WHITE RIBBON ALLIANCE: Philomena's Story: Nothing About Us, Without Us - Global Impact

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WHITE RIBBON ALLIANCE: Philomena’s Story: Nothing About Us, Without Us

White Ribbon Alliance / Uganda
Citizens Hearing in Lira, Uganda on Women's Healthcare

My name is Okello Mary Philomena and I worked as a midwife for many years in rural communities in Uganda.

I am a woman, I am a mother, I am a health worker, and I live in the community that I serve. When I first learned about White Ribbon Alliance, I realized that I had found what I had long been looking for – a way to bridge the gap between the women and girls I helped every day as a midwife, and the decision-makers and policymakers who were really concerned about the health issues of women and wanted to make change.

It has been incredible seeing the work done locally, right here in Lira District, by White Ribbon Alliance.

Before White Ribbon Alliance’s advocacy efforts, the health center here had operating rooms and theaters that were nonfunctional: they lacked equipment, consistent electricity, and clean, running water, all the things that make a hospital a hospital were simply not there.

But, because of White Ribbon Alliance’s advocacy efforts, these health centers were made functional. Maternity wards that were incomplete for more than 10 years were completed. The emergency vehicle which was not working was made functional. Health workers were recruited and were working, where before we had a shortage of too few doctors and too few midwives.

Even more important than these efforts came from White Ribbon Alliance’s advocacy campaigns to make these changes lasting. White Ribbon Alliance was able to reach every single woman, child, and community member here through advocacy campaigns on the human right to healthcare, so that we all learned how to advocate for ourselves and to demand for our rights.

The advocacy work by White Ribbon Alliance included Citizens Hearings that emboldened the entire community and made sure that these health centers could never fall back into disrepair – the women here will simply not stand for anything less than they deserve, and that means a local health facility that provides quality, respectful healthcare services, always.

Through White Ribbon Alliance, politicians and leaders were able to sit and listen to what citizens had to say about their reproductive and maternal healthcare demands, and they acted on them. We have asked for and received these improvements because we realized our power and demanded accountability.
Because of these actions by White Ribbon Alliance, I have seen more change happen in the last two years than I have seen in the previous 40 years of my career. This is just the beginning – because we know that it is not just our right to be heard, but involving us, listening to us, is the only answer for long term, rapid and sustainable change for not just women and girls, but for us all.

Featured Client:

White Ribbon Alliance

Thematic Areas: