Launch Day: Dramas

eRanger2This past summer, a group of SAFE’s international interns worked to launch a new eRanger motorcycle ambulance program. The Launch Day celebration brought together some of the most compelling aspects of SAFE’s work. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts about those efforts. Enjoy!

As part of the Launch Day celebration, various community groups performed dramas for the almost 1,000 people in attendance. They used acting, dance and song to communicate the importance of a health facility delivery, the elements of a safe delivery, the warning signs of complications and the potential impact of the eRanger program in tactfully overcoming common cultural barriers to maternal health.

Some of the dramas started an important dialogue about gender roles by incorporating gender role reversal in their productions, in which men acted like pregnant women and women put on pants to act like their husbands. The performances got each sex thinking about how the experience of reproduction may feel to their spouse.

Because these messages were shared by community members for community members in memorable visual ways, their impact was powerful. People laughed and learned. They continue to benefit from the regular outreach events community groups host to impart this important educational service to their fellow village members.

Dramas1Dramas2Dramas4Dramas5Dramas3

Launch Day: Community Groups

eRanger2This past summer, a group of SAFE’s international interns worked to launch a new eRanger motorcycle ambulance program. The Launch Day celebration brought together some of the most compelling aspects of SAFE’s work. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts about those efforts. Enjoy!

Working with community groups is a crucial component of SAFE’s approach to community-based work. Community groups are comprised of both genders, and include men’s groups, women’s groups and co-ed development associations. Members come together to identify problems affecting their collective community, and work with SAFE to understand the real origins of these challenges and the best ways to address them.

The community groups’ influence in promoting maternal and child health goes far beyond what SAFE advocates could do on their own; because they are members of the communities SAFE serves, they bring an intimate and essential knowledge of local viewpoints, challenges and culture.

Bukoteka Bead’s Development Association (Bubeda) is a wonderful example. Bubeda felt that a key problem in their community was adolescent pregnancy and apathy. Beyond addressing this problem in their programs, they decided to directly recruit youth members to join their group. Now roughly half of their total membership is made up of Ugandan youth, and because of it, they are able to influence vulnerable teens and young mothers in positive ways. Many of Bubeda’s members were present at Launch Day, lending helping hands wherever they could. Their performances were youthful and vibrant, appealing to a wide range of audiences.

All of the community groups’ were celebrated at the launch and presented with certificates of appreciation and recognition by the District Nursing Officer who represented the District Health Office.

IMG_7381 IMG_7566

CommunityGroups3CommunityGroups2CommunityGroups1

Launch Day: eRanger

eRanger2This past summer, a group of SAFE’s international interns worked to launch a new eRanger motorcycle ambulance program. The Launch Day celebration brought together some of the most compelling aspects of SAFE’s work. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts about those efforts. Enjoy!

The eRanger program, which is partially community-funded through individual family donations, provides motorcycle ambulances for laboring mothers as an efficient means of navigating Ugandan roads and getting women to maternal health facilities safely. The first eRanger program has been working in Ibulanku, Uganda for almost two years; a second program launched in Lubira, Uganda this summer. The Lubira launch was a highly community-driven process. It included the development of an eRanger “task force” comprised of members from all villages served by the eRanger. Drivers were selected by village leaders, then trained in safe, efficient driving practices, first aid and emergency response. Local government officials collected donations from community members to cover the operating costs of the program.

Seen below, one of the drivers takes the inaugural ride with the District Nursing Officer who is in charge of all nurses and midwives in the Iganga District, collectively serving more than 1.2 million people.

eRanger1

Meet the Interns: Corrinne Sanger

This summer, SAFE will take a group of talented interns to Uganda for seven weeks, putting their skills to use on our latest projects. Meet one such bright, young intern!

SAFEInterns3

Corrinne Sanger is from Wayne State University in the heart of the Motorcity: Detroit, Michigan. There she studied anthropology and French and offered her musical abilities in double bass performance to the local orchestras and music ensembles, all while working towards applying to medical school! When she’s not thumbing through MCAT flash cards, practicing excerpts from Beethoven symphonies, or keeping up with the latest anthropological research, she enjoys riding her horses, taking her dog on walks in the city, working in the anesthesia research department, and entertaining her family with fun songs on her ukulele. “I am so excited to work with SAFE this summer,” she says, “because I know that this is an opportunity with an organization that will really bring about the kind of change and development that I, as an anthropologist and future physician, want to see in the world and have always hoped to be apart of. Being sensitive to and embracing the rich culture of the people of Uganda, all while integrating and implementing the life-saving and life-sustaining techniques and educational programs that SAFE stands for is what makes me proud to be apart of such an amazing group of people!”

