At the Zoe Project we focus on providing support to vulnerable women from communities across the Western Cape, delivering programmes in order to support individuals that are suffering from poverty, violence, substance abuse and any issue related to pregnancy.
Our three core programmes are:
1) The First 1000 Days of Life Programme (Antenatal, Mother & Baby classes) 2) Birthing Programme 3) Counselling Services.
The Zoe Project’s programme model is a holistic approach to achieving good maternal and infant health care – focusing on the first 1000 days of a baby’s life and supporting a mother through pregnancy, birth, infant care as well as other social services including adoption, counselling and substance abuse support.
The First 1000 Days of Life Programme
According to a new report released by Statistics South Africa close to 35% of pregnant women lived in households that ran out of money to buy food for five or more days in the 30 days prior to the survey due to poverty.
At the Zoe Project we seek to offer help through a birthing support programme assisting mothers with Doula services (birthing companion) as well as also providing a feeding programme for those who give birth at the MOU’s where we work. We also have many moms who have no means to purchase the essential items needed for their newborn and themselves after birth. We therefore donate a Zoe Pack to these moms which includes clothing for the baby, nappies, and hygiene and sanitation items for moms and blankets.
Birthing Support Programme
Poverty and violence is on the rise in South Africa with women and children suffering the highest burden.
Many of the women who benefit from our counselling services and programmes have been the victims of crime, domestic or gang related violence and most are living below the poverty line. This environment creates a significant burden not only the physical wellbeing of our clients – but also on their mental health. In order to support women in our communities we provide counselling services to all mothers who attend pregnancy screening assessments and our antenatal classes. We also have an open door policy that provides support for any young girl or woman in the community who requires counselling and guidance for any issue. Last year we saw approximately 10,000 women through our programme.
In the Western Cape, it is estimated that 15% of children suffer from stunting and that inadequate dietary intake, insufficient access to information about breastfeeding and infant feeding practices have been identified as critical factors.
The first 1000 days in a child’s life could hold the key to unlocking a child’s life-long potential. By the age of five, almost 90% of a child’s brain will be developed. These are the formative years to a large extent that influence a child’s future as an adult. As such our Antenatal and mother and baby classes have a critical focus on the first 1000 days of life teaching mothers about good feeding practices, health and hygiene and how to care for infants. Therefore a key objective of this programme is to address stunting and malnutrition affecting infants in our communities and support the targets set out by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG2 relating to Zero Hunger) in South Africa.