maternal health



 AMURT started in Nigeria late in 2010.  Nigeria has the largest population of all African countries. The indicators for maternal and child mortality are among the highest in the world.  The need being so great, it was imperative that AMURT start operations in Nigeria.


 Ebonyi state was created from the neglected areas of Enugu and Abia state in 1996 and is the poorest state in the south of Nigeria. According to the state web-site, for every 100 live births, one Ebonyi woman dies of peri-natal causes, thus giving Ebonyi one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The state health department is overwhelmed and unable to provide operational health facilities to the population in rural areas.

Immunization at Obegu Omege.


 AMURT was invited to join a primary healthcare initiative in Ekumenyi Development Center, Abakaliki Local Government, where the communities were close to completing construction of three new health centers. ActionAid Nigeria provided the construction materials, and mobilized the communities, who in turn paid the artisans.

AMURT committed to provide furniture, medical equipment, supplies and drugs and the construction of bathrooms and latrines. Initiated many years ago, the local women’s association members levied themselves 10 naira each to start the work on the foundation of what would become the health centers. From the beginning, the vision was one of community management and ownership, thus fitting well into AMURT’s strategy in community development and primary healthcare.

The Epheniyum Women's Association

In July 2010, along with our partners, we started intensive advocacy to pressurize the government to assume responsibility. We had a difficult start, but as soon as we got the local head of the health department on board, things started moving fast. Finally the local government agreed to post health workers to the facilities and the state health department also soon gave support to the project.

Family Planning Training 8-10 March 2011


24th of November saw a grand ‘public presentation’ of three new health centers. Her Excellency, the First Lady of Ebonyi State, Mrs. Josephine Elechi, presided and a large contingent of government officials were present. Omege Health Center had already opened on 21st September. Ephenium and Offia Oji Health Centers opened on the day of the presentation. The program was well covered in the local and national media.

Immunization at Offia Oji Health Center

The population has been patronizing the health centers, as evidenced by women coming for delivery at the clinics, the big attendance at ante-natal day, and the number of adults taking advantage of the outpatient and inpatient services, including surgery days with visiting doctors from the Federal Medical Center. AMURT’s first responsibility is to give support to ensure a high standard in the new health centers. We are modeling our approach after WHO’s ‘Continuum of Care’ packages: starting from family planning before pregnancy, pregnancy care, delivery care, post-natal care, infant care and childhood care. The activities include supplementary training for the health workers, health education in the thirty-four villages in the project area and outreach programs.

Testing blood pressure on opening day at Omege Health Center


We have committed to a three year program for Ebonyi State. Our first task is to define and establish a model in the first three health centers. Secondly we plan to scale up and replicate the model in ten more health rural health centers in Ebonyi State before the end of 2013. AMURT will also extend assistance to rural water supply and sanitation initiatives.

Many villages in Ebonyi do not have access to safe water


It has been wonderful to learn firsthand the potential that working in partnership offers for community development. For the first time in West Africa we are working closely with government and NGO partners, in addition to the community base we are so used to from Ghana and Burkina Faso. To assist and help build the capacity of the local authorities makes sense in a development context. The problems are so great that no NGO can carry this task alone. Working in a tri-partial partnership instills a new kind of humility that creates the right framework and mindset for successful projects.  The work on the projects always comes first, as any ambition towards credit, control or ownership is held back by the common desire to serve and get the job done.  It’s overwhelmingly clear that through partnership we can accomplish things that we could never achieve working separately.

Towards a brighter tomorrow. Joyfully!

To donate for AMURT’s Maternal and Child Health program in Nigeria, click here.

CONTACT AMURT NIGERIA: Tel: +234-81-3306-7130  E-mail: nigeria AT

Burkina Faso

An introduction to the work in Burkina Faso


AMURT was first assigned to Deou by the Burkina Faso Department of Health in 1986. The desert communities have no roads, electricity or telephone communications, no commercial economy and scarce access to safe water, and 90 % illiteracy in the outlying areas. Since 1986 AMURT has engaged in a variety of development works in Deou, including hospital construction, wells, cooperatives, cereal banks, and reforestation. Since 2001 our focus has been exclusively in health education.

In remote communities of the Moussi and Peuhl tribes, as many as 60 % the girls have their genitals cut at the age of 12-14. This Peuhl girl is from the Ndiawe village, a nomad community.

AMURT is working in partnership with the Department of Health to train women as village midwives. (AV for Accoucheuse Villageoise in French). The program was initiated in January 2002 and now serves more than 30 communities throughout Deou Department. The village midwives are trained and supervised by AMURT and staff from the Health Department Staff at the medical centers at Deou, Gandafabou and Boulekessi.

