Fertility Awareness

One of the challenges we will face is helping the women prevent unwanted pregnancy. It may seem easy from the perspective of the developed world, but remember that access to any method of birth control for women in rural areas of Central Africa will be limited.

Although we will talk about the methods available, the only tool we can leave them with that any woman could use is fertility awareness. The photo on your left is of three different sets of beads that all do the same thing-let a woman keep track of her fertile days so she knows when she is likely to become pregnant. The user simply moves a charm or string along the beads to keep track of where she is in her cycle.

I am not sure what we will find in terms of pregnancy prevention or encouragement when we get there. But helping women get accurate information about the methods available to them (even if it means investigating specific herbs when we return home) will only improve their ability to maintain their health.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)


  1. Radical Doula

    Hey there,

    I am a doula in Iowa City, Iowa, and I want to collect soap to send to Africa. A friend of mine went to Africa to work with midwives and of all the things she told me about her trip, the fact that many of the midwives did not have soap stuck with me the longest. It seems like such an easy project to coordinate, around such a ubiquitous and affordable commodity. People can help and feel good about doing something without a huge commitment or expenditure.

    Anyways, if you have any ideas about who to contact to actually get the soap to the women who need it, let me know.

    Thanks so much,

    Erin Wajer-lang

  2. Jennifer

    That is a great idea Erin, but as you are learning is harder than we realize. The postal system in many areas of Central Africa is not reliable. Flory told me not to mail any of the supplies, to bring them all with me.

    There are many missions organizations that provide medical care in developing nations, but I don’t know of any that are working specifically with midwives. I do know that Midwifery Today tries to meet with Traditional Birth Attendants each year at its international convention.

    We have collected some soap to take, and you are welcome to collect soap for us to take.

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