Africa: Innovating for Mothers Challenge launched to improve maternal and newborn health care in Senegal

This article was originally published by All Africa
DAKAR, SENEGAL (May 21st, 2020) — Reach for Change Senegal has launched a national competition called the “Innovating for Mothers Challenge” aimed at finding and supporting innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives for maternal and newborn health in Senegal that are ready to grow their impact. The Challenge has been made possible by Mothers at Risk, a Brussels-based non-profit organization committed to helping save lives in pregnancy and childbirth and The Ella Fund, a philanthropy fund that seeks to empower girls and women through education, healthcare and entrepreneurship.
Speaking on the Challenge, Diana Perez-Buck , the Founder of Mothers at Risk, said: “During times of crisis – like the current Covid-19 pandemic – babies continue to be born and women continue to experience pregnancy and delivery, but with additional risks and challenges. It is especially important at times like this for mothers and newborns to have access to quality and timely prenatal, delivery and postnatal care. “The Innovating for Mothers Challenge invests in social entrepreneurs and innovators who want to see improvements in maternal and neonatal health which ultimately contributes positively to the country’s development. By nurturing innovators and entrepreneurs in skills they need to scale their impact, Mothers at Risk and The Ella Fund are helping leverage social entrepreneurship and innovation for maternal and newborn health.

At this time of the COVID-19 crisis, this innovation challenge brings some optimism, forward thinking and a sense of hope to the many aspiring Senegalese entrepreneurs who will be confined and concerned, but still eager to continue working on their innovations that strengthen Senegalese women’s access to quality care during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. Through the competition’s online application portal, they can apply from home.

Speaking on the program benefits, Mayacine Diop , the Reach for Change Senegal Country Manager, said: “Social entrepreneurs selected for the program will be provided with expert individual and group training, organized visits to established businesses and mentoring in the Senegal Incubator Program, delivered by Reach for Change. The winner(s) will also receive a range between USD $10,000 – $20,000 in grant funding to increase their impact on maternal and newborn health!”

Through the Program, social entrepreneurs will acquire technical, entrepreneurial and leadership skills that will enable them to develop successful and sustainable social enterprises to impact maternal and neonatal health.

Speaking on the opportunity, Erin Gainer, the Founder of The Ella Fund, said: “We are thrilled to be backing this important initiative for mothers and babies. We would like to encourage female innovators to participate in the Challenge, as we are committed to helping girls and women with a promising entrepreneurial project have access to the resources they need to transform it into reality.”
Social innovators interested in applying to the challenge should have solutions that, once proven successful, have the potential to scale up and should use digital tools and technologies for maternal health. Their solutions should benefit vulnerable women in the poorest urban/peri urban environments, in particular those most disadvantaged.The social innovations can deliver solutions such as providing respectful care at birth, addressing neglect or abuse during childbirth, providing transportation for women to reach prenatal care and delivery in a timely manner, in particular facilitated via digital technology, and providing maternal accommodation (waiting homes or apartments, formal and informal, to ensure proximity to care for women before and after delivery).
About Mothers at Risk
Mothers at Risk (MAR) is a Brussels-based international non-profit organization committed to helping save lives in pregnancy and childbirth. We provide funding and technical support to local partner organizations to improve the quality and availability of maternal and neonatal health services, with the shared goal of achieving better outcomes for mothers and babies during the pre-natal, delivery and post-natal period.
About The Ella Fund
The Ella Fund is a donor-advised philanthropy fund that adheres to values passed along through generations. As wealth creators, The Ella Fund is ambitious and hardworking yet humble and non-materialistic. The Ella Fund aims to empower other girls and women and invest in organizations that encourage girls and women by holding fast to their set of core values.
About Reach for Change
Reach for Change is a non-profit organization that supports social entrepreneurs who are solving the most pressing issues facing children and youth in 17 countries worldwide. It runs innovation competitions, accelerators and incubators that unleash the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to create a better world for children. Reach for Change first launched its African operations in Ghana in 2012 and has since expanded into Senegal, Chad, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.
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