MOMS Program

MOMS works with women, health care workers, and local leaders to reduce maternal and newborn mortality among those with the fewest choices.  

Because MOMS hopes to reach people with fewest choices, we choose to work in the poorest parts of the world.  We went to Sierra Leone when we were invited, as it was listed as the poorest country on earth and had the world’s worst maternal mortality rates.  We went to the poorest corner of the country. Centuries of colonialism, exploitation, poverty, and war, and the lack of education, infrastructure, and opportunity combine to effectively eliminate options for millions of women. 

MOMS values collaboration with other non-profits, leveraging each others’ strengths.  Among others, we have worked with the following local and international agencies:

  • One Village Partners
  • Sierra Leone Village Partnership
  • Transparency International - Sierra Leone
  • Men Advocating for Gender Equality
  • Health For All Coalition, Sierra Leone
  • Rural Health Care Initiative, Sierra Leone
  • Circle of Health International
  • Friends of Ruwenzori
  • Friends of Sierra Leone
  • Kitojo Integrated Development Association

What we do

Small teams (one to three people) travel to Sierra Leone twice each year for about two months.  We teach birth attendants to make significant changes in their communities. 

Each team works diligently to build rapport and credibility, modeling behavior, especially the style of teaching and providing care.  Key in this is showing patient, careful explanations of the “whys” in both the classroom and the clinic.

MOMS teams have worked in 18 sites in four districts in the south and east of Sierra Leone, training about 750 people.  (See maps here)

Kailahun District

  • Pellie (twice)
  • Jokibu
  • Daru (twice)
  • Ngolahun (twice)
  • Gbalahun
  • Segbwema

Pujehun District

  • Jendema
  • Blama-Massaquoi
  • Massam

Bo District

  • Tikonko
  • Kassama
  • Gerihun
  • Gbaiima-Songa
  • Gondoma

Kenema District

  • Sendumie
  • Gondorhun
  • Largo
  • Talia

Each of these classes draws from a catchment area of 5 to 15 more villages, so we have reached about 150 villages, with over 50,000 women.

How we work

MOMS receives invitations from District Medical Teams to teach in areas of great need, usually two adjacent sites, then we build a partnership with the people at the training sites.  The community leaders, clinic staff, birth attendants, and representatives of women’s groups meet with us several times to clarify roles and responsibilities.  They also choose who will attend the class.  All parties make a firm commitment to the partnership.  

A small team of fully qualified, skilled teachers travels to the training sites to hold the class, which lasts almost four weeks.  The team teaches learners four things:

  • Serve as a bridge between the people of their community and the nearest clinic.
  • Teach women and girls, especially, about health.
  • Act as a change agent to improve life in the community.
  • Provide sound maternity care, under the guidance of the clinic staff.

After learners pass the rigorous exam and attend practica to demonstrate their hands-on skills, they receive a government-authorized certificate as a MOMS Community Health Worker.

At the end of the training, the women at each site organize themselves into one or more groups.  MOMS staff helps with this organizing work, then gives a micro grant for the women to create a self-sustaining business.  This is often a garden or produce wholesaling venture.  When profits come in, the women can divide the proceeds.  In some cases, they lend money to women needing transportation to the hospital; the family pays back this loan by working in the business.   

MOMS teams do not just parachute in, do their thing, then leave.  The relationship continues — a unique feature of MOMS model.  

  • MOMS Sierra Leonean staff visits the groups monthly during the dry season to monitor progress, answer questions, celebrate, and continue building the partnership.  
  • When a MOMS teaching team comes to teach the next group, the team visits previous groups to conduct continuing education and provide support.  
  • About every two years, while a MOMS team is in Sierra Leone, all the women gather for a Jamboree, a time of celebration and continuing education.  

Each group elects leaders who serve on MOMS Leadership Council.  This group meets regularly to set strategy, solve problems, and encourage each other.  

Thus, the birth attendants become Community Health Workers, gain an income, and support other women in need.  They gain a much-valued skill and become economically independent.  Their neighbors receive thoughtful, evidence-based maternity care and have a role model to guide them to better health.  They share their hope and pride with their community!

For those who like pictures, here is a diagram of MOMS Model.  

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            © Midwives on Missions of Service  2022.                        Trish@MOMS-Midwives.org                         PO Box 1656, Gualala, CA. 95445