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Mothers in Yemen team up to keep their children healthy

A group of displaced mothers and their children attending a health session organized by the “Mother to Mother” club in Aden, Yemen.

Story by Marie Bracquemont, Reports Officer and Ansar Rasheed, Communication for Development Officer, UNICEF Field Office in Aden
Photography by Ansar Rasheed

Aden, Yemen, 22 April 2019 – Umm Ahmed is proudly wearing her Jaadatina badge, which represents much more than just a shiny piece of metal to her. “I was given this medal when I joined the club. With the other women, I go and speak to mothers like me, to spread messages about health and hygiene,” says Umm, who, like other mothers, became a role model in her community when she decided to support the Jaadati or “Mother to Mother”.

As a part of UNICEF efforts to prevent the spread of deadly diseases, such as cholera and acute watery diarrhoea, the Jaadatis are mothers that promote health and hygiene practices in eight cholera-affected districts of the southern governorates of Aden, Shabwah and Hadramaut, with a high number of displaced families, low immunization coverage and high malnutrition rates.

During awareness sessions and household visits, the women educate other mothers about child birth, child nutrition, breastfeeding, immunization, cholera prevention, safe sanitation and other lifesaving topics, so that their children can grow in a healthy environment. The club is also operating as a social platform to complement the education sessions and give an opportunity for the mothers to interact better and act together for behavior change. So far, eight clubs have been established composed of a total of 120 mothers selected and trained by UNICEF and its local partners on core family practices and community engagement.

A total of 120 mothers have been trained to take part in eight “Mother to Mother” clubs to educate mothers on health and nutrition practices in cholera high-risk districts in southern Yemen.

Umm Ahmed is one of the many Jaadatinas or club leaders who spread lifesaving messages in vulnerable communities in Aden. “As mothers, we have a key role to play to protect our children from diseases and change behaviors. This is our obligation and commitment as parents.”

“I came today to this session with my mother to protect ourselves better against cholera so we can stay healthy,” Husn, 8 years, lives in a centre for displaced families in Aden.

So far, 430 mothers were reached with the “Mother to Mother” clubs’ activities as of February 2019.

Asil, 5 years old, is one of the children benefiting from the education sessions carried out by the Jaadatis in Aden. His mother will now be more aware of what to do to protect him better against preventable diseases and monitor his nutrition so he can grow healthy and fulfill his potential.

The “Mother to Mother” clubs are being supported by DFID - UK Department for International Development and the Qatar Fund For Development, which are committed to protect child rights and achieve results for children in Yemen.



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