SAFE Internship and Practicum Opportunities!


Are you passionate about global maternal and child health? Do you want to learn how to make real-world impact on the ground by actually doing it? Are there any skills you want to hone related to research, programming, or international development? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then apply to join the SAFE team in Uganda this year!

SAFE has been taking students, recent graduates, and professionals to Uganda to partner with rural communities to improve maternal and child health for almost 10 years. We have opportunities both in research and in programming, and are looking for the right candidates to fill each position as a vital component of our dedicated team. Projects descriptions are below:

Survivor Stories: Student will utilize story-telling to influence birth preparedness and care-seeking behaviors. SAFE emphasizes compelling storytelling and listening to the community’s perspective. The story-telling can take a variety of forms—audial, visual, mixed—all aimed at positive behavior change for improved community health. Project will be conducted in partnership with past SAFE program beneficiaries. Background in storytelling and qualitative interviewing is helpful.

Surgical Capacity Assessment: SAFE seeks to better understand local surgical capacity. Student will conduct a literature review and design/implement a mixed methods evaluation to assess access and quality of surgical care, with emphasis on the Bellwether procedures. Background in mixed methods research is required.

SAFE Facility Support: SAFE seeks a clinical health student (medical, nursing, or physicians assistant) student or recent graduate to facilitate a mixed methods assessment of the health facility we run. Activities will include a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the facility’s inventory and case load, forecasting of case load by type of cases by month and by year, observational assessments and in-depth interviews, that should inform a discussion about new ways to link the community to the facility and increase intervention utilization.

Community Partners: Student will partner with an assigned community group to develop new community outreaches and implement them at a community health fair. Community groups utilize music, dramas, and songs to educate the community about topics such as the Three Delays, the importance of seeking antenatal care, nutrition, family planning, birth preparedness, and the need for male involvement during the pregnancy timeline. Ideal student for this position has a background in health education, theater, or another related topic.

The RESCU-ME (Rural Emergency Surgical Care for Under-5 and Maternal Emergencies) Project: Student will work with SAFE staff to expand a comprehensive emergency referral network for surgical care need during and after birth. Emphasis of this project will be placed on partnership and systems building, costing, advertising, and piloting an expanded model of a current system. Background in health systems or emergency medical services helpful; will gladly accept a multi-disciplinary team of students working together.

Tweena (“Even Us”): A Labor Support Program: An interdisciplinary team, comprised of a trained doula, L/D nurse, or midwife and a businessperson will work with our community group of traditional birth attendants to design and pilot a doula-like birth support program. The goal of this program is to repurpose TBAs to escort women to a health facility for delivery and help them provide socio-emotional support, while also helping them build it into a viable business.

Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Ambassadors: Student will leverage local leadership by empowering people to become MCH ambassadors. Student will set in place methods for MCH ambassadors to keep records of demographic information, update data quarterly to reflect accurate information, and act as local advocates of maternal and child health, leading by example through practicing positive health-promoting behaviors such as nutritional demonstration gardens. The project aims to turn local leadership into ambassadors who can educate the community on relevant health topics and be a source of mentorship and consultation for mothers and families. Ideal student for the project will possess knowledge of behavior change theory.

Olugendo (“The Journey”) Critical Referral Mapping: Student will restructure and streamline the referral system to enable pregnant mothers to receive the necessary care, particularly in emergency situations. Mapping of routes, available resources at each facility, and available health providers using satellite images and handheld GPS unit in the field to produce an interactive map will improve a mother’s ability to receive timely and adequate services in times of life or death. Helpful background includes exposure to or interest in GIS and knowledge of health systems strengthening.

Hidden Stories of Teenage Mothers: Teenage mothers are a marginalized group that experiences negative stigma, which can lead to the failure to receive sufficient health services and decreased health outcomes. Student will develop programs to specifically support teenage mothers with the goal of removing stigma and empowering teenage mothers to find a new start for their lives. The project will support teenage mothers to seek antenatal care, deliver in health facilities, and find their next steps post-pregnancy. Student must possess compassion and sensitivity; knowledge of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and education helpful.

Makuutu Community Group Expansion: As SAFE is expanding into a new sub-county this year, student will support the expansion process and the formation of SAFE community groups. The project will synthesize lessons learnt from existing community groups and set the foundation for new groups. Student will be improve their recruitment process, structure, and operation with the hopes of creating sustainable community groups that have the skills and passion to solve their communities’ health issues. Knowledge of health education and behavior change helpful.