Meet the Interns: Caryn Turner

This summer, SAFE will take a group of talented interns to Uganda for seven weeks, putting their skills to use on our latest projects. Meet one such bright, young intern!

SAFEInterns4Caryn Turner just finished the first year of her Masters in Public Health at the University of Texas where she is a global health major. When she is not writing papers for school she loves to take her dogs out to the park or for a walk around the neighborhood. She also loves spending her weekends with her nephews and niece (Cullen, Jackson and Tybee). She comes from a military family and, as a result, loves traveling. She finds herself with itchy feet quite often, which will be cured very soon when she heads out to Uganda! “I can’t wait to work with SAFE,” she says, “because all I’ve done so far in my masters is learn in the classroom and SAFE has given me the opportunity to actually DO something to initiate a long-lasting positive change in a community. This really gives me the opportunity to do what I’ve wanted to do my whole life, which is work in an international community and help solve a real problem that has been plaguing the people that live there. I could not be more excited to work with SAFE this summer!”

Meet the Interns: Katie Morrison

This summer, SAFE will take a group of talented interns to Uganda for seven weeks, putting their skills to use on our latest projects. Meet one such bright, young intern!

SAFEInterns5Katie Morrison is currently a Master’s in Public Health candidate at Boston University, concentrating in maternal and child health. She had the privilege of traveling to Tanzania, Africa in 2010 with an organization called One Heart Source to help fight the generational cycle of HIV/AIDS and poverty. That experience left her not only inspired to help those left most vulnerable by a weak and unstable political system, but also opened her eyes to what it truly means to be human. “I am beyond excited to continue my journey to further ignite growth and change working with Safe Mothers, Safe Babies this summer,” she says. “I am thrilled to support SAFE in their mission to improve maternal and neonatal health through sustainable and participatory means and cannot wait to partner with communities to ensure all mothers and their babies have the basic right to life.” Apart from her passion for public health she enjoys the outdoors, playing soccer, swimming, baking, and the company of good friends and family.

Honoring Your Mom this Mother’s Day: Save a Life

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and we have a special opportunity for you. What better gift to get the special women in your life than one that saves another mother’s life in the process? You choose one of two gifts and SAFE sends it to your loved one(s). You get your shopping done, and all the proceeds go to transporting women in labor between their rural village homes and their health facilities to ensure that they can deliver safely! Without these contributions, many of the women wouldn’t be able to afford the transport, and would have to deliver at home in unsafe conditions.

Check out the gifts below!

International Women’s Day 2013!!

International Women’s Day 2013 was celebrated in style in Bukoteka, Uganda! Nine of the SAFE-affiliated community groups worked with SAFE leadership to plan a huge celebration. The day featured educational dramas and songs about safe motherhood and family planning (in their words, “safe mothers, safe babies”), immunizations, HIV testing (40 tests–all negative!), malaria testing and treatment, and prenatal care. In all, more than 100 people received care, and between 300 and 400 attended the event to celebrate women and their contributions to the local community. Check out the video and pictures below for more information!

Lighting the Way in Uganda

SAFE Founding President and CEO, Jacquie Cutts, taking about SAFE’s work in Uganda to bring solar electricity to rural Ugandan health facilities in partnership with WE CARE Solar and their dynamite Solar Suitcase. No woman should die giving life!! Check it out (courtesy of Emory University).

New Women’s Group Launch Has Record-Breaking Attendance!

On December 29th, 2012, Butende Women’s Group had their official launch event. People turned out in record-breaking numbers–SAFE’s staff counted at least 853 people! Events included educational dramas and songs (performed by MABEDA, BUBEDA, and Butende Women’s Group), along with maternal and pediatric immunizations, malaria testing and treatment, HIV testing and counseling, general health visits, nutrition outreach, mosquito net distribution, malaria education, and sales of products produced by Butende. One group–MABEDA–charged admission to their performances for the first time, earning 95,000 shillings towards their group activities. Also of note, women from Butende Women’s Group were interviewed about their work with SAFE, which aired four times on the radio on Sunday! Check out the photos below:
More than 850 people attended Butende’s Launch Event.

Butende Women’s Group introducing themselves to the community.
Butende Women’s Group performing a song about health!

MABEDA (co-ed development association) performing a REALLY cool parlor trick on soda bottles.

Some of the items made by Butende members and eggplants grown in the SAFE-financed organic community gardens, all sold at the event to profit the new group.
Xylophone used in performances.

A member of the press (from UBC radio) bought one of Butende’s baskets.
A Member of Parliament from Iganga town attended the event and donated 30,000 shillings plus 10 water basins and 4 pieces of fabric to Butende to help them get started. She also promised to help all community groups access district funds to continue in their quest to develop their communities, particularly in terms of maternal and child health.

Pregnant woman being immunized at health outreach.

Child being immunized at health outreach.