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home Publications In the News Seattle, Chicago Area Nonprofits Combine To Stop Injuries Devastating Women

In the News

Seattle, Chicago Area Nonprofits Combine To Stop Injuries Devastating Women

March 16, 2018

photo by Joni Kabana

Schaumburg, Ill. — One By One (OBO) and Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF) will join forces to help more women living with childbirth injuries such as fistula, a preventable condition that leaves poor women constantly leaking urine or feces.

Combining the organizations will be most beneficial to survivors, who will witness program expansion and receive optimized care, said OBO Board Chair Barb Gauld.

“Both OBO and WFF are long-time champions of holistic treatment and prevention of obstetric fistula in Africa,” Gauld said. “It makes perfect sense for us to combine our expertise and passion under one organization dedicated to fighting fistula and other devastating childbirth injuries with our proven methods of care.”

The WFF Board elected new members to its ranks from OBO in February including Gauld, Susan Brown, Drew Arenth, and Dr. Kathleen Davis.

Board members and volunteers from both organizations will be recruited to 10 Board committees encompassing issues such as Policy, Development, Programming, Strategic Planning, and Branding. WFF Executive Director Soja Orlowski will lead operations for the combined organization under WFF, headquartered just outside Chicago.

Dr. Christopher Payne remains WFF Board Chair and Board Officers remain in their current roles.

“WFF has been focused on capacity building — supporting local people in solving complex problems by providing funding, training, and expertise,” Payne said. “We see similar values in One By One. They form deep relationships with their grantees and work together toward solutions. Our shared goals and values are allowing us to orchestrate a smooth transition to one organization.”

A combined WFF will incorporate OBO’s programming in Kenya to its current work in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Niger, and Uganda. The two organizations will officially combine in May.

The United Nations estimates at least one million women worldwide currently suffer from obstetric fistula. A fistula is an immediate result of the trauma from prolonged, obstructed childbirth that is most prevalent in developing countries where access to maternal health care is limited.

The two organizations are excited to continue to employ a holistic approach to treatment and invest in health care capacity building projects for low-resource countries.

Join the combined organization at upcoming events in Chicago on May 17 and in Seattle on May 23 to support women and girls in need.


About Worldwide Fistula Fund
Founded in 1995 and originally a St. Louis-based fistula organization, Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF) now engages a generous international donor base and Board dedicated to preventing and treating childbirth injuries including fistula. WFF supports holistic care for women and health care capacity-building programs. WFF built the Danja Fistula Center in Niger and develops multiple specialty medical training programs in Ethiopia. A longtime supporter of TERREWODE in Uganda, WFF launched its whole woman approach to care in Burkina Faso in 2017. WFF is headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill.

About One by One
Over the past 12 years, One By One (OBO) has grown from a small project started by two women in a Seattle kitchen to a respected global fistula organization that has helped thousands of women across six countries. OBO helped define best practices for holistic care to develop model fistula programs in Kenya. The Kenya programs build awareness of fistula treatment and identify women needing treatment. The women are then connected with free surgeries, survivor networks, and reintegration training. OBO’s impact could not have been achieved without generous supporters, particularly from Seattle, a key community supporting ongoing investment in global health initiatives. OBO is headquartered in Seattle.

For media inquiries, please contact Erin Kelly at (847) 264-5972 or erin@wffund.org
Twitter: @fistulafund | Facebook: @WorldwideFistulaFund