In recognition of Mother’s Day, Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide are engaging in projects to improve maternal health, educate new mothers and support women and children. Volunteers regularly serve in maternity clinics, teach nutrition to new and expecting mother’s and provide information to keep families healthy.
Today, 22 percent of all Peace Corps Volunteers work in the health/HIV sector. Health Volunteers help communities meet basic public health needs through education and awareness, providing access to safe drinking water, distributing bed nets for malaria prevention, teaching sanitation measures and more. Even though Peace Corps volunteers are not medical care providers, they provide the skills and training to help keep communities healthy and safe. Many volunteers participate in health-related projects during the course of their service.
We thank our Volunteers for supporting mothers worldwide and wish all the mothers in the Peace Corps family a happy, healthy, and safe Mother’s Day!
Maternal Health “Ah ha!” Moment - Peace Corps Service Leads to Career as a Midwife
In this video,Peace Corps Volunteer Caitlin Givens talks about her “Ah ha!” moment in the Sahel desert that led her to shift career paths and become a midwife. During nursing and midwifery school, she serves as a doula and helps women plan for labor and birth. She now draws from her Peace Corps experience to connect with and care for women from diverse backgrounds in the U.S.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we are shining the spotlight on the maternal health work our Volunteers are doing around the world. Here’s a success story from two Peace Corps Volunteers in Albania!
Two years ago, Volunteer Barbara Stallings started a prenatal education program for expectant mothers and health professionals in her community. After her close of service, it was handed over to Volunteer Jessica Goodell, who continued to develop and grow the program.
Barbara found that the concept of childbirth education was a very novel one in her Albanian community, with many cultural barriers, leading to nervous expectant mothers who were more likely to have complications.
To address this issue, Barbara helped facilitate a program that successfully trained one Albanian “Childbirth Educator” with a background in nursing and physical therapy to teach classes. Eleven expectant mothers and one father participated in the classes. The participation of the one father during class is a separate success story itself!
After taking over the project, Jessica worked with Albania’s Ministry of Health, the Institute of Public Health and her local Directorate of Public Health to organize a “Childbirth Educator Training of Trainers” to increase the number of “Childbirth Educators” who can transfer skills and expand the scope of educated expectant mothers. She applied for accreditation through the Ministry of Health and was approved to conduct the training, with seven professional credit hours to incentivize health professionals to participate.
A total of 20 health professionals (nurse-midwives, midwives, nurses, and social workers) were successfully trained. Now there are twenty-one “Childbirth Educators” prepared to teach a childbirth education class to expectant mothers in this community.