Improving maternal and child health in rural Uganda through participatory development. Our mission is to empower women, improve health, and transform rural communities.
Safe Mothers, Safe Babies (SAFE for short) was founded with the mandate to improve maternal and neonatal health through projects conceived and implemented in true partnership with the citizens and professionals of the local communities in which SAFE operates. Originally a collegiate-based initiative of Vassar College founded in 2007–the Vassar Uganda Project–we have been working with the people of Uganda for 4.5 years, and have been working in Iganga District for 3.5 years. The Vassar Uganda Project became Safe Mothers, Safe Babies in 2009 when SAFE founder, Jacqueline (Law) Cutts, and a number of the SAFE volunteers graduated from Vassar College and established SAFE as an independent organization. SAFE still maintains a strong relationship with university students, and encourages the involvement of college students, graduate students, and PhD students from a variety of disciplines and institutions in our volunteer work. Our Vassar College legacy directly shaped who we are today. By studying development and its frequent failures to make tangible, sustainable change (including our own mistakes from when we first formed) with Vassar professors, we learned about participatory development — what we term our approach to seeking partners, not just participants in our target communities. This evolution also shaped our commitment to educating the rising generation about participatory development work, recognizing international and community development as mutual development, in which we, as development actors, learn as much (or probably more) from those we serve as we offer in return.
Q: Who do you serve?
A: Women and families in the Iganga District of Uganda.
Q: What are your organization’s plans for the future?
A: To extend our reach from 30,000 people impacted to 40,000 in 2013.