In February, a tiny British charity launched its first public appeal hoping to raise funds to create pregnancy support groups in rural Kenya.
The idea of aid match is basically to help make sure that UK aid money is being spent where the British public want it to be spent, by matching pound-for-pound what the British public donates from the UK aid budget.
But according to Ellie Dawes, communications manager at Child.org, the charity “could scarcely have imagined the way that the UK parenting community have thrown themselves behind this appeal.”
If you’re not a parent yourself, you might not know quite how extensive the online parenting scene is. It’s a vibrant, growing industry — complete with significant high-level influencers — but, according to Adweek, it was essentially built out of a desire for community.
Together, in just three months, we raised £502,952.10 - from public donations, matched funding from the UK government and gift aid.— Childdotorg (@Childdotorg) July 16, 2019
Read about how we did it, and find out what's next for Team Mum: https://t.co/k2kcgxrXWB#teammum#ukaidmatchpic.twitter.com/99NBmBZzGl
And over the course of three months, that community went above and beyond to help bring support, community, education, and health support to new mothers and their babies in Meru, in Kenya.
Spearheaded by grassroots efforts from the online parenting community, the appeal saw a collaboration of 120 brands, influencers, and parents teaming up with Child.org.
One influencer, Mum Muddling Through, called on her audience to sell one thing and donate the money to the appeal; maternity-friendly clothes brand Clary & Peg launched a limited edition range in Kenyan prints; and comedy duo Scummy Mummies held a live podcast event at Vault Festival; while father-hood.co.uk published a blog post about “Why this dad is in Team Mum”; among many other efforts from UK parents.
Meanwhile, a group of bold mums joined TV presenter Cat Cubie to cycle across Kenya in support of the appeal. They arrived on Tuesday, and announced that the whole appeal had managed to smash its target — raising a total of £502,952 from donations, Gift Aid, and matched funding from the UK government.
ANNOUNCEMENT!— Childdotorg (@Childdotorg) July 16, 2019
Cherio, Francine and Marti recorded this vid in Meru to let you guys know how much we raised together during our Team Mum appeal (Feb-April). Including matched funding from the UK Gov through #ukaidmatch#teammumpic.twitter.com/DmCTUsxG5U
The funds raised by the appeal will now go to setting up the series of support groups for pregnant and new mums in Meru, which will launch in Kenya over the next year.
In Kenya, one in 26 babies will die before they reach their first birthday, according to the charity, partly due to problems with education about childbirth and newborn health, and partly because of mums being isolated and unconnected to local health services.
But by arming parents with vital health information and providing a solid support network, the experience of new mums and babies can be transformed.
As part of the programmes, each new mum will get some essentials to support her and her baby — including a weighing bag to help monitor the health of their baby.
They’ll learn about breastfeeding, safe sleeping, and what to expect during the birth and when they take the baby home, according to Child.org. And they’ll learn the warning signs to look out for — so they’ll know when to get medical assistance at every stage of pregnancy and early motherhood.
The projects will also provides a support system for young new mums, and a place to ask questions and talk about problems in safe, friendly environment.
“It seems it’s something we can all agree on — all mums, wherever they are, deserve access to the necessary information to keep themselves and their babies safe,” continued Dawes. “Anyone who can imagine giving birth in a remove rural environment with no internet access, no NCT classes, and no baby books to turn to can understand why this programme is so important.”
Thomas Muirhead, CEO of Child.org, added that smashing the target for fundraising would “give our small charity’s mother and baby programming a fantastic boost, and enable us to reach more mums and babies right when they most need our support.”