Inspiring Success Stories of how RIF project Changed this women’s Life.

W/r Mayrem Mohammed

During monitoring and supportive supervision on our Reproductive Innovative Fund (RIF) project in afar Region, community mobilization group activities – Be Model Woman (BMW), a group of volunteer women organized to raise knowledge and awareness in the pastoral community on the benefits of Reproductive Maternal and Neonatal Health (RMNH) services using different approaches.

The group invited us to visit a woman who has lived with prolapsed uterus for 12 years. The story deal directly with problem of home delivery by Traditional Birth Attendant (TBAs) and the impact RIF project has had in changing the pastoral communities’ attitudes toward RMNH issues and related health services, through addressing the misconceptions and lack of knowledge on the benefits of RMNH services, stigma related to fistula and prolapsed uterus and increasing awareness through social mobilization using the existing pastoral social networks called Dagu.

This is the story of w/r Mayrem Mohammed who has lived with prolapsed uterus for the past twelve years, hiding her problem undisclosed to her villagers. She said “I was prolapsed during the birth of my second child; the TBA who assisted me didn’t help or advise me on where to get the proper treatment, she only told me that my prolapsed uterus will recover after sometime, but it hasn’t.” She said that she had asked her husband repeatedly to take her for treatment but he refused and abandoned her with their two children and married another woman.

Mayrem lives in Ayssaita 01 kebele where TEA and AFDA RIF’s partnership project is being implemented; BMW group members organize coffee ceremonies to raise awareness on RMNH and related issues- fistula and harmful traditional practices (HTP). Mayrem had the opportunity to attend village coffee ceremony prepared by W/r Zehara Ali, BMW group member, she then disclosed her problem to W/r Zehara. W/r Zehara consulted her husband in regard to her treatment and asked his support which he refused. She then took her to Ayssaita Hospital where she was successfully treated, and brought the case of her husband’s neglect of his wife treatment for decade long, to Afar Traditional Governance System “Fe’ema” in their constituency. The ‘Fe’ema’ punished the husband and decided to pay moral compensation to his wife and they reconciled.

At the time of this report, Mayrem was four months pregnant and attending ANC and leading a happy life. She is grateful for the awareness and knowledge she gained by attending W/r Zehara’s coffee ceremony. “I did not know about reproductive health services and related issues –like my case, which for a long time thought it was a curse, but I have learn that it won’t happen again to any woman in my village,” she says. “My miserable life would have continued as it was in the past 12 years, if it wasn’t for W/r Zehara’s awareness raising events and dedication to stop pastoral women reproductive health problems.”