Generating Demand for Health: Empowering Women

If the goal is to improve maternal health, who are some of the best people with whom to work? Women, of course!


Understanding and working with those we want to serve is the defining feature of participatory development. SAFE works WITH women, specifically by partnering with--and sometimes helping to form--rural women's groups.


Women's groups are powerful. They provide a place where women can speak openly and honestly about the challenges they face during pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood, and more generally as women living in a patriarchal and agrarian society. They can identify common problems, and devise innovative and sustainable approaches to addressing them as a collective group.


SAFE trains each group on maternal and child health topics 1 - 2 times per year, then helps the groups use that education to develop evidence-based dramas, songs, and performances that target health behavior improvement. We also developed an innovative home-to-home visit curriculum that the groups often use to educate women and their families (specifically including their spouses) about good maternal and child health behaviors. Each group determines its own projects and topical focuses based on their perceptions of the problems in the community, but SAFE works with each of them to address all types of Three Delay problems: a sustainable, scalable, community-based approach to targeting the Three Delays in a participatory way!

The Need

45% of women in the East Central Region report that their spouses or in-laws are the only ones allowed to make health decisions.