The SAFE Ssebo (Man): Student will work to understand the male perspective on general, reproductive, maternal and child health decisions and services, and then help men organize into groups to lobby for health improvements in their communities, with emphasis on health issues pertinent to MCH populations.

A SAFE Story: Designed for undergraduate students or volunteers from non-health-related fields getting their first taste of global public health, this internship asks the student to live and work alongside a SAFE community group to understand the community group members’ lives, struggles and triumphs in relationship to maternal and child health. You will learn about qualitative interviewing techniques and develop a semi-structured interview guide before you depart for Uganda, then in Uganda you will interview each group member to document their individual stories as well as plan a maternal and child health outreach with the group as a whole. Any stories you gather may be added to a book SAFE officers are authoring about the struggles and triumphs of Ugandan families and their journey to improve maternal and child health. If published, you will be acknowledged as a contributing author.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Where will I live?

You will either live at the SAFE office in town, or in a village intern house, depending on the unique needs of your project. At either location, you will be staying with SAFE staff, and often with other students.

Question: What are the pre-requisites in terms of age, training, and background?

Pre-requisites are project-specific, though all volunteers must be adaptable, flexible, have cultural humility, and a desire and willingness to learn. Additionally, all volunteers are required to go through SAFE’s 7 week online preparatory course, which focuses on development ethics, maternal and child health, and skill/knowledge development specific to the project on which the volunteer will be working. We do take undergraduate students every year, and sometimes have families/groups for specific projects, but a majority of our interns are MPH, MD, or other terminal degree students. If you have questions, let’s talk!

Question: Do you take groups?

We love working with groups! But there has to be a good fit. We are committed to responsible, ethical, and long-term development work. That means that our volunteers really do have to possess the desire and ability to provide a tangible service to the community that responds directly to a stated need. We have worked with university groups, medical teams, and some families. If you feel that your group might be interested in working with us, reach out! We will gladly set up a time to chat.

Question: How much does it cost?

You will pay a program fee that covers the cost of your in-country transport, housing, and dinner every night you stay at SAFE-provided housing, along with programmatic staff who set up your accommodations and provide programming and translation services to the project on which you will be working. For individual students, the cost is $520 base + $180/week. The base cost covers expenses that do not change regardless of the amount of time you stay in Uganda—transport to and from the airport, supplies for cooking and sleeping, project staff to set up your accommodations, and a contribution to the project on which you will be working. The weekly costs include communication, translation services, food and accommodations, and project-related transport. If you are part of a group or arrange to arrive on the same day as three or more other volunteers, we can provide a discount to your program fee. For more information, please contact us. Other costs you should budget for include airfare to/from Entebbe, Uganda, visa ($100 at the airport), immunizations, malaria meds, breakfast, and personal expenses.

Question: How do students and volunteers cover the costs?

Many of the students who work with us receive grants from their schools. We are very happy to help you write proposals or provide letters of support or explanation. Students and general volunteers have also utilized personal fundraisers or letter-writing to earn money towards their in-country costs. We have a template form letter that accepted candidates are welcome to adapt to their personal needs, should it be helpful.

Question: How do I apply?

If you are interested in joining our team, please send an email to with your most recent CV/resume, the top 2 projects in which you are interested, and a summary of what you are hoping to gain from your SAFE experience. We look forward to hearing from you!

Join the SAFE Team in 2016!


Interested in getting more experience in global health, public health, or maternal and child health? Do you want to learn about development in practical terms, living and working alongside talented Ugandan community members? Do you want to contribute to improving maternal and child survival, and do something meaningful with your summer?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider joining the SAFE team! Our applications for internships during 2016 are open, and this year, we’ve opened up our opportunities with both short and long term placements in a variety of timeframes (dependent on skills, background, and availability). Check out these projects!

Internship/Practicum Openings for 2016

SAFE has two tracks for interns, each of which provides different experiences and caters to different backgrounds. The Experiential Living Track is designed for people who want to acquire more experience living and working in a developing-country context, and general exposure to maternal and child health and the intersection between culture and health. They live in a rural village and work with one or more of SAFE’s community groups. Experiential Living Interns’ primary purpose is to experience maternal and child health from within Busoga culture, and to support the community groups in their work. The Specialized Project Track interns work on projects that require a more technical, specialized skillset—expertise in clinical MCH skills, research skills, health communication messaging, photography or videography training, etc. Specialized Project Interns often (though not always) live in town at our office so that they can have regular connectivity to the Internet, and rotate through the village houses so they also acquire some exposure to SAFE’s community-based work if their specific project doesn’t provide it.

