September 2016 newsletter

Safe Birthing Programme Kit Distribution

At the end of August, IWI distributed its first set of birthing kits to three health centres in Uganda! Our local partner, Extended Hands Uganda, distributed 600 kits to the 3 most under-resourced centres in the Amolatar District. The mission of the SBP is to enable women in the Amolatar District of Uganda to access their human right to adequate and safe reproductive healthcare. Through the donations of supporters like you, the women of Amolatar will have one less burden to bare with the knowledge that the health centre in which she is a patient will have the supplies necessary for a safer, hygienic delivery.

"IWI is confident that the success of the SBP will elicit a systemic change to women's access to healthcare in Northern Uganda. By building robust constituencies for social change, mobilising support for maternal healthcare in Uganda, and expanding our efforts to bring about lasting change to the region, our efforts WILL make a positive change." - Aubrey Shayler, IWI Executive Director & Founder


International Women's Initiative’s Safe Birthing Programme’s (SBP) main objective is to reduce maternal mortality in the Amolatar District in Northern Uganda, through providing birthing kits to health centres to enhance sanitary conditions for mothers while giving birth. Beyond their immediate effect, IWI believes this programme will have a far reaching impact: changing attitudes surrounding maternal health and raising local awareness of health centre use and safe birthing practices. As a result, IWI is directly impacting Uganda's gender equality, ensuring that women's rights to health is protected and fulfilled.


While birthing kits are provided by the Ugandan government, health centres in the Amolatar District are not always provided enough kits to meet the demands of their patients. Low kit numbers, as well as inconsistent delivery, means that not every woman is provided with a birthing kit upon entering the health centre for delivery, causing some women to have to pay for supplies or give birth in unsanitary conditions. IWI seeks to alleviate this by providing birthing kits to each centre to create a “buffer” to ensure all women have access to sanitary birthing conditions.


IWI is providing birthing kits to health facilities that are struggling to ensure that a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare is protected and fulfilled. IWI will provide an initial buffer amount of 50 kits to each of the health centres to augment kits provided by the government. Each subsequent month, kits will be provided to bring the centres back to the initial kit levels. This will ensure that all women giving birth in these centres have access to sanitary birthing conditions. International Women’s Initiative has partnered with the Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia to provide the birthing kits.

Our collaboration with our local partner organisation, Extended Hands Uganda (EHU), will ensure kit delivery to each centre. IWI and EHU will conduct monitoring and evaluation throughout the programme to ensure its effectiveness and adapt the programme as necessary. IWI believes that our collaboration improves the capabilities of our partners as well as ensuring our programme is sustainable. In all, 13 health centres in the Amolatar District will benefit from the Safe Birthing Programme.


As many as 16 women die due to labor complications in Uganda daily due to the lack of adequate reproductive healthcare. In the northern region, rising fertility rates, and a higher than average maternal mortality ratio of 40 deaths per 100,000 births compounds their health burden. With the return of IDPs from Ugandan conflict with the LRA, the health system in the Northern Region has become overburdened and reproductive health services have suffered.

Visit the Safe Birthing Programme webpage to view photos of our distribution!

IWI's Impact

The importance of the Safe Birthing Programme is such that simply reading statistics about the plight of northern Ugandan women and their likelihood of having natal complications does not always shed light on their personal experiences. It is vital that supporters and donors alike be able to know the women they will be helping by donating. Only by providing a platform for women living the experience of inadequate maternal care to speak, their voices will never truly be heard.

Malinda* is one such woman living in the Amolatar District whose life has been affected by the maternal medical crisis in Northern Uganda.

"My name is Malinda. I am 24 years old. I live in Adagkolo, Kikondo Parish in Amolatar, Uganda.
I have five children. I gave birth to the youngest three days ago. We have not named her yet – she will get a name when she begins to walk. When I was pregnant, Esther, birth attendant, came often to see me and to check how my pregnancy was progressing. She told me to send for her when the labour pains began, but I did not because a woman who gives birth on her own is respected.
Esther came to visit the day after the baby was born and attempted to help me. She worked quickly and began using rags she had brought as well as my own to clean me. My neighbour came as well and looked concerned. The rags were dirty and the floor covered in my blood. She told me to go to the health centre because I was bleeding. Esther did not agree and encouraged me to stay and let her help me.
It is now three days and I am still bleeding. I feel very weak. I would like to go to the health centre but I cannot go on my own. I have no money to pay for the services or supplies. My husband is away looking for food. I do not even have milk in my breasts for the new baby. I hope he will come back today so that he can bring us food and take me to the health centre."

In Northern Uganda every 90 minutes, a woman dies due to childbirth-related complications. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THAT.

IWI Staff Spotlight

This month IWI would like to shine the spotlight on Lily Robertson. Ms Robertson wears many hats at IWI, including Event Planner, as well as Social Media Coordinator, and yet she has been able to gracefully balance both roles with much success. Through her efforts we will be able to introduce ourselves to new supporters who are all of the same mindset: helping women realise their human rights. To witness the dedication and hard work of Ms Robertson please attend our 1st Annual Initiative Gala. I am positive it will be phenomenal, as is Ms Robertson.

- Aubrey Shayler, IWI Executive Director & Founder

Lily Robertson, Event Planner and Social Media Coordinator

The countdown has begun for IWI's 1st Annual Initiative Gala in London, UK

Our 1st Annual Initiative Gala is happening October 28th!

The Gala being held October 28th will be an evening of great speakers, drinks, music and networking to support IWI’s efforts to bring attention to women’s human rights globally, and specifically our flagship project the Safe Birthing Programme.

We're excited to announce additional sponsors Gosnells London Mead, Beavertown Brewery, The Vegan Nigerian, Five Points Brewing Company, Onidodo and Soffle's Pitta Chips. Thank you all for donating your products to our gala.

Also remember that our special guests SHE Choir London will be performing, as well as our speakers Dr. Gina Heathcote, Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies and International Law and Chair of the SOAS Centre for Gender Studies, as well as Joy Kemp, Global Professional Advisor at The Royal College of Midwives.

Music, drinks and mingling for a good cause. This event is sure to be a fun evening!

Presidential debate: Hillary Clinton triumphs over Donald Trump in opinion polls after televised clash

Early opinion polls suggest Democrat triumphed in first televised clash with opponent

Siobhan FentonThe Independent

For months, pundits have said the US presidential race is too close to call, but one candidate appeared to emerge a clear victor after the first televised debate.

Hillary Clinton has topped the first major opinion poll of Americans’ responses to the politicians’ first face-to-face clash, with other smaller-scale survey's also suggesting the Democrat got the better of her opponent.

A poll for CNN found 62 per cent of viewers thought Ms Clinton won the debate at Hofstra University, outside New York, compared to just 27 per cent who said the same of Donald Trump.

According to a separate poll, for Public Policy Polling, 51 per cent of voters said the Democrat defeated her opponent, compared to 40 per cent for the Republican.

And two focus groups in swing states - one by CNN with undecided voters in Florida and another by GOP pollster Frank Lutz in Pennsylvania, both appeared to hand convincing wins to Ms Clinton.

The hotly anticipated debate - watched by an estimated 100 million people - was the first time the politicians had gone head-to-head and could be a defining moment in the build-up to election day on 8 November.

It saw animated clashes as Ms Clinton accused Mr Trump of having something, citing his refusal to publish his tax returns. She said: “You've got to ask yourself, why won't he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he's not as rich as he says he is.

“Second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don't know all of his business dealings but we have been told, through investigative reporting, that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks.

“Or maybe he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes because the only years that anybody has ever seen were a couple of years when had he to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax…”

At which point, Mr Trump interjected: “That makes me smart”. He retorted: “I will release my tax returns, against my lawyer's wishes, when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted.”

Ms Clinton's use of a private email server has been an undermining factor throughout her campaign, with Mr Trump using it to justify the ‘Crooked Clinton’ moniker he deplys for his rival.

The Democrat also pushed Mr Trump on why he had been declared bankrupt on multiple occasions given his claim to be a competent businessman, while she also accused him of having misogynistic attitudes towards women.

Mr Trump claimed in return that she did not have enough vision or capability to ensure Americans' safety at an international or domestic level.

The Secretary of State will also hope her accusations of racism against Mr Trump will also have resonated with voters.

She did so after he repeated his false accusation that her failed 2008 presidential campaign against Mr Obama had initiated the so-called “birther” issue.

“Nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it…I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate and I think I did a good job,” he said.

Ms Clinton replied: “He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen.

"There was absolutely no evidence for it. But he persisted. He persisted year after year."

However, while the initial polls indicated Ms Clinton may have established an advantage, more detailed analysis and polling over the coming days will offer a more complete picture.

Two further televised debates are due to take place, on October 9 and October 19.


  • Director of Finance
  • Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator
  • Advocacy Policy Officer
  • News Writer

If you are interested in applying for the above vacancies please forward your CV, cover letter, and for the News Writer position please submit a writing sample, to

Photo Credits and Notes

  • Lily Robertson, supplied by subjects
  • distribution boxes, supplied by EHU
  • * Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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