Partnering to improve maternal health
By working with agencies like UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, Zonta International can achieve its mission and goals and have a greater impact throughout the world. UNFPA’s objectives include delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. Promoting gender equality and women’s human rights and improving maternal health–all essential to achieving these objectives–are equally important to Zonta.
From 2008 to 2018, Zonta International contributed US$3.5 million to UNFPA to support efforts to eliminate obstetric fistula in Liberia. Obstetric fistula is a childbirth injury usually caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without timely medical intervention. Zonta International’s funding provided quality surgical treatment for women and girls living with fistula, supported their rehabilitation and helped them reintegrate back into their communities. It also provided critical support for training doctors in fistula management and care and helped reduce the incidence of obstetric fistula through widespread advocacy efforts.
Ending child marriage
In 2014, Zonta International began a new partnership with UNFPA to focus on the widespread problem of child marriage in Niger, where 76 percent of girls are married by age 18 and 28 percent by age 15. For four years, Zonta International and UNFPA worked together to improve the health of adolescent girls in Niger, ensuring they have access to education, protecting them from violence, and empowering them by giving them access to female mentors and leaders. With the intent to make this Zonta’s signature project for the next decade, Zonta International expanded its partnership in 2018 to support the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage, which brings together governments, civil society, families and young people in a collective effort to prevent girls from marrying too young and to support those already married as girls. Operating in 12 countries, the program is turning commitment into tangible action to make meaningful and lasting changes in girls’ lives. Zonta International, as the first private sector donor to the Global Programme to End Child Marriage, is helping fund the initial phase, which has already reached more than 7.7 million adolescent girls.
Learn more about Zonta International’s partnership with UNFPA.