Lwala Community Alliance Announced as Lead Recipient of $12 Million Maternal & Infant Health Award

Lwala Community Alliance is recognized for its pioneering, community-led health model in rural Kenya. Babies and Mothers Alive Foundation and Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq also receive grant funding for their work to support maternal and infant health.

Chicago, Illinois, October 10, 2023 – Today, The Patchwork Collective, Lever for Change, and ICONIQ Impact, ICONIQ Capital’s platform for collaborative philanthropy, announced three awardees for the Maternal & Infant Health Award. The award is a $12 million grant competition designed to aid innovative, community-led organizations in providing women with access to safe, equitable, and quality maternal healthcare, with the goal of reducing maternal and infant mortality worldwide.

Lwala Community Alliance (Lwala), in partnership with Dandelion Africa, was selected by The Patchwork Collective as the recipient of the award’s lead $9 million grant for their work scaling community-led health in rural Kenya. However, upon reviewing the finalists’ proposals, The Patchwork Collective was so impressed by the quality and promise of two additional submissions, that they have chosen to award the Babies and Mothers Alive Foundation (BAMA) and Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq each with a $1 million grant, bringing the award’s total from $10 million to $12 million (as part of the award, each of the five finalist organizations received a one-time $200,000 planning grant, which provided capacity-building support and compensation for the time and resources required to develop their proposals).

“The Patchwork Collective is overjoyed to provide funding to each of these organizations, all of which are working tirelessly to reach women in remote regions with healthcare that's effective and culturally resonant,” said Marie Dageville, co-founder of The Patchwork Collective. “No family should suffer the loss of a mother or child, yet tragically most maternal and infant deaths stem from a detectable and treatable complication. If this award helps ensure the survival of even one woman or child, it will be worth it.”

Over the last 10 years, advanced research and technological breakthroughs have led to a global decline in maternal and infant mortality. Yet, critical treatments, innovations, and resources remain out of reach for women, children, and communities most in need, and women in low-resource communities continue to die at rates far surpassing the rest of the world. It’s estimated that if these innovations were made accessible to those who need them most, nearly 2 million lives could be saved. In Kenya, where Lwala operates, marginalized communities bear the highest burden, with just 15 of Kenya’s 47 counties comprising nearly 99% of all maternal deaths. In Guatemala, where Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq operates, maternal mortality rates are the highest in Latin America, and Maya women continue to die during childbirth three times more often than non-indigenous women.

The awardees, all focused on reducing maternal and infant mortality, will receive funding for the following projects:

Scaling Community-led Health, Improving Maternal and Infant Outcomes in Kenya: ($9 million) Lwala Community Alliance and Dandelion Africa—both Kenyan-founded organizations—will scale their community-led health model in three high-burden, rural Kenyan counties. Their work will focus on unlocking community leadership, supporting community health workers, and strengthening health facilities.

Sustainably Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Uganda: ($1 million) The Babies and Mothers Alive Foundation (BAMA) will scale its innovative NGO/government partnership model to five districts serving a population of over 1 million in Uganda. BAMA will train 30+ government-employed mentor midwives, 150+ community health workers, and additional healthcare stakeholders on how to deliver quality care, advocate for improved government health services, and strengthen district health management.

Delivering Safer Births: Connecting Indigenous Mothers, Midwives, Navigators, and Hospitals in Guatemala: ($1 million) Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq will adapt and scale their program to support 5,000 births annually in five Guatemalan Departamentos [Provinces]. Maya will equip midwives with an illustrated, checklist-based smartphone application to help detect high-risk complications and provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care for indigenous mothers.

“Each of the awardees has placed collaboration and community involvement at its core. They know that systems are stronger and more sustainable when different actors are brought together to work toward a common goal–in this case, reduced maternal and infant mortality,” said Matti Navellou, head of ICONIQ Impact. “In much the same way, we’re looking to collaborate with additional partners and donors to strengthen this effort and amplify the impact these organizations, and the other finalists, can have.”

The other finalists are listed below in alphabetical order:

Elevating Mothers’ Voices to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes in Kenya: Jacaranda Health partners with governments to deploy affordable and scalable solutions through government hospitals, where the majority of underserved mothers and babies receive care. Jacaranda’s low-cost, evidence-based approach combines: 1) a digital health platform, 2) a nurse mentorship program, and 3) a data infrastructure system that connects mothers, communities, and government partners.

Intercultural Healthcare for Mothers and Infants in Rural Colombia: SinergiasONG will work with local health institutions and communities to improve maternal and child health services and their quality of life. Through a powerful alliance of health professionals, educators, community leaders, and social sciences professionals, SinergiasONG will strengthen intercultural health models that incorporate community and ancestral health practices of ethnic and rural populations.

The Maternal & Infant Health Award is the third in a series of ICONIQ Impact grant competitions managed by Lever for Change, a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems. This award follows the $24 million Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award, a grant competition launched in 2020 to help secure a brighter, more durable future for refugees worldwide, and the $22 million Stronger Democracy Award, a grant competition launched in 2021 to help strengthen democratic institutions, improve political representation, and increase participation in the United States’ democratic process.

"At Lever for Change, we are honored to support these visionary organizations in their mission to deliver safer births, elevate mothers' voices, promote intercultural healthcare, scale community-led health, and sustainably improve maternal and newborn health," said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. "These initiatives embody the spirit of collective action, demonstrating that by connecting communities,

bridging cultures, and leveraging technology, we can reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and improve the lives of countless families."

More information about the Maternal & Infant Health Award and the finalists can be found at https://www.maternalinfanthealthaward.org.

The Patchwork Collective invites other donors to join the effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality worldwide. Donors interested in providing funding or partnering in this work should contact Dana Rice, Vice President, Philanthropy at Lever for Change, at ddrice@leverforchange.macfound.org.

The Patchwork Collective
The Patchwork Collective is a family philanthropic effort supporting locally-led solutions to global challenges. We fund diverse, bold, community-driven organizations and leaders across social equity, global health, and climate justice. Our mission is to empower the most vulnerable and marginalized communities, wherever they may be. We view each solution as one unique patch of a quilt. When brought together, they create a stronger, more vibrant, and more equitable future for all. By placing local leaders and communities at the center of our work, we preserve community agency, address inequity, and stitch together a brighter future for all…one patch at a time.

ICONIQ Impact is ICONIQ Capital’s global platform for collaborative philanthropy. The platform convenes ICONIQ’s extraordinary community of families, founders, and organizations to catalyze collaborative philanthropy for giving at scale. ICONIQ Impact aims to tackle the world’s most urgent challenges, with the goal of creating a more just and equitable world.

Lever for Change
Lever for Change connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems—including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of access to economic opportunity, and climate change. Using an inclusive, equitable model and due diligence process, Lever for Change creates customized challenges and other tailored funding opportunities. Top-ranked teams and challenge finalists become members of the Bold Solutions Network — a growing global network that helps secure additional funding, amplify members’ impact, and accelerate social change. Founded in 2019 as a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Lever for Change has influenced over $1.5 billion in grants to date and provided support to more than 145 organizations. To learn more, visit www.leverforchange.org.


Lever for Change
Francisco Martinez, Communications Manager

Amy Enright, President & Founder, Newton Street