Who We Are
White Ribbon Alliance Malawi (WRA Malawi) was established by a powerful national network of maternal and newborn health advocates in 2002. WRA Malawi actively seeks inclusive participation of and partnership with women, men, families and communities, leveraging the power of a diverse membership to amplify the needs of citizens across sectors for greater change. Membership is comprised of civil society and community-based organizations, health professional associations, academia, media, politicians, faith-based groups, traditional leaders, and local government officials. WRA Malawi also operates at the subnational level through a network of WRA Malawi chapters, champions and local leaders who implement campaign activities and share messaging directly with citizens. Through amplifying women’s voices, WRA Malawi is accelerating progress to improve quality reproductive, maternal, and newborn health.
HOW WE ACHIEVE CHANGE
WRA Malawi employs innovative and effective advocacy and accountability strategies that put women and girls at the center. Using our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan as a roadmap, we educate and collaborate with women and girls to demand their rights to reproductive, maternal, and newborn health;, influence decision makers; generate evidence for advocacy, including documenting citizen demand; create links between communities and government for action planning and change; convene stakeholders; and activate media and champions. These strategies, in-turn, result not only in positive policy changes, but also concrete improvements in the lives of Malawi’s women, girls, and their communities.
CURRENT CAMPAIGNS AND PROGRAMS
WHAT WOMEN WANT CAMPAIGN (2018-ONGOING)
Igniting citizens and communities to demand their right to quality care is central to our campaigns and programs. The What Women Want campaign sparked a movement calling for policies, programs, and services to directly respond women and girls’ needs – as they define it. Women and girls have clearly articulated their needs – we’re delivering our promise for quality, equitable and dignified reproductive and maternal health care through enhancing resources, policies and accountability.
The Global What Women Want campaign convened more than 350 partners to collectively ask over one million women and girls worldwide about their top priority for quality maternal and reproductive healthcare services. WRA Malawi was a major mobilizer of responses, surveying 84,058 women and girls across Malawi. The top five What Women Want requests in Malawi were: 1) respectful and dignified care, 2) confidentiality and privacy, 3) improved health, well-being, maternal, reproductive, or general health services, 4) water, sanitation, and hygiene and 5) timely and attentive care.
WRA Malawi’s currently funded programs focus on influencing policies, mobilizing resources, and strengthening accountability mechanisms to improve reproductive, maternal, and newborn health and ultimately achieve What Women Want demands.
WRA Malawi leveraged women’s top demands from What Women Want to propel numerous achievements:
- MIDWIFERY: WRA Malawi’s ongoing midwifery advocacy, in collaboration with midwifery associations and champions, has strengthened the midwifery workforce and forged leadership opportunities. Specifically, more than 700 midwives have been hired since 2018, and in 2020, the Ministry of Health established the position of Chief Midwifery Officer in Malawi’s central hospitals.
- FAMILY PLANNING: WRA Malawi and partners’ persistent advocacy, backed by WWW demands, led to a 6% increase in the 2020/2021 Family Planning national budget.
- RESPECTFUL AND DIGNIFIED CARE: The Ministry of Health endorsed the Respectful Maternity Care Charter
- QUALITY OF CARE: Top demands from What Women Want on respectful and dignified care, confidentiality and privacy and water, sanitation and hygiene were incorporated in the Ministry of Health’s Quality of Care Assessment Tool for Maternal and Newborn Health services. This means the tool now measures quality care as women themselves define it.
- RMNCH AS ESSENTIAL SERVICES IN COVID-19: WRA Malawi informed the Ministry of Health’s Guidelines for Maternal and Newborn Health Services Including Family Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic, ensuring women’s requests for respectful and dignified care and water, sanitation and hygiene would be non-negotiable during the pandemic.
SAFER TOGETHER: Luseshelo Simwinga is a nurse and midwife working in Blantyre, Malawi. She shared her experiences as midwife providing care in the period of COVID-19. "I have put on a badge with the words “respect is a choice” on it. I put on this badge before every duty shift as I explain to my colleagues that they have to choose respect and provide respectful care to all pregnant women, fellow midwives and doctors regardless of their current mood, social standing, religious or economic background."
#MYEQUALITYDECLARATION: The My Equality Declaration campaign was launched in response to the cancellation of the 64th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2020. Catherine Mwale of Dowa district, Malawi shows her declaration.
LEAVING A LEGACY: On 25 February, 2020 the outgoing and long servicing Board Member for WRA Malawi, Madam Lennie Kamwendo presented a modern android phone to Likangala Chapter in Zomba district to aid their story capturing and reporting. It was a great moment for the Chapter members and WRA Malawi team.
CITIZEN'S HEARING: WRA Malawi conducted citizen's hearings (community Interface meeting) at Nasawa and Mayaka Health Centres in Zomba District. Responding to women's complaints, representative of health workers said that they will convene a meeting to discuss the issues raised by women and commended WRA Malawi for offering the platform to get feedback from their clients.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE MIDWIFE: White Ribbon Alliance Malawi supported and participated in commemoration of International Day of Midwives which took place at Matiya in Zomba district.
WHAT WOMEN WANT: WRA Malawi comes together to ask What Women Want for their maternal and reproductive health, gathering responses from women and girls all throughout the country.
RESPECTFUL MATERNITY CARE: A midwife in a local health center assists a new mother in breastfeeding.