Empowerment for Pregnant Mothers Through the Use of Educational Campaigns

The idea of attempting to change potential harmful maternal social norms in developing countries has come up multiple times in class discussion. How effective and, in a way, how ethical is it to try and change a social norm or local custom that may lead to poorer maternal health outcomes?

An article I have read recently discussed the role of educational campaigns with a focus on human rights and empowerment on changing potentially harmful social norms. One such custom that was mentioned was from Senegal, where women believed that working harder than normal during pregnancy would lead to a brighter future for their child. As has been mentioned in class, overworking mothers during their pregnancy can have detrimental health outcomes for themselves and their unborn child. Changing this norm appeared to be imperative to bettering maternal health outcomes in the community.

But westerners can’t just go in and tell pregnant mothers that their customs are wrong and hope that they will change their ways. Mothers should be provided with better information through educational campaigns so they can make the best decision for themselves. In this way, mothers may feel more empowered and wouldn’t feel as if foreigners are telling them how to live their life.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/molly-melching/jnj-tostan-maternal-health-social-norms_b_3390216.html

One thought on “Empowerment for Pregnant Mothers Through the Use of Educational Campaigns

  1. Hi Eric,

    I think you make a really great point here about the importance (and power) of education. I think your point also ties in to our discussion on community mobilization and reflects the importance of engaging community members and allowing them to be the primary stakeholders in promoting change. I adamantly believe that when we engage community members and provide them with education, resources, and skills to analyze issues, ask questions, and search for answers (rather than asking the questions or offering solutions for them) they are more empowered to create change. In regards to maternal care, I think our role (as health providers, policy makers, etc.) should be not to enter other cultures and directly improve (change) maternal care, but to provide the means for which people can recognize areas of need in themselves (and their community) and then work to reshape how care is provided. In other words, we should guide rather than impose.

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