All the AV´s come for repetition and further training courses twice a year. The October 2006 session lasted ten days



According to the UN, 530,000 women die in childbirth every year, more than half of these in Sub-Saharan Africa, in remote villages. In the Deou project area, two tribes, the Peuhl (Fulani) and the Bella have no strong tradition of assisted childbirth. Rather it’s said that if a woman is a strong woman, she should be able to give birth alone. When the women try to assist each other during delivery, their approach has been a passive one, as they are unprepared without training and supplies to secure the hygienic conditions. The nearest delivery room with trained personnel has been up to fifty kilometers away, in an area with no roads and no vehicles. The mothers have been unprepared to face the complications that may arise. The area has seen one of the highest maternal mortality figures in Africa.

Our trainer Madame Oubda takes time to answer questions personally after her class on breastfeeding

Fanta from Boulekessi Soum was trained in 2005 and has established herself well in her community


The AVs are earning the respect of their communities. They are assuming a position of leadership that has been unavailable to women due to the traditional separation of the sexes. The AV’s effectively fulfill the role of the health promoter for mothers and babies. Their training has also brought them to the frontline to raise awareness in this conservative society about concerns crucial to the welfare of women. For example, they are advising women in their communities about family planning and the threat of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS is brought to the area by men who travel to find work in the dry season.

The Peuhl AV at Ndiawe village gets help from visiting UK midwife Suniiti Crowther to understand how to better use the instruments in her midwife kit

The AV’s are now using their position to combat FGM, female genital mutilation. FGM is officially banned in Burkina Faso. However in the remote villages, as many as 60 % nearly all of the Moussi and Peuhl girls still have their genitals cut around the age of 12 to 14. The AV´s are also taught about the common difficulties encountered in breastfeeding and how to assist the mothers to overcome them. Right breastfeeding is crucial to combat child malnutrition.

The AV from Bungelday gets read to practice oral resuscitation. The use of teaching aids (visuals and dolls to demonstrate/practice on) are particularly important when teaching the illiterate, who find it difficult to follow theoretical classes


  • Basic training for village midwives, equipment and supplies.
  • Additional training for village midwives
  • Literacy training for village midwives
  • Food assistance for village midwives:­ one 100 kg sack of millet annually at the time of grain shortages.
  • Follow-up and supervision for village midwives ­ monthly. Monitoring of instruments and refill of supplies. Collection of data.
  • S.M.I. Mobile ­ Sante Maternel Infantil: weighing and check-ups of infants and pregnant and nursing mothers, health education for women in the villages, including audio/video.
  • Mobile out-reach to the communities by health department team.
  • Ambulance: ­ AMURT donated a vehicle for ambulance for Deou Medical Center, and assists with the vehicle maintenance and driver support.
  • Training and supervision of village health promoters (male) Agents de Sante Villageoise (A.S.V.)
Before the program started, virtually no women of the Bella tribe would come for pre-natal consultation or deliveries at the medical centers. With the efforts of the AV´s (village midwives) these attitudes have started to change, and the Bella tribe no longer remain aloof from the health infrastructure of the country.


AMURT Norway
AM Foundation, Taiwan
Emanuele Antola Foundation

You can help !

AMURT relies on donations from individuals and sponsoring agencies and associations. We have two full time local coordinators, one stationed in Deou, and one alternating between Deou and the capital Ouagadougou. We are currently seeking groups or individuals to sponsor the training and equipping of more village midwives and village health agents for the villages around Deou.

To contribute you can:
1. Donate Online
2. Donations can also be sent via bank transfer to:
Account name: AMURT
Account number 012421107180850173
Banque Internationale de Burkina Faso
Boite Postale 362
Burkina Faso

Participatory Video of the Fulani people

Water Projects


Owned and managed by the communities

GETTING STARTED – Mafi-Dekpoe Water Project

AMURT’s involvement in the North Tongu District of Ghana’s Volta Region started in 1990 in Mafi-Dekpoe with an educational campaign to combat the Guinea Worm menace. After employing meetings, house visits and theatre, the AMURT team soon realized that the best way to help the people would be to provide safe drinking water. A dam built by the Russians in the 1960’s for agricultural purposes held enough water for a project to serve the ten villages. AMURT was able to build a water treatment plant using the slow sand filter technology to purify the dam water. DANIDA paid for the piping and distribution. The work took years, but in August 1998, the water finally started flowing.


Before the Mafi-Dekpoe project was completed, AMURT was approached by the assembly man from Mafi-Zongo. The were also badly affected by Guinea Worm. They needed a similar project. AMURT got a grant from the UNDP and constructed a dam, and the water treatment plant was constructed with help from AMURT chapters in the US and Europe. Committees were organized with representatives from the communities, and these committees took the lead in organizing the communal labor and various aspects of the project planning.


After building the dam, and the water treatment plant; at the end of 2002 we were looking at the daunting task of constructing a reservoir or water tower on the top of Kpokope Hill. The project design calls for the treated water to be pumped from the water treatment plant to the tower, from where it will flow by gravity to the communities. The logistical problems were considerable. How to convey heavy construction materials to the top of the mountain? The community organizers, Emperor and Kudjo, along with AMURT coordinator, Brohim, worked hard to mobilize the communities. Fifteen truck loads of sand, along with 600 bags of cement, and hundreds of iron bars and planks of wood reached the summit and the construction was completed in July. The capacity of the tank is 100 cubic meter, or 100,000 liters.

