Mall of Mom

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By: Martha Fikre Adenew, Young Champion of Maternal Health

This blog post was contributed by Martha Fikre Adenew, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.

As I was saying in my last blog post, there are different places and ways to learn and acquire knowledge aside from Birthing Project (my placement). When you see the title ‘Mall of Mom’ you may think about a trade center somewhere in the US. It seems like it, but it is different from commercial one. The ‘Mall of Mom’ I am talking about is found in the office of New Orleans Healthy Start which is one of the big partners of the Birthing Project. Healthy Start is an organization established by the Health Resources Administration, for states that have higher infant mortality. The organization serves mothers with low income, for healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The organization has an interesting way of motivating mothers to come to attend different important classes (like Prenatal, Parenting classes, etc.) during their pregnancy and after the baby is born. For every class the mothers attend they get some points which are accumulated and enable them to trade different baby stuffs from the ‘Mall of Mom’. The kind of the baby stuff they get depends on the amount of points they get from attending classes. The more points they have, the better stuff they will get. For me this is an interesting kind of incentive where mothers will be attracted and benefited.

December was a month with lots of pleasant and exciting moments (thanks to Ashoka), including a re-union with family in the US after ten years apart, and hanging out with many Ethiopians after four months without an Ethiopian community. This does not mean the other months were not pleasant; the previous months were truly very fruitful. Since December is my special month (my birthday), I was lucky enough to spend this time of the year in a special way in a place other than my country. I was spending the holidays in the other side of the US, from south (New Orleans) to north (Indianapolis). It was a different experience with the snow and freezing cold weather. It was far different from my country and my placement which gives my heart bliss. I am sure the rest of my mentorship time will be interesting and educating.