Projects for 2016 are described below by Track. If you’re interested in more information, fill out a volunteer form here or send us an email at

Experiential Living Track: (2 – 4 weeks minimum stay)

  • “Maama ne Maama” Story Capture: Intern will work with SAFE community groups to develop a contest to collect stories about birth and experience of the health care system, with a focus on communicating good outcomes from good health decisions. Prizes will also promote good MCH behaviors and/or promote SAFE’s other projects—for example, savings boxes, a mosquito net, a SAFE baby blanket or newborn hat, etc. Desired skills: experience with storytelling, health communications, and health promotions helpful, though not required. Potential for thesis/special project. Positions available: 3. Minimum stay: 4 weeks, 6-8 weeks preferable.
  • Community Group Farming and Nutrition Support: Intern will work with community groups to develop farming plan for the next planting season’s crops, incorporating both income generation and nutrition support. Desired skills: experience/expertise in nutrition, agriculture, business skills/development, and community-based income generating activities. Positions available: 2. Minimum stay: 4 weeks.
  • Showcase Success: Intern will live in one of the villages where a SAFE community group resides and learn about their projects, then identify creative ways to showcase their work and success—both in Uganda and in the U.S. This could be through a photo exhibition in Uganda, a photovoice project, a participatory documentary, a website with photos of the members and their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments, paintings of the groups displayed in Uganda or in the U.S., etc. The focus of this project is for the intern to learn about the work of the community group and to bring their experiences to a larger audience in a meaningful, creative way. It also supports SAFE’s ongoing support of the community groups by providing creative content (pictures of happy moms and babies, their stories, short video and clips of songs, paintings, etc.) for use in our publications and social media. Minimum stay: 2 weeks, with longer stays being optimal. Positions available: 6.

Specialized Project Track:
(unless otherwise noted, requires minimum stay of 6 weeks)

  • Quality of Care Evaluation: Observation of deliveries in SAFE maternal health facilities using a standardized checklist, in order to shape SAFE’s training program to address clinical deficiencies and celebrate jobs well-done. Requires a student with strong clinical skills and training; preferred MD, CNM, NP, PA, or similar. Will consider clinical student with the right passion, background, and willingness to learn before departure. Positions available: 3. **Minimum stay: 2 weeks.**
  • Three Delay Training: SAFE’s model is predicated on the Three Delays—reducing delays in decision-making, physical access to health facilities, and the receipt of quality care in a health facility. The local District Health Office has requested that SAFE implement a district-wide training program that trains all midwives, physicians, and support staff in the Three Delays and catalyzes action based on that model. Intern will work closely with SAFE’s officers and staff, and liaise with the DHO, to develop and pilot this model with a subset of health facilities in the region. Required skillset: knowledge of maternal and child health topics (especially pertaining to maternal mortality), experience/interest in participatory education, cultural competency, patience. Positions available: 2.
  • Pregnant Woman Parliament: SAFE has used a “pregnant women’s parliament” in one health facility, in which women at antenatal care gather together during the ANC clinic day (defined day per week) to hear a health message and talk together about problems they are experiencing and how to improve them. This project has been conducted somewhat loosely and needs to be refined, streamlined, implemented in added facilities, and evaluated (requiring a solid M&E plan); intern will perform all of these tasks. Required skillset: knowledge of maternal and child health topics (especially pertaining to pregnancy and delivery), experience/interest in health education, training in monitoring/evaluation methods, cultural competency. Positions available: 2.
  • Tablet-Based MCH Education: Intern will film community groups’ dramas, and/or talks and training provided by local health providers; digitize the films; and put them on organization-provided tablets that can be used by women during antenatal care to learn about maternal and child health topics. Should also include monitoring software to evaluate use of videos. Requires a student or a team of students with experience in filming, digitizing, and programming. Possibility for thesis and publication. Positions available: 4.
  • Maama Drama: SAFE community groups use drama and songs to educate community members and important maternal and child health topics. Student will work with community groups to improve their acting skills, story lines, and audience engagement techniques, towards the end-goal of improved performances and greater audience reach. A background in drama, acting, theater, or musical performance strongly preferred for this project. Possibility for publication. Positions available: 3.
  • DHO Social Media Support: The local District Health Office has requested SAFE help in learning to use social media and SMS text messaging as a way to provide health messages to local population. This intern will work with the DHO on that project as a representative of the SAFE team. Required skillset: experience/training in health messaging and using social media, cultural competence, professionalism, patience, passion for maternal and child health. Positions available: 1.

R&B/Soul Artist Rome Alexander Donates 50% Proceeds to SAFE!

