What I learned from the What Women Want Interactive Dashboard

By Erin O’Connor for White Ribbon Alliance

What Women Want: Demands for Quality Reproductive and Maternal Healthcare from Women and Girls is a groundbreaking worldwide advocacy campaign seeking to improve maternal and reproductive healthcare for women and girls.

What do women want?

The campaign asked over 1 million women and girls an open-ended question about what women wanted, rather than what they didn’t. The open-ended nature of the question gave women and girls complete freedom to answer What is your one request for quality reproductive and maternal healthcare services?


As told to Eya Mwenifumbo-Gondwe and Marissa Ware, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

My name is Jacqueline Mwase and I am 30 years old. I come from Chiudzira, Malawi and I am a member of the Lhomwe tribe.

Earlier this morning, I gave birth to a baby girl I have named as Jacinta. In Lhomwe culture, motherhood is supposed to be a good experience where the mother is well taken care of and has all good facilities. It means the mother will be assisted accordingly and have good health because the mother has resources available to…


As told to Marissa Ware, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

What role does a birth certificate play in your life? It might not be something you think about often, but that little piece of paper plays a critical role from childhood throughout the rest of your life. In Uganda, universal birth registration is a big challenge.

My name is Senfuka Samuel and I’m from Uganda, East Africa. When I was applying for my master’s degree program, they asked me to share my birth certificate alongside my undergraduate school records. I’d never seen my birth certificate before…


As told to Stephanie Bowen, edited by Caroline Kinsella, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

My name is Sabina Jankovičová, I am a 43-year-old woman from Slovakia, and I have two children. Here in Slovakia, it is not possible to have anyone in the hospital with you during childbirth except during the last few hours of labor. Sometimes women stay isolated in the hospital for days. When my first child was born premature, my husband was not allowed to stay with me in the hospital for 48 hours. The hospital only let him visit me twice, for…


As told to MamaBaby Haiti, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

My name is Marie* and I am from rural Haiti. My baby and I slept on the floor of the hospital in Haiti for 38 days because I couldn’t pay my bill.

My baby died and I felt extremely sad. I was crying unceasingly for my baby I lost. The leaders of the hospital asked me for much money and wouldn’t let me leave until we paid the bill.


As told to Tariah Adams, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

My name is Helen Abdul. I am from Niger State, Nigeria. I live in Chachanga Local Government Area of Niger State. I was pregnant with my second child in late September of last year.

When I felt the first spasms of pain hit me, I convinced myself it was just a normal pain that would go away. My delivery date was still two weeks, so I felt confident I wasn’t in labor.

As I bent over to pick up a bucket of water about 30 minutes…


This is the story of Amber Rose Isaac, a Black 26-year-old soon to be first-time mother. As told to Marissa Ware, as part of the Brave Voices Podcast. Edited for length and clarity.

Amber would always talk to me about maternal mortality and she would tell me these stories and I would tell her, “This isn’t going to happen to us.” It did.

My name is Bruce McIntyre, I am the partner to Amber Rose Isaac and I live in the Bronx, New York.

Amber was an innovator, a game changer, who was going to change the world one way…


As told to Sandra Mwarania, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

My name is Mercyline Ongachi, 21 years old. I come from Mukuru kwa Reuben. It’s a slum located in Embakasi South, in Nairobi, Kenya.

I am a survivor of maternal violence.

On Sunday, 25th August, 2019, at around 12 noon, I sought assistance from Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital for the delivery of my newborn twins.


As told by Rose Mlay to Marissa Ware, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

Rose Mlay is a Tanzanian midwife who has dedicated her life to helping mothers and newborns. But the abuses she saw women suffer through during pregnancy and childbirth led her to found a White Ribbon Alliance Chapter in Tanzania to bring respectful and dignified care to health facilities across the country. Although every woman’s right to privacy and confidentiality during maternity care should be upheld, overcrowding and a lack of privacy are part of childbirth for many women in Africa.

I witnessed a…


As told to Stephanie Bowen, edited by Nina Wright, as part of the Brave Voices, Bold Actions podcast

My name is Monique Lacombe, I was born and raised in Montreal Quebec, Canada. I have a husband of ten years and two sons who are eight and four years. My first pregnancy was a fantastic experience. I do not know how much of it was because I was blessed, how much of it was luck, or how much of it was my attitude, but I just completely gave into the experience.

WhiteRibbonAlliance

Inspiring and convening advocates to uphold the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after pregnancy.

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