STORIES OF CHANGE TIMELY Interventions Speedy access to ambulances and loans means more healthy outcomes for women and their families.
prevalent, women often have little or no say in financial decisions – including those that affect their health. Also, their male partners are often not well informed about maternal and child health concerns. Savings groups tackle both of these issues. They provide a financial resource for women to cover health care costs, and they deliver training on gender equality and maternal health to men and women.
Fatima, a member of a savings group in Nigeria, says the program helped her create a more equitable relationship with her partner. “Our VSLA helps us with savings, and it’s also a space [in which] to learn,” she says. “This improved my relationship with my husband. I used to do all the household chores, but now we share roles at home.” Furthermore, in households where patriarchal norms are
“Child marriage and early pregnancy are the two main challenges girls face in our community. A challenge for boys is that they lack information on sexual health and relations. That is why I’m a member of the Education for Family Life club.” – Oumou, 19
“The ambulance didn’t take long to arrive. It saved my
“I used to feel ashamed to do my wife’s work because neighbours were critical,” admits Amirul, a Fathers Club member. “Now, I am accustomed to doing the housework and neighbours don’t see it in a negative way. My family and I are very happy now.” “I didn’t imagine that he could change. Now, he helps me, brings home water, takes our children to school and even cooks if I’m unwell.” – Laiju, Amirul’s wife Amirul changed his mind (and his behaviour) after he joined the Fathers Club in Bangladesh. He says that after the discussions and training sessions, he began to challenge his ingrained negative attitudes toward gender equality.
Village savings and loan associations (also known as VSLAs or savings groups) demonstrate what it means to be “stronger together,” says Chris Armstrong, director of health at Plan International Canada. “Savings groups are a community-based approach to microfinance. They bring together 15 to 25 people who each contribute small amounts of money to create a shared pool of funds.” If a
family is experiencing poverty, health care costs can deplete their income, leaving them unable to afford treatment in life-or-death situations. But when families combine their resources, they can lift each other out of the cycle of poverty that threatens their lives and livelihoods. For Nanbos, who lives in Ghana, being a member meant he could help his sister when she needed it most.
life and my son’s life.” – Nadia, 28
Oumou, a 19-year-old woman, talks about her experience leading her community’s adolescent club, where they meet
each month to discuss issues such as child marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Plan International Canada provided ambulances to the Haitian National Ambulance Center to save mothers’ and newborn babies’ lives. Haiti has the highest maternal-mortality rate in the Americas, with 630 women’s deaths for 100,000 live births. Nadia, 28, experienced a complicated delivery while giving birth to her first child last November. The local health centre where she had been admitted couldn’t help her, so the ambulance took her to the hospital 70 kilometres away, where she received a Caesarean section.
Due to training [I received] on danger signs in pregnancy, I observed swelling in my wife’s leg and knew it was a sign of danger. I rushed [her] to the hospital for treatment, and the group supported
I took out a loan from my group’s fund to pay for services for my sister after she had a miscarriage. The doctors were able to save her life.” – Nanbos, a savings group member in Ghana
me with money from the fund.” – Alh Zaki Ckai, a savings group member in Nigeria
WATCH THE VIDEO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HER STORY
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38 | 2022 Annual Report
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