Rome Banner

The incredibly talented, soulful musical artist, Rome Alexander, wrote and performed a cover of the Boyz II Men song “A Song for Mama” for a Mother’s Day present. But when she insisted that he share it with others, Rome decided to sell his song and donate half the proceeds to an organization working to improve maternal health. And who did he pick?


We couldn’t be happier to have this partnership with Rome Alexander! Rome’s “A Song for Mama” was released on November 25th, and 50% of all the sales from it will be donated towards SAFE’s life-saving partnerships with Ugandan communities, based on the belief that no mother should die while bringing life into the world.

Get your copy of Rome Alexander’s “A Song for Mama” on iTunes today for only $0.99! You’ll support SAFE while also enjoying a beautiful tribute to mothers everywhere.

Gifts that Give Life!

SAFE Holiday Email FundraiserSafe Mothers, Safe Babies (SAFE) has been partnering with rural Ugandan communities to save the lives of pregnant women and babies for the past seven years. Together, we serve more than 100,000 people every year, made possible by the generous support of people like you.

This year for the Holidays, we’ve teamed up with both Ugandan and U.S. artisans to give you many gift choices–from jewelry and cards to songs (for digital download) and paintings, along with our regular projects that you can sponsor in someone’s honor. Since all of the materials and talents were donated, 100% of your purchase goes directly to SAFE life-saving work with pregnant women, newborn babies, and young children. Shop with SAFE for Gifts that Give Life! 

Check out the catalog below. Easy online ordering here:

The SAFE Store

Or you can mail your order form and check, cash, or money order to:
Safe Mothers, Safe Babies
1160 Mayfield Dr.
Decatur, GA 30033

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Ever Newborn Action Plan


The Every Newborn Action Plan was launched in Uganda this past week. SAFE feels honored to be a part of the global partnership striving for maternal and child survival! Read a short newsletter about the plan (and the conference in Kampala) included below, or check out an online version here.

‪#‎maternalhealth‬ ‪#‎childsurvival‬ ‪#‎first1000days‬‪#‎thisispublichealth‬

Every Newborn Action Plan


Join our SAFE Summer Team–Application Open!

IMG_7152 Are you passionate about maternal and child health? Committed to participatory methods? Want to gain experience in international global health–the real, on-the-ground, challenging but rewarding kind of experience? Consider joining SAFE’s internship and practicum program! Each year, SAFE brings undergraduate, graduate, and professional students (and sometimes those taking some ‘gap’ time) to Uganda to work together with rural communities towards improved maternal and child health. Students gain valuable, real-world experience learning about participatory methods of development and applying them in practice to develop, implement, and evaluate SAFE projects. Some students work on programming, others conduct monitoring and evaluation, and others work on more formal research projects. If this sounds like something that would interest you–and you feel that you have skills that would benefit SAFE and our community partners–apply to join our summer team. Some of our anticipated summer projects are listed below; and an information sheet can be accessed here: SAFE Internship Overview.

Application Procedure: If you feel it could be a good fit, apply by sending your resume/CV and a 1-page cover letter to: We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Some current internship and practicum openings, SAFE Summer 2015


Voices of Maternal Health: Intern will develop an in-depth interview and/or focus group discussion guide(s) to facilitate qualitative interviews about maternal health, then oversee the implementation of that guide in-country using organization-employed translators. Component of a larger research grant SAFE is implementing on reducing child mortality in the first 1,000 days. Possibility for thesis and publication.

Third Delay Maternal Referral Tracking: Intern will track emergency maternal referrals between their place of origin and their intended destination among 4 maternal health facilities, in order to better understand the situation surrounding emergency maternal referral and the Third Delay. Possibility for thesis and publication.

Maternal Health Exit Interviews: Intern will develop an in-depth interview guide to evaluate women’s experiences in partner health facilities during antenatal care, labor, delivery, and postpartum care; then oversee the implementation of that guide in-country using organization-employed translators. Component of a larger research grant SAFE is implementing on reducing child mortality in the first 1,000 days. Possibility for thesis and publication.

Verbal Autopsy: Intern will develop a methodology for conducting verbal autopsies when women die during labor or experience a stillbirth, or after a child under age 2 dies; then oversee the implementation of that guide in-country using organization-employed translators. Component of a larger research grant SAFE is implementing on reducing child mortality in the first 1,000 days. Possibility for thesis and publication.

Programmatic Support:

Maternal Health Education: Student will review and edit SAFE’s existing maternal and child health education curriculum, then conduct refresher trainings with SAFE community groups. Intern will then watch the community groups’ use of curriculum in the community and help to improve the curriculum based on performance. Possibility for thesis (or special project).

