Zonta and the Birthing Kit Foundation
The Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) was born out of the Zonta Birthing Kit Project, and is still strongly supported by Zonta Clubs today.
The idea for the Birthing Kit Project originated with Dr Joy O'Hazy a member of the Zonta Club of the Adelaide Hills Inc. In 1995 at the 5th World Health Conference in Beijing, Joy heard Sally Field, the actor, speak on how these small kits that cost less than a dollar can save a life. In 1999 the club turned an idea into a reality by organising the first assembly day, making the first 100 kits which were sent to PNG.
Feedback from PNG was extremely positive with the noticeable reduction in mother and baby deaths. This motivated the Adelaide Hills Club members to expand the project.
Between 1999 and 2004 the project grew slowly. When AusAID funding was received it expanded rapidly, mainly due to the huge supporter base for the project throughout the 114 Zonta clubs in Australia. An easy to follow 'How To' Assembly Day Manual had been created for every club interested in running an assembly day for the manufacture of kits. The Adelaide Hills Club nevertheless had to co-ordinate the provision of supplies and the dispatch of the kits to their final destinations, a huge logistical task.
Clubs everywhere enthusiastically embraced the work; they raised the money to fund assembly days and motivated the wider community to help. Without this support the Birthing Kit Project would never have grown or prospered and the Foundation would never have come into being. By 2006 the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) was created to manage what had become a complex operation. This created a corporate structure to regularise the running of the Foundation relieving the Zonta Club of the Adelaide Hills of an increasing work load. Nevertheless the Foundation maintained all its links with Zonta and Zonta should be proud of the role it is playing in reducing infection rates and saving the lives of so many women and children.
First Ambassador PIP Val Sarah
It is with great pleasure that we introduce Past International President, Val Sarah, as our first Ambassador. Val has been a wonderful supporter from the beginning. The Foundation is thrilled Val accepted our invitation.
Foundation Directors have over 100 years of Zonta Membership
There are 6 directors on the Board of the Foundation, and 5 are Zontians who have worked at executive levels in Zonta with over 100 years of Zonta membership.
This is truly a Zonta project.
When did each District in Australia accept the Birthing Kit Project?
The project has ongoing support from the 3 Districts in Australia.
• D 23 2003, ongoing for D 23 in 2005
• D 24 2005, ongoing for D24 in 2007
• The new D 22 in 2009
We do ask that every club wanting to be involved in the Zonta Birthing Kit Project be mindful to NOT divert money destined to our Zonta International Service Project (ZISP) to the Birthing Kit Project. The ZISPs are crucial to our Zonta International organisation and must be funded first. Any funds to support the Zonta Birthing Kit Project need to come from the other two thirds of the club's funds.
Membership benefits to Zonta Clubs
Assembly Days are a wonderful opportunity for prospective new members to meet our Zonta organisation with a hands on project that actually saves lives and suffering. The Adelaide Hills club went from 18 to 34 members in 5 years. The Zonta Birthing Kit Project is the spark that catches the attention of the prospective new members. It is the wonderful current members of the club as well as other service projects that keeps them.
How to become involved in the Zonta Birthing Kit Project
For Zonta clubs within Australia the processes are well established.
For Zonta clubs outside of Australia we have some information
to make the processes easier.
What does the BKFA want from Zonta clubs that wish to become involved in the Zonta Birthing Kit Project?
The BKFA would like to record the growth of the Zonta Birthing Kit Project throughout the Zonta world and encourage the project to grow safely.
The BKFA would like to be the data collectors of where all the Zonta Birthing Kits worldwide have gone. To do this we need the following information emailed to email@example.com
- The District and name of your club
- Contact email address of the project coordinator.
- How many kits have you made or are you planning to make
- The destination of these kits and receiving organisation's name
If this information can be collated retrospectively for past kits it would give a clear picture of the real growth of our project. We could produce a world map of where kits are going.
The chronology of the Zonta Birthing Kit Project
to download a full chronology of how the Birthing Kit Foundation has developed from its original roots as a Zonta project.
FAQs for Zonta members
We have prepared a list of frequently asked questions, based on a Zonta workshop in April 2011. These may answer some of your own questions or are helpful if you are presenting about the Foundation to others.
Click here to view.
Find your nearest Zonta Club or visit the Zonta International web site.
Find out about Assembly Days coming up in the next 3 months in Australia.
Find out how you can become a member of the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia).
See a list of frequently asked questions developed by Zonta members.
Call for funding
The Birthing Kit Foundation is looking for new funding sources while we work towards AusAID accreditation.
To help with this effort, we are asking Zontians to send funding requests to their local politicians. Click here to find out more about how you can help.