.
Sustainability and community are core values of ours at Shanti, and we are especially excited to be celebrating them during the month of April and Earth Day (Sunday, April 22nd). The fact that 2018 has us celebrating a milestone anniversary of #10YearsofImpact and #10YearsofSustainability makes this all the more special for us. It has been exciting to watch our community garden and nutrition program grow as we continuously work to develop our three primary areas of sustainability at Shanti: communal gardening, sustainable agricultural practices and workshops, and our solar powered birth house. Through these programs, we aim to provide nutrient-rich food for mothers, children, teens, and the wider community, as well as to provide nutrition and farming based educational programs in order to empower individuals and families to grow and cook healthy food, learn, and thrive.
To celebrate sustainability this month, we decided to search through our photo archive and select some of our favourite photos representing sustainability at the Shanti Birth House in Uganda. We hope you enjoy!
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.
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.
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!
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.