An academic by nature, Julianne first became interested in Africa as an undergraduate art history student. Her interest grew as she began studying public health in Africa as a master’s student and, after working as a project coordinator at a hospital in Niger, Julianne saw an opportunity to improve post-operative training for women suffering from fistula. Her Young Champion idea leverages resources already in place to provide higher impact training for women who have suffered from fistula. Many hospitals in Niger already use Peace Corps volunteers and trained health professionals as general public health educators. Julianne proposes expanding these educators’ roles to conduct non-compulsory, comprehensive trainings on fistula prevention for post-operative fistula survivors. These trainings would serve to not only improve birthing safety for individual women but also for their families and communities.


Raquel Barros is rehabilitating young, low-income, chemically dependent mothers, an underserved population in Brazil. By allowing mothers to keep their children with them during treatment, Raquel is changing the model of drug rehabilitation into a more effective treatment. This model prepares women to become responsible parents, helps them to find employment and creates mechanisms for involving community members in the rehabilitation process, thus facilitating women’s reentry into society. Raquel has designed a therapeutic method that works for chemically dependent mothers and has integrated this methodology into a community-based approach for promoting social reintegration based on the needs of the local community.

To read more about Raquel’s work, click here.


Julianne Parker will work with Lua Nova to create a more robust strategy around maternal health for young mothers at risk. First, she will provide support to young mothers and pregnant women who are socially vulnerable by bringing them together in support groups and introducing them to Lua Nova’s work. Julianne will also work to produce and distribute didactic materials specifically related to maternity and maternal health. Within the Lua Nova structure, Julianne will work with existing groups of mothers to make and sell slings as a means of generating income to support their health and economic well-being and better reintegrate into society. Julianne will also help develop an evaluation strategy to measure the validity of Lua Nova’s approach to develop the social and emotional well-being of mothers and children at risk.