Hellen (pictured above) lives in the poorest and most remote county in Kenya, where more than 80% of the population live below the poverty line.

Amref Health Africa supports the women in the community with maternal health services and also works with them to tackle the root-causes of malnutrition - a huge problem in the region.

"It’s not enough just to help women to make decisions on pregnancies; they need independence to look after themselves and their children."

After discussion with local women about how best to tackle health-related issues, sustainable community farms were piloted, enabling women's groups to grow vegetables to feed their families and sell surplus produce to create a regular income. The approach recognises that it’s not enough just to help women to make decisions about when or whether to get pregnant; they also need support to create the means to look after themselves and their young children, which gives them a sense of independence, purpose and opportunity.

 

photo credit: Amref Health Africa/Dean Bradshaw


 

"An approach founded on listening to the community and working with them."

In the past, investment in health care provision here often failed to address the root causes of sickness and disease. This project is different: as well as providing access to health services, particularly reproductive health, Amref also addresses the underlying causes of common health challenges, to ensure that the progress made is real, lasting and far-reaching. It’s an approach founded on listening to the community and working with them to create the changes they need. 

As Hellen says, “The lifestyle is changing in this community for the better. We now know about the importance of business, water, education and hospitals.”

These photos are part of a series commissioned from LA-based commercial photographer Dean Bradshaw. Dean worked with Amref Health Africa on a pro-bono basis to portray stories of contemporary African womanhood, portraying women from Amref projects across Kenya as they wish to be seen: as individuals - not victims.

Their stories show the effect access to good reproductive health services has and the positive outcomes that occur as a result.

 

Click to enlarge: Amref Health Africa and Dean Bradshaw