Care for Mothers and Infants
Maternal and neonatal health indicators and mortality rates in Guatemala remain among the poorest in Latin America, and Mayan women and children are especially vulnerable. For women like Hortensia Garcia, who had suffered four miscarriages by the age of 22, PCI’s Casa Materna clinic and in-patient facility ensured that her fifth pregnancy had a positive outcome. She was admitted as a high-risk inpatient several weeks before delivering a healthy baby girl. Now, Hortensia advocates for the Casa and brings neighbors and friends in for medical attention and counseling. In 2009, Casa Materna provided 10,000 women like Hortensia and their children with critically-needed healthcare, outreach and education services.
PCI is partnering with ACDI/VOCA on integrated food security programs in Liberia and Bangladesh, focusing on the health and nutrition of pregnant and lactating mothers and children under 2. PCI is organizing households into clusters and clusters into groups, with one lead mother selected for every 10 households to ensure effective education, outreach and counseling for maximum behavior change at the village level.
Hope for Women
Women living in Ethiopia’s nomadic pastoralist communities of Afar suffer from a broad range of human rights abuses, including female genital mutilation, lack of education and domestic violence. PCI’s project “Hope For Women,” or Tesfa le Setoche, aims to protect and promote women’s rights. Initially created as a two-year project, the U.S. Department of State recognized the value of PCI’s program interventions and extended the project so PCI could replicate its success in three additional areas of Afar. In 2009, project activities more than doubled the enrollment of young girls in school.
Mobilizing to End Violence
Statistics show that one in four South African women experience violence from their partners. In addition, while only a small percentage of rapes are reported to police in South Africa, the country still has one of the highest rates of reported rapes in the world. In response, PCI and local partners are mobilizing many segments of society in an effort to change the social norms and deep-set beliefs that keep violence against women alive. Through the 16 Days of Activism mass media and outreach campaign in 2009 and again in 2010, PCI increased public awareness of these harmful beliefs and issues, as well as its link to the spread of HIV. The daring campaign, one of the first of its kind in South Africa, has reached millions of people through messages disseminated via massive billboards depicting graphic images of physical abuse, mobile billboards, media coverage and advocacy events. During the Prevention in Action campaigns nearly a million people have also made a personal commitment to stand up against violence.
PCI works with and through youth groups in many of its programs around the world, engaging them as critical leaders in health, nutrition and community strengthening activities. Thousands of youth in India, Africa and the Americas are being engaged as effective advocates and mobilizers. For example, in Bolivia PCI is implementing Youth Leadership programming which involves youth in the development of the city of El Alto. The city of El Alto is a rapidly expanding urban area, where indigenous populations are constantly arriving from rural communities in search of economic solvency. The families have difficulty with social integration, and the youth quickly encounter many social problems. This project helps them recognize that they can make a significant contribution in the development of their neighborhoods, be a source of good and productive change, and learn how to advocate for their needs in front of local leaders.