How Mother Buddies and their mobiles are saving lives and uniting families

My name is Mama Eve* and I live in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I live in an area where many women and babies often die at birth because we do not have access to sufficient neonatal medical care.

Buddy up: Mother Buddies offer support to both parents during pregnancy and stay connected to doctors via a phone app.

Many women are illiterate and just do not know about their rights to proper care. Traditionally, our husbands do not take any duties around a child’s birth so all the responsibility ​falls​ on the women’s shoulders.  

Recently I have had the opportunity to join a project led by Tearfund where I became a “Mother Buddy”. This means I have received some training on maternal health and I can now befriend pregnant women in my community and provide them with support if they are worried.  

I use a special app on a mobile phone called MiHope and stay in touch with a doctor who monitors all my entries and intervenes if need be. Thanks to the training I received I am now able to identify vulnerable pregnant women in my community and help them attend regular check-ups

Then I encourage fathers to accompany their wives and support them throughout their pregnancies as well as learn about family planning with their wives.  

I am so glad to be part of this programme. I know all the ladies I support personally and I am always available to them should they need some advice. Or if they are worried about anything we have our MiHope phones and help is available at the touch of a button. 

MiHope screenshot illustrating Mother Buddy visit schedule with clients.

I am really proud of my project because now, in my village, couples are seen together with their children.

Since I started my work the number of women delivering at home alone has been reduced to 6.5 per cent.​ I am really proud of my project because now, in my village, couples are seen together with their children. 

Local customs used to dictate that the father’s role in their children’s lives was limited to discussions on dowries. They are now proud to discuss family planning together and share responsibilities. 

*Name changed to protect the identity of our Mother Buddy. 

Find out more about how Pregnancy Twinning is tackling maternal mortality in Africa

For more information on families visit the UN International Day of Families (15 May, 2017) page on the United Nations website

Sylvie Kokere