Violence against women is also: a lack of support for new moms

New Moms Action Against Hunger

Photo by Danny Glenwright. Regina, a mother in Kenya who benefited from Action Against Hunger mom-to-mom support groups.



From November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and until December 10th, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

Violence against women is one of the biggest causes of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more deaths and disability for women ages 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war. In other words, it’s an epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

However, violence against women goes beyond the physical. Violence can be physical, sexual, psychological. Violence can include limiting autonomy, decision-making power and access to certain resources.

For these 16 days, we are highlighting 16 different types of violence that women and girls experience beyond the physical.

You can take action against gender-based violence:


Day 7 – Violence against women is also: a lack of support for new moms


According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding is one of the most effective strategies for preventing malnutrition during the first six months. It is known as the ‘window of opportunity’, which denotes the vital 1000 day period where a child experiences irreversible physical and mental stunting if not correctly nourished. Additionally breastfeeding can also benefit mothers. How? Despite these notable benefits, breastfeeding has not been established as a norm in many of our beneficiary countries.


Why don’t more women breastfeed?

In many developing countries, both mothers and caregivers often have little access to information on healthcare and how to feed babies to help promote child growth and development. Breastfeeding practices depend on the context-specific norms in various countries. While it has been established as a norm in the majority of countries that Action Against Hunger operates in, women in more remote regions are less exposed to the practice and prefer to use the nutrient-deficient mixture of water and sugar as an alternative formula. For example, cases have been observed in countries such as Nigeria, where Action Against Hunger staff helped mother Fatima Jibril to breastfeed her newborn baby correctly after witnessing a neighbour suggest that the baby should be given water minutes after birth. Additionally, there is a lack of information and healthcare services. For example in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone, the district of Moyamba only has one hospital. Hawa, a young mother whose baby’s weight had dropped significantly from 3kg to 2.4kg over 3 months, only learnt the correct technique for breastfeeding when assisted by the staff of Action Against Hunger.


What is Action Against Hunger doing?

Studies have shown that breastfeeding newborn babies within the first hour of birth can significantly reduce the risk of infection. In acknowledging this, Action Against Hunger has implemented a range of programs in beneficiary countries. In Philippines, ‘baby tents’ were implemented after the Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. This was essential in providing a ‘safe space’ for new moms, supporting their mental health and allowing them to breastfeed their babies away from the destruction caused by the disaster. In the long term, Action Against Hunger also trains local volunteers, empowering women to educate one another and to establish breastfeeding as a norm. In the case of Hawa, staff of Action Against Hunger helped her to breastfeed correctly using the Supplementary Suckling Technique (SST). Overall, in order to ensure mothers are able to breastfeed their children safely, healthcare services specifically targeting new moms and lactating women are vital for ensuring mothers are able to breastfeed their babies as effectively and as safely as possible.

Read more:

Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh.


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