Changemaker Naomi Tulay-Solanke, founder of Community Healthcare Initiative, Liberia
“We are happy to support the work of CHI founder Naomi Tulay-Solanke through the Covid-19 Aid program. By promoting low-cost health care solutions, she makes a true difference for many women and adolescent girls and contributes to behavioral and societal change at all levels”, says Christiane Hölscher, Global CSR Manager at Beiersdorf AG.
Simple but effective solutions to the most pressing challenges of female communities
In Liberia, a taboo associated with the female menstrual cycle is stigmatizing adolescent girls and, in some instances, leading them to stay away from school during their menstrual cycle.
To address this problem, the non-profit organization ‘Community Healthcare Initiative’ (‘CHI’) has launched the “Pad4Girls” project. Through this initiative, CHI distributes locally made and reusable sanitary pads to address problems with menstrual hygiene management affecting girls’ retention in schools.
CHI is a community-based organization which helps women in local communities in Liberia to improve their livelihoods by developing sustainable solutions to their problems. Since its foundation in 2014, CHI has built an industry out of simple, low-cost healthcare solutions to solve some of the most pressing challenges that Liberian girls and women face today.
Projects range from conducting first-time voters’ education campaigns and strengthening women’s participation in decision-making, to offering trauma training and education about family planning, as well as designing reusable sanitary pads for girls.
Serving the underprivileged and the most vulnerable
CHI’s founder and executive director Naomi Tulay-Solanke has a BSc in Nursing, a master’s in Public Health and a degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution. As an indigenous healthcare professional, Mrs. Solanke felt that there is an urgent need to intervene in Liberia’s health sector. She is able to access the grassroots and act as a bridge between local communities who are suffering and international organizations and charities willing to help the Liberian people.
The non-profit organization offers several healthcare and social services to the underprivileged and most vulnerable in hard-to-reach communities, as well as among slum-dwellers. Its prime mandate is to strengthen and promote healthcare, social services and women’s and children’s rights, including people living with a disability and sexual minority groups.
CHI aims to improve their quality of life by providing behavioral change messages, preventive care, and advocacy. It is managed by independent indigenous professionals with experience in various fields in the humanitarian sector, such as healthcare, community development and capacity building.
Protecting women and girls during the COVID-19 lockdown
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CHI is targeting underserved communities with women group structures to strengthen their capacity to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus. CHI also taught them to monitor and report incidents of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). As a result of CHI’s intervention, the communities now hold their leaders accountable for providing safe spaces for women and children. CHI also influenced a policy change on rape with a campaign demanding that the government protects women and girls, as the COVID-19 lockdown has made them more vulnerable. This led to the government organizing a two-day conference, which declared rape a national emergency, and committed them to fighting sexual violence in the country.
Naomi Tulay-Solanke: “With the support of Beiersdorf, we will be able to expand our work at all levels and continuously develop new solutions to the pressing challenges that Liberian girls and women face.”
Beiersdorf supports Ashoka to fight COVID-19 consequences
COVID-19 keeps hitting the whole world hard — and its ultimate socioeconomic consequences cannot be foreseen today. With this in mind, Beiersdorf launched its global “Care Beyond Skin” aid program with a volume of 50 million euros at the very beginning of the crisis. The program comprises two pillars: immediate aid, and long-term support to fight the pandemic’s consequences. Among the long-term initiatives, Beiersdorf has set up partnerships with international NGOs, Ashoka being one of them. With the Beiersdorf funding, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs is able to expand its “Changemakers United” initiative beyond Europe to Africa, Latin America and South Asia. The program promotes and supports social innovators whose ideas and ventures aim specifically at reducing the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19. Additional funding is provided to five social entrepreneurs within the Ashoka network, who contribute with their distinct and innovative approach to Beiersdorf’s mission and social focus area “Girls’ Empowerment.”
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