Mothers Educating Mothers

Mothers educating mothers

Kisii, Kenya

Bwakire! My name is Shriti Pant (Nche Igonkorokwa Shriti Moraa!). I am currently completing my practicum with Curamericas Global, Inc. As an intern, I am working with the Kisii Konya Oroiboro Project (KIKOP) in Kisii, Kenya. KIKOP is a project which aims to reduce the rates of maternal and child mortality and address the most critical needs of the communities they serve. This is done through a peer-to-peer education system where mothers are provided with lessons that they pass on to other women and children in their community.

KIKOP project goals handwritten on the wall of the Matongo Birthing Center

I will be here for 6 weeks working on monitoring maternal and child health data and conducting a process evaluation on KIKOP’s maternal care groups in three catchments in Kisii County: Matongo, Iranda and Nyagoto. In addition, I will be creating curriculum on menstrual health, sexual and gender-based violence and post-partum mental health that can be used by the health promotors and community health volunteers to enhance the wellbeing of the neighborhood women and mothers in Kisii.

Today marks one week since I arrived in Kenya and apart from eating delicious food, I have had the chance to meet a lot of incredible people in the community who are working toward improving the quality of life of all people living in Kisii. During my time here, I have traveled with my program manager to the health and birthing centers in the Matongo, Nyagoto, and Iranda catchments. Each subcounty in Kisii county consists of multiple catchments and each catchment has 22-39 villages. Approximately 2,000 mothers are directly supported by this project!

Matongo Health Center

I had the opportunity to meet with community health volunteers, health promoters, public health officers, and many mothers and their babies. I was given a tour of the facilities, specifically the maternal care units, which consist of the delivery rooms, the antenatal care wards, and the post-natal care wards.

Example of what the birthing facilities look like on the inside.

The directors and nurses of each facility sat down with us to discuss the challenges and barriers that mothers have faced in each catchment and the invaluable work KIKOP has done in their communities since its inception in 2018. I feel a lot of pride and privilege to get to work with such a passionate and hard-working team for a short amount of time.

The maternal care wing of Irando Health Center.

With everything I have learned so far, I am excited to aid KIKOP in analyzing maternal and child health data and collaborate with them to further improve this program and ensure its continued success in the future.

On our way to meet with the community health volunteers outside of the Nyagoto birthing facility.

Learning from public health officers and community health volunteers working day and night to prevent death, disease, and stigma here in Kenya has taught me so much about intersectionality of healthcare, culture, and community resilience.

I am looking forward to the rest of my time here!