Our Work

Maternal and newborn mortality are the starkest indicators of the difference between developed and developing countries. A staggering 98% of maternal and newborn deaths occur in the developing world.

Three million newborn babies, and between 250,000 and 343,000 women, die each year in pregnancy and childbirth or soon afterwards. The majority of these deaths are in Africa and South Asia, and this is where Women and Children First focuses its work.

Behind these statistics are many social, cultural, political and economic factors but most of these deaths can be prevented if women have access to essential maternity and basic health-care services.

Equitable access to health care is the ultimate aim of every country, however in remote areas of Africa and South Asia, thousands of women and babies will die before this is achieved. Building health system infrastructures and staffing health centres in rural areas is particularly difficult. Remote communities will never be able to access much needed routine healthcare without the introduction of community based interventions.

Women and Children First and its partners currently focus upon mobilising communities in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda to reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates through the introduction of cost-effective, sustainable community based interventions. Previous programmes were delivered in India and Nepal.

The World Health Organisation has issued an official recommendation about the participatory women’s groups approach Woman and Children First promotes, particularly in rural settings where there is little access to health services.

WHO has recognised that participatory women's groups can reduce maternal deaths by up to 49% and neonatal deaths by over a third, providing at least 30% of pregnant women in a community is able to access a women’s group.

Saving Mothers and Babies in Bangladesh  Saving Mothers and Babies in Ethiopia  Saving Mothers and Babies in Malawi  Saving Mothers and Babies in Uganda 

Every year, over three million newborn babies and around a quarter of a million women die during pregnancy, childbirth or the first month of life.

In some parts of the world, one woman in every eight is affected. For every woman who dies, at least 20 more suffer health complications, leaving them with lifelong disability and pain.

Women and Children First is an international development organisation established in 2001 to reduce these unacceptably high, and largely avoidable, mortality rates.

We work primarily through women’s groups in rural communities in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia to improve maternal, newborn and child health. We empower women to find their own solutions to their most important health problems and, through the women's groups, reach the wider community. We also work with our partners to improve the quality of care in health facilities.

Women and Children First has an excellent track record of working with its partners to deliver projects that have a proven impact on maternal, newborn and child health. Funding for this work has come from a range of sources including the UK Department for International Development, the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief, the UN Population Fund, charitable trusts, corporate supporters and individual donors.

How We Work

We are a niche organisation offering technical expertise, support and consultancy to our partners. Our approach is to use evidence-based methods to empower women to advocate for their right to health, building women’s capacity to take control of their and their children’s health. We adopt complementary approaches and support communities to demand quality health services provided by the government, the private sector and NGOs at local and national level.

We advocate for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health to stay at the top of the local, national and international agenda.

How You Can Make a Difference

We need your help to raise both awareness and funds to enable us to continue our vital work. There are a lot of ways you can make a difference:

Like us on Facebook, Tweet about our work or share our Youtube videos – this can help us raise awareness – all you need to do is click on the links at the bottom of this page!

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our work – we’ll also send you ideas on fundraising and other ways to get involved – just enter your details in the box at the bottom of this page.

Fundraise for us – you can run your own event, ask friends and family to donate in lieue of birthday presents, run a marathon or mention us in your will.

Make a donation - as little as £5 can make a difference. Last year we spent just 7% of our income on fundraising and publiciity.

  • £5 will pay for a woman to attend a women’s group for a year
  • £28 can pay for a community health worker's kit (thermometer and weighing scales)
  • £50 can pay for a women's group facilitator for a year
  • £150 will buy a bicycle ambulance so women from 10 villages in Malawi can get to a health centre in an emergency
  • £250 will train a community health worker to look after mothers and babies in rural Malawi