Uniting local stakeholders for multi-level intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Eastern Congo Initiative (A Project of New Venture Fund)
Organization Location: 
Washington, DC USA

This consortium will test a set of empowerment innovations for pregnant women through Safe Motherhood Solidarity Groups on Idjwi Island in Democratic Republic of Congo focusing on three strategic interventions: 1) Providing women with financial autonomy through the creation of community insurance programs that will enable access to all needed services for mothers and newborns in health centers, 2) enabling communities to actively design feasible, home-based maternal and neonatal assessment tools to monitor outcomes through the implementation of a participatory communication model, and 3) training and equipping health centers, including Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and communities as partners in the delivery system.

The project provides the opportunity to understand the poor rate of maternal service uptake on Idjwi Island. Idjwi-specific rates are often masked by the use of aggregated data, which show a seemingly high percentage (85%) of attended births in the province. Due to major demographic differences between inland provincial locations and Idjwi--which is not organized by villages and suffers from a severely sparse distribution of health centers--disaggregated data is needed to understand true vulnerability. By targeting a highly vulnerable population, this project expects to register significant increases in survival rates. Data produced at the island-level will allow for an empirical test of the extent to which rates of service uptake and mortality on Idjwi significantly affect the aggregated rates observed at the provincial-level.

The proposal targets behavioral, financial, and technical determinants in an integrated and unique manner to holistically address the variety of factors affecting uptake.