Every year, more than five million children die before their fifth birthday and almost 300,000 women perish in connection to pregnancy and childbirth. The reasons for these tragedies are not primarily medical, but a matter of priorities and values. Social and cultural structures maintain destructive power relations, leaving the most vulnerable at risk.
In 2012, Siphilile Maternal and Child Health was established in the Kingdom of eSwatini, recruiting and training Mentor Mothers to be peer supporters in their own disadvantaged communities. By addressing culture and gender roles, the Mentor Mothers set an example of how maternal and child health can be improved through empowerment, realizing that power lies in the powerless, and that change starts at the margin.
This book is an account of the process to develop and establish Siphilile, and an outside perspective on the Swazi society and culture. By trying to understand a different culture we can get a new perspective on our own, discovering the social structures that bind us.