Pulling up the pipes was a dangerous and difficult job
Here are the Kpokope Mountain Heroes the local boys lifted and secured heavy iron pipes on the steep mountain side

The women of Kpokope took up the task of providing rocks and stone chips for the construction. They climbed and chipped the rocks with hammers straight off the mountain near the construction site–more than 1500 head-pans. The communities take great pride in the construction of the water tower. The Zongo water project is community owned and community managed. The participation of the communities through labor, sand and rocks, is a key component to instill the spirit necessary to make the project sustainable.


2005 was a pivotal year for the project. By summer the difficult and dangerous installations of iron pipes on the Kpokope hill was completed. The pumps, generators and filter media were installed, well tuned and tested at the water treatment plant. Fifteen kilometers of pipes were laid and 21 pipes stands constructed to deliver the water to the first ten communities.

The water treatment plant produced water of a clarity and quality that had not been seen in the communities before.


With funding from Italy, the communities and AMURT set out to bring water to more communities. Phase 2 was completed in 2006, as thirteen more communities were connected. In 2008 three more communities were added. The community leaders worked hard to mobilize the people for the grueling task of digging the trenches. At the end of 2008 the network at Mafi Zongo Water Project has extended to more than 52 kilometers, with 45 standpipes serving 26 communities with a population close to 9,000.


In May 2006, the heaviest rains in memory caused the flood waters to rise until the dam overflowed. The dike was damaged, and the communities piled sandbags to avert a disaster. The dam held and in 2007 AMURT brought bulldozers to make the repairs. The spillway was redesigned and relocated to the southern end of the dike. To make the dam safer and increase the storage capacity, the spillway level was raised by close to 3 feet. Additional bulldozer work to improve the spillway and the dike is planned for 2009.


Since the opening in 2005, the project has been able to function satisfactorily during the dry season. During the rainy seasons we have experienced higher turbidity and problems with clogging filters that has led to interruptions in service. The Engineers Without Borders chapter of the University of Arizona at Tucson made several research trips and concluded that our roughing filters (pre-treatment filters) were unable to handle the additional silt in the dam water due to heavy run-off into the dam during heavy rains. EWB has designed new filters that will solve this problem. After much hard work, with the help of EWB, Rotary USA and the Lanesra Foundation funds are now ready for this work. The construction is scheduled to be completed by the spring 2009.

The conveying of the pipes to the trenches was done by the women

After laying the pipes, the trenches must be filled immediately

The women did most of the work to prepare the filter media at the Water Treatment Plant

The oldest water project in the area is Mafi-Kumase Water project. Using the same basic technology and set up as Mafi-Zongo Water Project, they serve a network of more than 15 communities. In 2008, with the help of AMURT Italy and ScanCad International, we were able to extend water to the Adalekpoe community. Other communities have applied, and AMURT Italy and their partners are sponsoring more communities to be connected to the Mafi-Kumase Water Project.


The Mafii-Zongo Water Project is huge in scope and technically complex. We are facing challenges to establish the project financially, technically and managerially. The local government is doing their best to extend the electrical grid to the area. Until now the pumps are powered by generators. Electrical power will help ease the operating costs as diesel prices have gone up by 300 percent since the project started. We are also seeking a closer cooperation with the government’s Community Water and Sanitation Agency for the long term interest of the project. The communities remain determined and have assumed the management of the project. Because of the vast area, the daily administration is divided into two zones, North and South. Monthly meetings are held to give the communities opportunities give input and keep themselves informed about the developments of the project. We have a long way to go, but AMURT will remain until the project is well established. Our goal is to create a model for other community development projects in Africa and beyond.

The water is distributed on a pay and fetch basis. Here the meter reader comes to collect the weekly revenue from the standpipe attendant at Adiekpe

Thanks to our donors and partners:

Amici Nel Mondo, Postal, Italy Regione Trentino Alto Adige, Italy Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano, Italy AMURT Italy AMURT USA AMURT UK Gruppo Missionario di Merano, Italy Caritas Italiana, Italy As. Scambi Internaz. Minerbio, Italy Gli Altri Siamo Noi, Parma, Italy Asili Nido di Parma, Italy ScanCad International Lyon Club Casalmaggiore Inner Wheel Casalmaggiore Gruppo Chat Rhum Prout College, Australia Lanesra Foundation, Manila, Philippines Neo Humanistisk Barnehage, Oslo, Norway Emanuele Antola Foundation Rotary Foundation USA Engineers Without Borders, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

You can help !

The water projects of North Tongu District are the result of hard work by the communities and strong determination by the local dedicated AMURT staff. However, we remain reliant on contributions from individuals and funding agencies to complete the project. We are still looking for sponsors for the finishing stages of the project, most significantly the distribution and piping.

To contribute you can donate online here for the Mafi Zongo Water project.

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