Baylor alumna awarded for helping expectant mothers in Kenya get access to healthcare
In 2014, we wrote about Jolene Damoiseaux, a Baylor senior who was researching maternal mortality and had traveled through Kenya with her student organization. While there, she met with expectant mothers who shared a common problem: getting to the hospital to give birth. The women faced an average hike of three miles through rough terrain — while pregnant, remember — to reach the closest health center when it was time to give birth.
After that trip, a $1,500 grant from the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative helped Damoiseaux turn her Honors College thesis project into “Mothers on the Move,” an organization that provides transportation to expectant mothers who would otherwise have none. When a woman goes into labor, she can call a hotline and arrange for a motorbike taxi to transport her to the health center.
Four years later, the project has won the Albert Schweitzer Prize Audience Award from the Nederlands Albert Schweitzer Fund, which provides money for local health projects in Africa.
“(Winning the award) was an opportunity to share what we do in Kenya and teach others about a world very different from their own, as well as show the impact that service can have,” she says. “Mothers On the Move is on the radar now, and this is just the beginning. I am so excited for all that is yet to come.”
The prize money from the Albert Schweitzer Prize Audience Award will go toward continuing to transport women to health centers. Today, Damoiseaux is studying midwifery at the Academy of Midwifery in Maastricht, the Netherlands, after which she plans to open a midwifery practice named — you guessed it — Mothers on the Move.
Sic ’em, Jolene and Mothers on the Move!