It is my pleasure to present to you The Liya Kebede Foundation. The staff are welcoming and hardworking. The website is informative and well presented. The Foundation is life changing and awe inspiring. How wonderful to be able to interview a foundation that advocates, educates and serves to improve the health of mothers and children worldwide. Below you can see our interview with The Liya Kebede Foundation. We have also included the foundation’s website, their Facebook page, a blog post highlighting Liya Kebede the Super Model & activist as well as her starring role in the new movie Desert Flower.
Can you give us some history about the Foundation such as when and how it started as well as the areas of Ethiopia being helped?
I was approached in 2005 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be their Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. I accepted and traveled with them to meet health workers all over the world who struggle with little to no equipment or medicines to save lives. I met children who lost their mothers and husbands who lost their wives. I had the privilege to tell their stories to world leaders and advocate for maternal health.
And as I shared my stories about what I’d seen, I realized that I needed to create a way for people who realize how wrong this is to get involved. Soon after, I launched the Liya Kebede Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to reduce maternal mortality worldwide. We work to educate policy makers about maternal mortality and to prioritize maternal newborn and child health on their agenda; to promote proven, low-cost strategies to save the lives; and to support training programs to educate health workers and increase the capacity of the health care system.
What are your goals for this year and next year? What progress do you want to see or accomplish in your organization’s future goals?
Ethiopia is currently increasing its health care infrastructure at a rapid pace, with great success, and the Foundation is supporting this effort by targeting two new health care facilities—Durame Hospital and Awassa Maternal Health Clinic. We work to ensure the facilities have the supplies and equipment they need, that they have medical personnel who are properly trained in emergency obstetric care, and that the population living in the surrounding regions can access these facilities.
We will continue to support these projects, and take the lessons we learn and incorporate them into our advocacy work. Our goal is for these projects to be self-sustaining, and for the Foundation to continue to find ways to work with community partners and the Ministry of Health to create a health care system that meets the needs of pregnant women and mothers.
Have you had any difficulties with facilitating this organization or is there something you have learned during this process?
We continue to believe it is best to work with on-the-ground partners in Ethiopia to implement the specific health care initiatives, and for the focus of the Foundation to be on advocacy and financial support.
Is there anything you would like to add that you feel is important to mention?
We are encouraged by the recent attention and focus on addressing maternal mortality, and strongly believe this is a largely preventable tragedy. There are proven low-cost interventions that save mothers’ lives, and we need our mothers to ensure our children, our families and our communities can thrive.