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Status: Closed; Awarded

Maternal & Infant Health Award

The Maternal & Infant Health Award was created to support community-led projects and programs working to reduce maternal and infant mortality around the world. On October 10, 2023, The Patchwork Collective, ICONIQ Impact, and Lever for Change, announced three awardees.

About the Award

Launched on International Women’s Day 2022, the Maternal & Infant Health Award—sponsored by The Patchwork Collective, ICONIQ Impact, and Lever for Change—was 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.

On October 10, 2023, 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. Lwala Community Alliance, 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 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).

L to R: Julius Mbeya, Co-CEO, Lwala Community Alliance, accepts the Maternal & Infant Health Award on behalf of recipients Lwala Community Alliance and Dandelion Africa from Marie Dageville, Co-Founder of The Patchwork Collective
Caption: L to R: Julius Mbeya, Co-CEO, Lwala Community Alliance, accepts the Maternal & Infant Health Award on behalf of recipients Lwala Community Alliance and Dandelion Africa from Marie Dageville, Co-Founder of The Patchwork Collective

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.

The Awardees

Details on each of the awardee’s projects can be found below:

  • 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.

The Award received applications from 49 countries, with each entry subject to peer-to-peer reviews and multiple rigorous evaluations by experts from multiple disciplines across the world. The finalists were selected based on four key criteria: whether they were community-led, impactful, feasible, and durable in their proposed approaches.

The Finalists

Previously, on May 11, 2023, The Patchwork Collective, ICONIQ Impact, and Lever for Change announced five finalists for the Maternal & Infant Health Award.

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.

Lever for Change will include this cohort of finalist teams in our Bold Solutions Network, which matches donors with solutions to significant social challenges that were highly ranked after rigorous evaluation in one of our competitions.

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