Kenya’s Innovative Maternal & Infant Health Programs Named Finalists for $10 Million Award

In a joint effort by The Patchwork Collective, ICONIQ Impact, and Lever for Change, five outstanding projects aimed at improving maternal and infant health have been selected as finalists for the prestigious $10 million Maternal & Infant Health Award.

This grant competition aims to fund innovative initiatives led by local communities to prevent complications during childbirth and reduce the alarming rates of maternal and newborn mortality in the country.

Kenya’s Maternal and Newborn Health Crisis

Every year, countless pregnant women and newborns lose their lives due to preventable complications, leaving behind grieving families and communities. In Kenya alone, the situation remains dire, with high maternal and infant mortality rates persisting despite the country’s efforts to improve healthcare services.

The Maternal & Infant Health Award was established to provide vital support to community leaders, particularly those operating in low-resource areas, to enhance access to safe, equitable, and high-quality maternal healthcare. By focusing on funding programs and projects that prioritize this critical issue with the urgency it demands, lives of at-risk mothers and children can be saved, and the joy and promise of childbirth restored.

Two Finalists Driving Change in Kenya

Out of 220 applications received from 49 countries, five exceptional projects have been chosen as finalists for the Maternal & Infant Health Award, but two are from Kenya.

  1. Elevating Mothers’ Voices to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes in Kenya by Jacaranda Health: Jacaranda Health aims to revolutionize pregnancy care by collaborating with government hospitals to deploy affordable and scalable solutions across Kenya. Their evidence-based approach combines a digital health platform, nurse mentorship program, and data infrastructure system to connect mothers, communities, and government partners. If successful, this initiative could impact 60% of pregnancies in Kenya.
  2. Scaling Community-led Health, Improving Maternal and Infant Outcomes in Kenya by Lwala Community Alliance, Dandelion Africa, and Village HopeCore International: These three Kenyan-founded organizations are joining forces to expand their community-led health model to three rural counties in Kenya. By empowering community leadership, professionalizing community health workers, and strengthening healthcare facilities, they aim to significantly reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.
  3. Sustainably Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Uganda: The Babies and Mothers Alive Foundation (BAMA) BAMA plans to implement its innovative NGO-Government partnership model in five districts of Uganda, benefitting a population of 1,115,540. Through training mentor midwives, community health workers, and other stakeholders, BAMA seeks to deliver quality care, advocate for improved government health services, and enhance district health management systems.
  4. Connecting Indigenous Mothers, Midwives, Navigators, and Hospitals in Guatemala by Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq: This project aims to adapt and scale a program to cover 10,000 births annually in five Guatemalan provinces, focusing on indigenous mothers and their unique needs. By equipping midwives with an illustrated smartphone application and providing culturally appropriate care, maternal mortality rates could be reduced by an estimated 80%.
  5. Intercultural Healthcare for Mothers and Infants in Rural Colombia by SinergiasONG: SinergiasONG will collaborate with local health institutions to improve maternal and child health services and enhance the quality of life for rural and ethnic populations in Colombia. Their intercultural health models, integrating community and ancestral practices, aim to bring positive change and reduce health disparities.

A Path to Sustainable Solutions

Each of the five finalist teams will receive a $200,000 planning grant, including nine months of capacity-building support to refine their projects and strengthen their applications. In late 2023, one finalist will be awarded the remaining $9 million to implement their innovative solutions.

The Patchwork Collective, ICONIQ Impact, and Lever for Change invite other donors to join their effort, ensuring that each impactful program receives the necessary funding. By pooling resources, leveraging expertise, and empowering those with lived experiences, collaborative funding models like the Maternal & Infant Health Award can generate sustainable solutions to complex global challenges.

A History of Impactful Grants

The Maternal & Infant Health Award is the latest initiative in a series of grant competitions managed by Lever for Change in partnership with ICONIQ Impact. Previous awards include the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award, supporting refugees worldwide, and the Stronger Democracy Award, aimed at strengthening democratic institutions in the United States.

About ICONIQ Impact and Lever for Change

ICONIQ Impact, launched by ICONIQ Capital in 2019, serves as a global platform for collaborative philanthropy. Its partnership with Lever for Change enables donors, including The Patchwork Collective, to identify impactful philanthropic opportunities through transparent and rigorous competitions, effectively addressing pressing social issues.

Lever for Change, a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s most significant problems. By tackling issues such as racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of economic opportunity, and climate change, Lever for Change helps drive positive change on a global scale.

Supporting Local Solutions and Advancing Progress

“This award aims to uncover impactful, locally-led organizations that are often overlooked by traditional philanthropy,” emphasized Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. “We are delighted to support The Patchwork Collective and ICONIQ Impact in their commitment to advancing the work of these finalist teams and improving maternal and infant health.”

By recognizing the importance of community leadership, implementing sustainable healthcare models, and investing in innovative solutions, Kenya and the world can move closer to a future where every mother and newborn can experience childbirth with joy and promise, free from anxiety and fear.

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