Safe Birth Project

Safe Birth Project

Palestinian Territory
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

MADRE and our partners, Midwives for Peace, are piloting a project focusing on midwives using skin-to-skin methods with newborns in Palestine and Israel. We have reduced maternal and infant mortality using "safe delivery kits" that enable Palestinian women who are in labor to deliver safely at home with the assistance of trained midwives. This reduces the risks of complications arising from delays at Israeli military roadblocks and checkpoints while women are en route to area hospitals.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Israeli-imposed restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement, coupled with intermittent military attacks, threaten the rights and well-being of Palestinian women, with particular consequences to women's reproductive health. The Israeli military has destroyed or barricaded thousands of roads in the West Bank, making it difficult for Palestinian women who are in labor to reach hospitals. Ambulances are regularly detained by soldiers at checkpoints. Within the first four years of the second intifada, 61 Palestinian women were forced to give birth at Israeli military checkpoints, resulting in the deaths of 20 women and 36 infants. There has been almost a fivefold increase in the number of pregnant women who received no prenatal care due to movement restrictions on women and healthcare providers. There has also been a dramatic increase in births that take place in unsafe conditions or without a skilled health worker, increasing in the danger to women during pregnancy and childbirth, and creating enormous psychological strain for women.
About You
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Your idea
Country your work focuses on
What makes your idea unique?

By bringing together women from opposite sides of the Israel-Palestine border, the Safe Birth Project is able to fulfill an urgent humanitarian need, promote reproductive rights and build peace.

MADRE and Midwives for Peace recognize the many different ways that war impacts women's human rights and gender relations. The Safe Birth Project works to enhance women's capacities to prevent, survive, resolve and recover from situations of armed conflict. The project focuses on not only improving the maternal health of women living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory but also fosters peace and understanding between midwives and women in both Israel and Palestine.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

What impact have you had?

Midwives trained through Midwives for Peace have helped hundreds of women safely deliver their babies without risking their health at checkpoints or overburdening hospitals that have limited resources. Certified, well-equipped midwives help ensure healthy births for women and their babies. And midwives give women the support they need for a joyful, empowering experience of childbirth.


MADRE is supporting a grassroots group of Palestinian and Israeli midwives who have come together to act on their commitment to their profession and to peace.

They are working side by side to:

• develop updated standards of midwifery practice
• create joint professional trainings and workshops for Palestinian and Israeli midwives
• deliver healthy babies and ensure that childbirth is a joyful happy, healthy occasion for every woman


• Maternal and infant mortality are reduced by "safe delivery kits" that MADRE has provided to midwives in the West Bank.
• The health of mothers and newborns is improved as the midwives provide women with personalized healthcare counseling and postpartum health education on breastfeeding, hygiene, infant care and family planning.
• Women’s access to family planning is expanded. A MADRE delivery of 15,000 condoms is being distributed by midwives who offer workshops on preventing unwanted and high-risk pregnancies.
• Despite the ongoing conflict, Palestinian and Israeli midwives are able to work cooperatively to share skills and midwifery techniques that save lives and improve maternal health.
• Women have increased access to well-trained midwives in their communities, lowering the risk associated with the difficult trips to the hospitals through heavily barricaded checkpoints.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

Over the next three years, we would like to increase the number of midwives participating in meetings, workshops and field activities, and increase the overall capacity of Midwives for Peace. We would also like to train midwives to use ultrasound equipment and apply IUDs in order to provide a broader range of reproductive health services.

We would also like to expand the project to different areas in Palestine, and coordinate with other local organizations to collect data and evaluate home birth activities.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Our mobile team of midwives is equipped to work within the restrictions on the ground in Palestine, but this project will not thrive unless it has adequate funding for its activities.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.


How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have a non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have a non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Does your organization have a non-monetary partnerships with government?

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

MADRE partners with community-based women's organizations that share our vision of a world where all people enjoy the full range of human rights. MADRE works with our sister organizations to meet urgent needs in their communities and enhance women's capacity to create positive social change.

Based on the priorities of our sister organizations, MADRE offers women capacity-building and leadership development; strengthens progressive community-based institutions; and facilitates alliances and dialogue among social movements.

MADRE believes that community-based organizations are best situated to identify and meet the needs of the women and families they serve because they have a first-hand understanding of local conditions. Unfortunately, small, locally based groups often lack the resources, expertise and organizational support needed to implement and develop effective programs.

By working in partnership with MADRE, our sister organizations are able to build programs based on their own initiatives and perspectives while benefiting from the resources, training and technical support that a leading international women's human rights organization can provide.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

In order to grow the Safe Birth Project, MADRE will need to assist Midwives for Peace in increasing its base of support, creating stronger alliances with local and international NGOs and increasing the number of midwives providing reproductive health services, while also ensuring that midwives receive fair pay and have good working conditions.

The Story
What was the defining moment that you led to this innovation?

If we look closely, we see that all mothers on this earth, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, all experience the same stages of pregnancy, pain through all steps of delivery and the same moments of happiness at the end.A woman, any woman, deserves attention, care and support from the community. This should be beyond nationality and religion. Peace and security are key words for all women.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Ayshe Saifi is a dedicated women’s health professional and the Palestinian coordinator of Midwives for Peace. Ayshe has been working with women and children in different communities for 25 years, providing direct services and doing community organizing around issues of early marriage, domestic violence, child abuse and family planning.

Ayshe has expertise in prenatal and postnatal care, chronic disease prevention, home health care delivery and follow up for high-risk cases. She has degrees in midwifery and nursing from Bethlehem University, as well as an MBA from York University. She also has specialized training in neonatal resuscitation, advanced life support in obstetrics, and vaccination and immunization.

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