Mother's Night

Every year more than half a million women die due to pregnancy related causes. MDG5 aims for a reduction of the maternal mortality by 75% in 2015 compared to 1990. Many of the causes for death can be prevented by adequate pre- and postnatal care and adequate medical care during delivery.

Politicians have the mandate to create the preconditions in order to achieve MDG5. Mother's Night intends to bring this mandate under the attention of all the politicians and the public, as the political and public opinion needs to be fostered constantly so to keep MDG5 on the agenda.

Mother's Night is a public event during the night prior to Mother’s Day. For many, Mother’s Day is a happy day in which motherhood is being celebrated. Mother's Night is developed as a concept to inform and raise awareness among the wider public on the dangers of motherhood for women in developing countries. Also it should generate politic pressure via the public opinion in order to realize effective policies concerning MDG5 on the international level.

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Mother's Night has been organized in the Netherlands. In the past years the original Mother's Night event has grown out to events in 9 different regions, coordinated by the local branches of COS. Moreover a Mother's Night has been organized in Belgium, Germany, Malta, and Hungary. These Mother's Nights organized are part of the EU subsidized project Save Women’s Lives. MYBODY Pakistan organized a Mother's Night in Pakistan.

Within the MDG5 Meshwork the Mother's Night concept will be introduced in 10 developing countries in the following years.

The overall objective is to contribute to poverty reduction by promoting MDG5 (improving maternal health) through increasing public and political awareness and through influencing public and political opinion to foster and enhance support among decision makers (government officials on all levels and members of national parliamentarians) for policies that seek to improve maternal health.

Specific objectives to foster implementation of policies aiming at improving maternal health in the project countries are:
1. To organize the Mother's Night in The Netherlands and raise public and political awareness on MDG5;
2. To build and/or strengthen the advocacy capacity of partners in participating countries to advocate on MDG5;
3. To build and/or strengthen networks in participating countries with politicians, decision makers, journalists and other stakeholders to increase awareness on MDG5;
4. To create media momentum in 10 developing countries to raise public and political awareness and call for action to improve maternal health;
5. To develop a best practice to be able to multiply the Mother's Night campaign in more countries.

Partners within the project
In The Netherlands Mother's Night is being organized by a partnership of the following organizations: MYBODY, Rutgers Nisso Groep, NCDO, Cordaid, AMREF Flying Doctors, COS Netherlands, Royal Dutch Organization of Midwives (KNOV), Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Wemos, Simavi and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).

Upscaling of the Mother's Night through the partnership of these organizations and other stakeholders at country level will lead to a greater impact at decision making level.
Furthermore, it increases the financial power to organize the event and supporting activities.

The expected results after four years are:
• Increased awareness on MDG5 and a raise of budget for MDG5 in The Netherlands;
• Local NGOs have built and strengthened their advocacy capacity. The effectiveness of the advocacy efforts has increased;
• Local networks on MDG5 have been built and/or strengthened. Contacts between stakeholders have increased;
• Awareness campaigns for different target groups has been implemented. Mother's Nights have been organized and target group specific information materials have been prepared and distributed. The target groups are informed on the close link between improving maternal health and reducing poverty, they have taken a positive attitude towards the realization of MDG5 and they are willing to act;
• A best practice has been developed in close cooperation with local partners on how to implement public awareness campaigns in general and the Mother's Night campaign more specifically, being effective local advocacy instruments. The Mother's Night campaign has been developed in 10 countries.

In order to achieve these results, the following activities will be undertaken:
• Activities are set up to organize Mother's Night in The Netherlands, including advocacy;
• 10 developing countries are invited to participate in the Mother's Night campaign;
• Policy analysis has been evolved, resulting in a background paper and recommendations, fueling two (advocacy) workshops per country (prior and after the event);
• Stakeholders on the country level are involved in the Mother's Night event and regular contacts between stakeholders and NGOs take place;
• Development of programme and materials, organization of Mother's Night, and follow-up advocacy;
• Close monitoring and evaluation of activities mentioned above and documentation of best practices and lessons learned.