MMM and AJAD changing communities and lives in UNESCO funded initiative

20.05.19

Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together” - Vincent Van Gogh

Songon, a suburb of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, is composed of many villages made of basic concrete houses and in which live a great number of families. Most of the mothers are illiterate and bring up their children whilst meeting basic community needs such as water chores – the well is 10 km away – and collecting and selling firewood in the markets.

Jean Bolly Kouassi, brought up by his mother just like his other many siblings, is a man who has always admired the determination of women, and mothers in particular.

This is what led him to create an association called Aide à la Jeunesse Africaine Défavorisée (AJAD) (help to the underprivileged African Youth), to provide young people with perspective, relying on the main force of community action: mothers.

His first struggle was to fight against early pregnancies, after he had had to care for a 12-year-old girl who arrived pregnant in one of the villages. He then decided to address high-risk behavioral patterns stemming from the lack of information on reproductive health and to improve the pregnancy monitoring of very young mothers who are further faced with the impossibility of attending school.

Jean Bolly also committed to reducing the high child mortality rate, due to insufficient baby care.

MMM decided to help by appealing to UNESCO funds that enabled the organization in 2017 to host two conferences and two mother training seminars with a gynecologist, a midwife and a pediatrician.

Six hundred people, a majority of whom were mothers and young girls and boys, attended these conferences, one on educating on reproductive health and the prevention of early pregnancies, the other on educating on childhood development and protection.

Six mothers were specially trained as health and protection monitors for young pregnant girls.

And lastly, a total of forty-four mothers, two per village, were trained to deal with the health and protection of children and tasked with training other mothers in their neighborhood.

The results:

– a 30% drop in early pregnancies,
– a 40% increase in prenatal visits,
– a decrease of 15% in child mortality.

Young boys are learning to respect young girls; young girls now make the effort of going to the doctor despite long distances or ask advice from the trained mothers. Communities look after the children to allow young mothers to go to school.

Thanks to these results, the State of Ivory Coast has engaged and is supporting AJAD MMM. It asked and received financial UNESCO support to extend this initiative to other areas. The implementation of this new project is entrusted to AJAD MMM and will take place in 2019 with the help of the Education Ministry, in order to allow teachers and students to participate.

This experience shows that supporting the mobilization of mothers and rallying fathers and decision makers to their cause, mentalities can change and living conditions of a whole community can be improved – And this could apply anywhere in the world.

Gabrielle de Melleville, MMM Representative to UNESCO, with Bolly Kouassi, President and Founder AJAD and Her Excellency Mrs. Denise Houphouet Boigny

 

Most read articles

Single mothers vulnerability to homelessness and impact on children

04.03.20

UN New York - Report on the side-event that MMM organized on the margins of the 58th session of the Commission on Social Development on 18 February 2020 at the

Lire plus

How to engage consumers in the circular economy?

14.02.20

As part of #Circ4life, an EU Horizon 2020 Research Project, Make Mothers Matter conducted three consumer surveys in order to uncover how to better engage end-users in the circular economy.

Lire plus

Unpaid care is work

08.03.20

International Women's Day - 'Time to Care’, the Oxfam report released earlier this year, put the spotlight on the link between global inequalities and an issue at the core of

Lire plus
See all the articlesof the category

Latest News from MMM and its Network

A global solidarity network to fight against Covid-19

19.12.20

Together with a group of NGOs in official relationship with UNESCO, Make Mothers Matter has initiated a global solidarity network in order to create synergies between their grassroots associations around the wo

Read more

Members from across the world gather for MMM AGM

16.12.20

Due to the global health crisis that upturned all our lives in 2020, our 2019 AGM/EGM was inevitably delayed but held to great success virtually, on December 10th.

Read more

MMM Responds to EU Commission’s Public Consultation

03.12.20

We answered by submitting a paper describing our views on the future of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan.

Read more

AFG Minister of Education raises her pen for Afghan girls: “Without education I would not have been what I am today”

28.11.20

Press Release - #RaiseAPen Campaign: Virtual high-level panel discussion of 25 November

Read more

Together with mothers in Afghanistan for the right to education for their daughters

26.11.20

A look back at our online High Level Panel Discussion of 25 November 2020 - Event recording, highlights, how you can get involved in the #RaiseAPen campaign

Read more

Covid-19: ‘We need a Care & education-led recovery’ says MMM President

18.11.20

Speaking at the UfM Women4Mediteranean Conference 2020, MMM President Anne-Claire de Liedekerke also called for radical change in the way we perceive and value Care, education, and those who are responsible for

Read more