Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day - 2013

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to someone very important to us.
 
Meet Ibada. 
At 26, Ibada is the youngest sibling of Alaffia founder Olowo-n’djo Tchala.  If you’re familiar with Alaffia, you are likely already familiar with her life work.  Ibada is Alaffia’s Community Project Director in Togo, and oversees everything that is related to our Community Empowerment Projects.

“Though she is “the baby” of the family, Ibada conducts life as if she were 50.  She is far beyond her years, and has accomplished more than I could have ever hoped, or even imagined” says Olowo-n’djo.

Before working with Alaffia, Ibada trained and worked as a midwife in many different parts of Togo.  In West Africa, 1 in 13 women die in childbirth from complications that could be avoided with basic maternal care. Midwives and adequate medical facilities are few and far between in rural Togo. Ibada devoted herself to helping women across the borders of different villages all throughout Togo. Through her experience she developed a deep understanding of Togolese women’s unique needs.  She also gained experience helping women who have been subject to female circumcision, and developed what Olowo-n’djo calls “a loud voice” about the matter.  She became passionate about reaching out to women who have been circumcised and are thus at higher risk for life threatening complications in childbirth. This was the beginning of Ibada’s work with our Community Projects.



Today, Ibada directly manages a team of 9, including the coordinators for our Bicycles for Education Program, School Supplies Program, Reforestation Program, and of course our Maternal Health Program.  She is closely involved with all of our Community Empowerment endeavors and oversees the entire operation.  Ibada collects follow up data on all of our bike recipients, mothers and babies to best measure the impact these projects are having in their lives and throughout our Togolese communities.  We must create balance that is diverse and free of bias.  Ibada ensures we’re reaching the greatest needs in every village and community. 

Ibada opening medical supplies at a Maternal Health Clinic
For the past couple of years, Ibada has begun to gear part of our Maternal Health Program to specifically reaching women who have undergone circumcision.  This is an extremely sensitive, tedious process as it is a highly controversial issue.  Ibada gains trust with village leaders and chiefs so she may be allowed to speak to the women about female circumcision; educating them about the risks they face in child birth and giving them access to the maternal health care they need.

Hundreds of lives have been spared through this process, and this tier of our Maternal Health Program is growing. 


Ibada and a Maternal Health Clinic employee
 
Today, we celebrate the work and accomplishment of this powerful young woman.  Her life proves that focusing time and energy toward making a positive change can leave an immeasurable impact, for generations to come. 

Ibada with her brother Olowo-n'djo, and women who are part of our Maternal Health Program
 
 As always, we thank you for your support that makes the impact of her work greater with each passing year.
 
Learn more about how your support of Alaffia is empowering our Togolese Communities: http://www.alaffia.com/
 

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