What is the Elizabeth Project?

After hearing from the angel that she would become pregnant, the scripture says that Mary didn't waste a minute but traveled straight to Elizabeth's house to share the incredible news!  Of course, God had already blessed Elizabeth with her own miracle...this post menopausal woman was also pregnant! 

To read the whole story go to Luke 1:  5-56.  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%201:%205-56&version=MSG

There is no doubt Mary and Elizabeth laughed together in wonder and amazement and talked late into the night about their pregnancies and expectations for their newborns.  They encouraged and gave compassionate understanding and support to each other.  They shared hope in a miracle!

The Elizabeth Project has been established under AIM International with the objective of providing practical, compassionate, educational programs to support mothers, babies and families in Eastern Africa.  This project gives women all over the world an opportunity to be directly involved in helping a mother in Africa... a declaration of hope, encouragement and empowerment to the women served. 

1.  Giving Birth-Lamaze Africa (GBLA)

After 12 years of working privately and in Nairobi hospitals to see childbirth education established in Kenya, we have recently piloted  a new training program for childbirth educators in East Africa.

In October 2010, Duke University Lamaze Childbirth Education Training Program sponsored a training seminar in Nairobi, Kenya.  An international team of childbirth educators developed “Giving Birth – Lamaze Africa”, a new training curriculum for childbirth educators in Africa.

To see a slide show of this seminar go to the following link and click "play": http://vimeo.com/16519265  

The evidence based curriculum meets all of the standards of Lamaze International.  Participants are trained and equipped to return to their communities and immediately implement childbirth education for women.

Sessions are divided between the “Why” (evidence based practice) and “How to” (practical skills) as well as focus on effective communication with the “Who” (interactive adult learning).  As part of the training participants are either provided with or shown how to create everything they need to teach the curriculum. 

Our goal is to keep seminar costs as low as possible which enables those who could not otherwise participate to come and be trained.

Here are some practical ways for you or your group to be involved:
  • Donate a doll for teaching purposes
  • Help make teaching aids for new childbirth educators
  • Help provide partial or full scholarships to train a new childbirth educator
  • Sponsor a workbook printing for a new seminar
  • Help with general program costs

2.  Breastfeeding Peer Support Program (BPSP)

We all know that breastfeeding is best for babies.  There are numerous research studies to support this.  Breastfeeding is even more important in the developing world where infants are at a much higher risk to infectious and water-born diseases.  

While most mothers in rural areas initiate breastfeeding after birth, misinformation about breastfeeding leads to early supplementation.  In Kenya, for example, many mothers believe that breast milk alone is inadequate for their newborn.

The Breastfeeding Peer Support Program prepares volunteer mothers to provide evidence based education, compassion and practical support for breastfeeding mothers.

BPSP is based on the concepts of the US Department of Health’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) breastfeeding peer counselor program.  The goal is to connect experienced, trained breastfeeding mothers with new breastfeeding mothers.

When problems arise that may be beyond the scope of training for the BPSP mother she then refers to a qualified midwife or lactation specialist.

BPSP also provides advanced support and training for midwives and lactation specialists to encourage networking, sharing of current information and continued skill development and professional growth in lactation support.

Here are some practical ways for you or you group to be involved:
  •       Provide partial or full scholarships to train a Breastfeeding Support Partner
  •       Sponsor a workbook printing for a new BPSP seminar
  •       Sponsor an advanced training seminar
  •       Help with general program costs

3.  Nacham Bereavement Support

The Old Testament word Nacham means to console, comfort, have compassion.  The goal of Nacham is to provide support for mothers, partners and families who experience early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or newborn death.  We will begin by offering training seminars for those who work directly with bereaved mothers and families…midwives, doulas, and other healthcare providers. 

This new program will help to gently address and hopefully reduce the stigma surrounding pregnancy loss.  It will also help to increase understanding and practical as well as spiritual and emotional support.  We want to encourage compassion and respect both for the mother and the lost child. We will also work with medical personnel and institutions to identify practical steps that can be taken to better support bereaved families.

As one practical expression of compassion and respect, Nacham will provide receiving blankets to be given to bereaved mothers.  Donors will be notified when their blanket has been distributed.

Here are some practical ways for you or you group to be involved:
  • Help provide partial or full scholarships for Nacham training
  • Sponsor a Nacham workbook printing
  • Donate a receiving blanket
  • Help with general program costs

 How can you make a difference in the life of a mother and child? 

Join the Elizabeth Project and be part of an army of women who want to use their gifts and abilities to invest and make a difference in the lives of other women!

For additional information please contact Jennifer Carroll at elizabethproject.africa@gmail.com.