Partnering to improve maternal health
By working with agencies like UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, Zonta International can achieve its mission and goals and have a greater impact throughout the world. UNFPA, in particular, is an ideal partner in that its scope of work aligns with Zonta’s mission and objectives. UNFPA’s objectives include delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. Promoting gender equality and women’s human rights and improving maternal health–all essential to achieving these objectives–are equally important to Zonta.
Eliminating fistula and improving maternal health in Liberia
UNFPA and partners launched the Campaign to End Fistula in 2003, with the goal of making fistula as rare in developing countries as it is in industrialized countries. The Campaign is now active in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Arab region and Latin America, where it focuses on prevention, treatment and social reintegration.
Sharing UNFPA’s commitment to improving maternal health and ensuring women have access to quality maternal health services, Zonta International made its first contribution of $450,000 to support the Liberia Fistula Project in 2008. Since then, Zonta International has committed an additional $2.1 million for efforts to eliminate fistula and improve maternal health in Liberia.
“The time has come to end fistula and root out the circumstances that perpetuate it, including poverty, lack of health care, child marriage and early childbearing. UNFPA’s partnership with Zonta International is instrumental in helping stop fistula and restore the health, well-being and dignity of women and girls. When women and girls thrive, so do their communities and nations.”
-UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin
Delaying child marriage in Niger
Zonta International continued its support of the Liberia Fistula Project between 2014-2016, but also expanded its partnership with UNFPA to focus on the widespread problem of child marriage in Niger, where 76 per cent of girls are married by age 18 and 28 per cent by age 15. Zonta International and UNFPA are working together to improve the health of adolescent girls in Niger, ensuring they have access to education, protecting them from violence, and empowering them by giving them access to female mentors and leaders. Zonta will support UNFPA Niger in advocating at the national level to raise the legal age for marriage to 18 and to support girls at risk of child marriage in the most remote communities.