In 2018, Seattle-based fistula organization One By One (OBO) joined forces with WFF. The good work started by OBO in Kenya is carried on under the WFF name. WFF and OBO merged naturally because programming for each has always been based on the same philosophy: beyond funding, we strategically partner with local groups in low-resource countries to help locals address women’s healthcare needs. Together since 2018, we serve women and girls suffering from childbirth injuries. Our Kenya programming — as well as all our other programs — continue to draw on the support and expertise of the Seattle community that originally developed and launched it.
Let’s End Fistula Phase I
OBO launched Let’s End Fistula (Phase I) in 2011. OBO partnered with leading Kenyan fistula surgeon, Dr. Hillary Mabeya, to establish Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, the first facility in Kenya to provide year-round fistula care. Under the leadership of three extraordinary Kenyan women, we trained and mentored thirty Regional Representatives to serve as educators and advocates in their own rural communities. From 2011-2015, this team carried out 4,000 community education sessions, reaching 275,000 women, men and youth with information about fistula and the availability of free treatment. Over 1,000 women and girls received life-transforming treatment.
Let’s End Fistula Phase II
Building on the success of Let’s End Fistula (Phase I), OBO launched Phase ll in 2017, which continued under WFF in 2018. Phase II focuses on social reintegration and economic empowerment. In our 2017 pilot year, the dedicated leadership team and 28 Regional Representatives recruited 216 survivors to form 12 solidarity groups for mutual support in social reintegration and economic empowerment following surgical treatment. After submitting detailed business plans, each solidarity group received seed funds to launch their approved economic development initiative. A great deal of anecdotal evidence confirms the benefits of our program to survivors’ economic positions and quality of life.
We are currently quantifying our pilot year success through baseline and post-year data collected on the experience of each survivor.
Safe Motherhood: Preventing Obstetric Fistula
We believe fistula survivors are uniquely positioned to be powerful maternal health advocates who can make a vital contribution to end fistula. In 2018, WFF helped Sarah Omega, a fistula survivor who worked closely with OBO, establish the Let’s End Fistula Initiative (LEFI) as its own NGO. WFF then helped Sarah and her team launch Safe Motherhood: Preventing Obstetric Fistula. Safe Motherhoodis a childbirth injury prevention program. LEFI developed its maternal health curriculum filled with best practices to prevent injury and save lives. LEFI trained its Regional Representatives on the curriculum in October of 2018. Today, the 216 survivors part of our solidarity groups are teaching their communities Safe Motherhood.