The project will provide Baby Kits to 200 mothers in Ee Htu Hta IDP camp in Burma, thus improving the health and hygiene of the mothers and their newborn babies. The programme will also provide health education and management, and health capacity building training for KWO District and Township level Executive Committees.
The kits contain essential hygiene items, such as body soap, laundry soap, baby wraps as well as a health message that informs mothers how to care for their newborn, providing valuable health education. All materials are purchased locally thus adding to local businesses.
RIJ has supported this programme for many years and it has proven to be very effective – reducing infant and maternal mortality and providing babies with a better start in life.
This year, the project also includes a 14-day management and women’s health training workshop at 8 sites within Karen state, Burma. The workshop will cover project management and maternal and child health. They will distribute health guidelines and health teaching materials. This training will greatly improve capacity building and, thus, ensure greater sustainability.
Apart from the health gains, the project also improves community relations and provides an opportunity for representatives from Karen Women’s Organisation to understand the situation in Karen state, Burma helping them develop more effective programmes that strengthen communities.
Women and children in Karen state Burma live in communities that have suffered for many years from extreme poverty, lack of basic services, violence and underdevelopment due to the effects of the military and political offensive against the ethnic groups in Burma. Even as steps are taken towards peace in Burma, many thousands of Karen people in the rural areas still live in an atmosphere of fear, insecurity and displacement. Women’s health suffers greatly under these conditions and Karen State has one of the highest maternal and neo-natal mortality rates in the world. Due to the isolation and restrictions on infrastructure development caused by many years of conflict, the local communities have also suffered from a lack of information and education about the prevention and response to basic health problems.
This project provided 200 baby kits which included bars of laundry soap, body soap, 4 nappies and a health message pamphlet to eight (8) different sites. Along with the distribution of baby kits, they also conducted management and health capacity training for 137 KWO committee members, published 5000 copies of the Health Message Booklet and met directly with mothers to get feedback on the baby kits. This year, the programme focused extensively on training of trainers for field coordinators and assistants. This training allowed the field workers to spread the health awareness message more widely and effectively. Because of this, even mothers who didn’t receive the baby kits were able to learn from the health training.
"Since I worked with KWO as [a] Baby Kit project field coordinator, I gained a lot of skills regarding project management, financial record keeping, activity recording, dealing with difficult situations, working with local leaders in our community and also conducting awareness for the mother[s] who received the kits. All of these skills and capacity I built up bit by bit. Since I started working for KWO 3 years ago there has been constant training organized by the central KWO. The practical working experience year after year also built up my confidence and capacity." – District level Project Field Coordinator