Save Women's Lives

Save Women's Lives: A Campaign to Raise Public Awareness on Millennium Development Goal 5 (Improving Maternal Health)

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Mothers Night (SWL)

A project funded by the European Union

List of Partners

  • World Population Foundation (WPF) - Lead Partner
  • Deutsche Stiftung Welbevolkerun (DSW)
  • BOCS Foundation (Hungary)
  • Solidarity Overseas Service Malta (SOS Malta)
  • German Foundation for World Population Foundation (Ethiopia)
  • Mosaic (South Africa)

Time-Frame: 1st January 2009 - 31st December 2011

About the Project


To contribute to poverty reduction by promoting MDG 5 (Improving Maternal Health) and enhancing support for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA).

To increase public awareness and to influence public opinion to foster and enhance support among decision-makers (national parliamentarians and members of the European Parliament) for policies that seek to improve maternal health (MDG5) as part of the implementation of the ICPD Program of Action and the MDGs.

Issues which will be addressed by the project include maternal health, poverty eradication, MDG5, MDG3 ‘Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women', sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS, EU development policies and national development cooperation policies.


The risk of a woman dying as a result of pregnancy or delivery during her lifetime is about one in 26 in Africa compared with about one in 30.000 in Northern Europe. For every woman who dies, about 20 more are injured or disabled. The tragedy is that almost all of these deaths are preventable. Such a discrepancy poses a huge challenge to meeting MDG 5 to reduce maternal mortality by 75% between 1990 and 2015. The Millennium Declaration is the first time that maternal mortality has featured so prominently in the high ranks of global pronouncement, providing an opportunity to galvanise action and to help ensuring maternal health for all women.

In 2006, the European Union adopted a joint statement by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on European Union Development Policy: 'The European Consensus' (2006/C 46/01). In this policy document it is clearly confirmed that the MDGs cannot be attained without progress in achieving the goal of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights as set out in the ICPD Cairo Agenda (Programme of Action) and MDG target 5B. However MDG 5 is the one goal towards which the least progress has been made. Nonetheless, substantial progress can be achieved. Important lessons have been learnt. Women's status needs to be improved, communities need to be involved and empowered, core elements of maternal health need to be strengthened and expanded at community and referral levels, including emergency obstetric care, skilled attendance. There is much greater clarity and consensus today about effective strategies for reducing maternal mortality and greater recognition of the benefits to health systems, to families and to communities of investing in maternal health. Even so, funding for maternal health programmes is still scarce and inconsistent, and should be rapidly and substantially increased if this fundamental human right of women is to be met. What is needed now is political determination, focus and resources to finally reduce rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in Africa.


The projects' activities shall include:

An awareness-raising campaign for different target groups, including the dissemination of target group specific information material. The campaign will include:

a) The publication and dissemination of an information kit in three languages;

b) Production of adverts (print, internet and audio)

c) Set up and maintenance of an electronic information service in three languages

d) The organization of ‘Mothers' Night' events in all four EU partner countries

  • 400 Opinion formers informed on the close link of improving maternal health and reducing poverty and mobilised to publish on the issue and the general public (particularly (young) women) informed on the close link of improving maternal health and reducing poverty. This will be done through:

a) The production of a press kit

b) Organisation of various press activities

c) The organization of 2 study tours, one in Ethiopia and the other in South Africa, for journalists, video/ photographer and personality ambassadors

  • 400 MP's and MEP's and ODA decision makers informed on the close link of improving maternal health and reducing poverty and mobilised to take political action. This will be done through:

a) The production of an advocacy kit

b) Annual advocacy messages communicated to the Ministries responsible for development policy in each of the four partner countries

c) Organisation of MP briefing meetings with testimonies from the South

d) Organisation of informal informational meetings on MDG 5 for decision makers within Ministries and ODA institutions

e) Dispatch of specially designed postcards to MPs and MEPs

f) Organisation of special breakfast events for female parliamentarians the week prior to Mothers Day

g) Organisation of photo exhibitions on Safe Motherhood within national parliaments and the EU parliament

  • 100 NGOs and Civil society actors (among them women's networks/groups/organisations) informed on the close link of improving maternal health and reducing poverty and mobilised to actively participated in the action and lobby for MDG 5. This will be done through:

a) Organisation of lectures and presentations for NGOs and CSOs

b) Dissemination of information materials to NGOs and CSOs

c) The development of a campaign toolkit for NGOs and CSOs

d) Building and coordination of a NGO and CSP actor communication platform for Safe Motherhood within each partner country.