Growing up in a developing country, Dominique Vidale-Plaza knows what it is like to have big dreams and to feel disempowered to achieve them. Believing that simple, community-based solutions can create incredible impact, she created the Kwetu Initiative to address the critical health issues of women in Mwenga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Reproductive and maternal health are significant issues for the DRC. In addition to the sexual violence it has become known for, it also has among the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. Most of these maternal deaths can be averted by ensuring that communities have access to equipped health centers that can provide emergency obstetric care.
The Kwetu Initiative will work in the Mwenga territory to equip a local clinic and village activists to prevent maternal deaths. The three key components of this initiative are: equipping a local facility with some critical pieces of equipment and medication, training the staff at the facility and other key local activists and leaders to become advocates for good reproductive health in their communities and creating a photo-series titled ‘Kwetu’ that will demonstrate what effective community partnership and development looks like.
Dominique explains that, “The Kwetu Initiative is part of my vision to ensure that rural and vulnerable women in the DRC have access to good, quality, empowering, reproductive health care in their own communities.”