Tablet-Based Maternal and Child Health Education: Intern will film community groups’ dramas and/or talks and training provided by local health providers; digitize the films; and put them on organization provided tablets that can be used by women during antenatal care to learn about maternal and child health topics. Should also include monitoring software to evaluate use of videos. Requires a student or a team of students with experience in filming, digitizing, and programming. Possibility for thesis and publication.

Drama Support: SAFE community groups use drama and songs to educate community members and important maternal and child health topics. Student will work with community groups to improve their acting skills, story lines, and audience engagement techniques, towards the end-goal of improved performances and greater audience reach. A background in drama, acting, theater, or musical performance strongly preferred for this project. Possibility for publication.

Community Group Assessment: Student will work design and conduct needs assessment of SAFE community groups, then work with the group members to develop long-term plans to address deficiencies and promote self-sufficiency.

Holiday Gifts and SAFE Motherhood!

This Holiday Season, you can find a perfect gift for your loved ones and support safe motherhood and childhood health in Uganda at the same time! Our Holiday Giving Catalog features jewelry handmade by SAFE volunteers using beads made by SAFE community groups. It also features handcrafted holiday cards and several projects you can sponsor in a loved one’s honor. To order and pay by mail, download our SAFE Holiday Catalog 2014 or view it below and print the order form. To order and pay online, click here. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

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Success: SAFE’s Approach Achieves Results!


SAFE recently completed an internal evaluation of our programs, and the results are exciting! Check out an overview of what we found below:

Background: Too little progress has been made in reducing maternal and perinatal mortality in Uganda since 2000, partly resulting from poor utilization of maternal healthcare services and poor facility infrastructure. Safe Mothers, Safe Babies (SAFE) addresses these deficiencies through an integrated intervention package targeting the three delays (Thaddeus and Maine), including: (1) increasing demand through participatory educational outreach with community groups; (2) improving access through motorcycle ambulances and personal savings programs; and (3) using innovative low-cost technology to improve quality of care through strengthening facility infrastructure, commodities, and medical training.

Objective: To evaluate whether Safe Mothers, Safe Babies’ approach has improved utilization of delivery care in target health facilities.

Data and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional quantitative and qualitative evaluation through: secondary health data from 4 intervention and 3 control facilities assessing change in the number of monthly health center deliveries and distribution of types of obstetric emergency and related maternal referrals; qualitative data from 49 key informant interviews assessing program quality; a photovoice project conducted by program beneficiaries assessing community views; and six months of field notes from observing obstetric care in 14 facilities.

Results: Intervention facilities experienced a 40.63% average increase in health center deliveries 24 months after the intervention package, which three control facilities did not experience (t(5)=-2.8, p=0.038). This was confirmed by results from key informant interviews, which reported increased utilization of healthcare services in addition to satisfaction with all types of three delay projects.

Discussion and Implications: The intervention package has effectively improved the utilization of delivery care in target health facilities by addressing the three delays. This demonstrates a successful way that the three delays model can be united with community-based and facility-based approaches to improve maternal and child health, both in Uganda and potentially elsewhere.

International Women’s Day 2014!

We started the day very early in the morning at 1 AM so that we could join with 3 radio reports. Unfortunately it rained at night so we struggled, but it was still a very successful day and we reached more than 700 people in total…

The first event was organized by Matove Beads Development Association (MABEDA). They celebrated women and cleaned up the local health facility, and gave the health workers a chance to share their challenges with the community which helped the community better understand their position so they could work together to improve it. The rain had made it hard for people to reach the facility, but still more than 50 people turned up for the hour-long celebration and everyone was so happy.

The Lubira community groups–Balindhabeene, Balikyebuza and Alikyenda women groups–organized an incredibly successful day with more than 500 people attending the event! It started with cleaning Lubira Primary School, and then cleaned Lubira Health Center–they swept, slashed the grass down, and burned all the trash. With a clean health facility, each group presented a song and drama about the “war that women go through during delivery.” They were beautiful songs and dramas, and everyone loved them. One of the Lubira politicians gave a closing speech and praised the community groups for having the love and capacity to organize something so good to celebrate International Women’s Day even when the district failed to organize something. He sent his appreciation to the SAFE team for their mentorship and support, which was echoed by all the community groups and community members.

The Kalalu community groups–Kalalu Women’s Voice (KWV), Kamede Men’s Development Association (KAMEDE), Bugya Bukye, and Balibonerawo–held a cleaning activity of the local borehole along with dramas and songs, and more than 80 people attended. It was well-received and everyone celebrated the women of the community. What a successful day!