Importance of Investing in Women and Girls
A lack of access to safe water disproportionately affects women and girls. Women carry the main burden of collecting water, which impacts time available for school or income generation. Many women also face challenges managing menstrual health and hygiene in areas where there are no safe toilets or water, and the topic is often taboo.
Investing in women and girls through education, safe water and access to comprehensive women’s, maternal and newborn health care is part of the same goal: to support positive change in the communities where we work. We see these as opportunities, not costs.
EMUSANDA MATERNITY WARD
On International Women’s Day in 2018, LifeStraw’s parent company, Vestergaard opened the doors of a donated 12-bed maternity ward in western Kenya’s Lurambi sub-county. The ward, equipped with technologies previously unavailable in this region of Kenya, provide high quality maternal and neonatal healthcare to the rural women of this community. The opening of the Emusanda Maternity Ward signals Vestergaard and LifeStraw’s long-standing commitment to the health and well-being of this community, and especially women and girls, and its long-standing relationship with the government of Kenya.
A 10-YEAR COMMITMENT
The maternity ward was donated 10 years after Vestergaard’s initial work in Lurambi, where they implemented an integrated prevention campaign, providing voluntary testing and counseling for HIV/AIDS with the distribution of a CarePack of health tools (bednets, water filters, condoms and educational materials). More than 49,000 people received counseling and testing within a 7-day period. Due to the higher than expected rates of HIV infection identified during this campaign, Vestergaard provided further support to the Government of Kenya and the local community by building Emusanda Health Clinic and Comprehensive Care Center, which provides primary and HIV care services.
LifeStraw is dedicated to empowering women and girls in our programming, through employment of local women and creation of women leaders among our local staff; support of local, women-led groups; emphasis on shared water responsibilities; implementation of menstrual hygiene projects.