With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Young Champions for Maternal Halth program will build and nurture a global community of young professionals whose vision and ambition lead them to devise entrepreneurial opportunities for systems change in the maternal health field. By engaging with Ashoka's famed social entrepreneurs on the ground, in desigining and re-designing concrete, innovative solutions addressing maternal health challenges, the Young Champions will acquire in-the-trenches experiences in a multi-directional effort (south-south, south-north and north-south) that will propel them to become leaders in their fields.
Using the Changemakers online competition platform that Ashoka has built, the MHTF and Ashoka will identify a vetted core group of 32 outstanding young public health and social science professionals each of whom will spend 9 months working with -- and being mentored by -- one of Ashoka's Fellows located in developing countries. The work-study programs will begin in September 2010 and wrap in in May 2011. Thorough evaluations of each Young Champions' project will be completed in September 2011.
Each Young Champion is excpected to provide a tangible solution to a specific maternal health challenge that the MHTF, EngenderHealth and Ashoka will jointly promote to the global maternal health community. Throughout their work-study, each Young Champion will be networked to the MHTF, Ashoka, and EngenderHealth communities where it is anticipated that sponsors of their work will be identified to sustain them long after their Young Championship tenure ends.<br /><br />
Maternal death and disability rates remain unacceptably high across the developing world. Every minute, a woman dies from complications related to childbirth or pregnancy. While most maternal deaths are preventable, poor health services, inadequate public policies, and scarce resources limit women's access to life-saving, high-quality care.
Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) at EngenderHealth serves as a catalyst to address this neglected global health challenge. The MHTFprovides a new forum dedicated specifically to maternal health, while reaching out to allied fields-including neonatal and child health, reproductive health, human rights, and HIV/AIDS-to devise solutions to maternal death and disability especially in developing countries.
Maternal health is a multi-generational challenge. Promising, young minds are crucial to fully addressing the array of causes and consequences of maternal death and disability. The MHTF has a strong mandate to apply a significant portion of its human and financial resources to nurturing a new cadre of maternal health experts. Ashoka and the MHTF are partnering to create the Young Champions for Maternal Health program, utilizing Ashoka's expertise in identifying and nurturing social entrepreneurs to be powerful agents of change in their communities and beyond.
SEEKING: financial assistance, best practice information, media and marketing opportunities. EngenderHealth would welcome introductions to potential donors and partners who are interested in collaborating with an organization with global technical expertise in reproductive health and maternal health programming.
OFFERING: financial assistance, implementing partnership, best practice information. The Maternal Health Take Force has committed $1.7 million to Ashoka to implement the Young Champions program.