Last month, our Young Midwife Leader Ashu Martha Agbornyenty from Cameroon was awarded the 2023 Global GoalKeeper Change Maker Award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Ashu Martha Agbornyenty’s Inspiring Work
Ashu is a registered midwife in Cameroon, as well as an author, a blogger at Marthie’s Midwifery Diary who writes about the work of midwives and shares her knowledge on pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. The foundation she started, For Mom and Baby Foundation, provides community workshops and distributes emergency kits to pregnant women in crisis-stricken areas. Since 2021, it has reached over 1,000 women and girls in the region. This active midwife is also an advocate for midwifery education, and has led national meetings that engaged schools and media to call for government support.
Given Ashu’s passion and hard work, it’s not surprising that she was chosen to participate in ICM’s Young Midwife Leader Programme in the 2021-23 cohort.
Celebrating Individuals Helping Achieve the SDGs
The Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards are an annual recognition of remarkable individuals taking action to help achieve the Global Goals by 2030. The award recognizes individuals who have inspired change using their personal experience or from a position of leadership. The approach of these individuals and organizations is key because they centre the voices and needs of others.
Ashu accepted the award in New York on Tuesday September 19, 2023. In a statement before the awards ceremony, she said, “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of midwives around the world who are working to improve the health of mothers and babies. It is also a validation of my passion for helping women, children and my commitment to making a difference in the world.”
In her acceptance speech, Ashu expressed how deeply honoured she was to be in the company of such a distinguished group of changemakers. She expressed her gratitude to the Cameroon Midwives Association (ASFAC) for being instrumental to her career growth, to ICM for indeed being a strong support and believer in the capacity Young Midwives hold and to the Gates Foundation for recognising her work.
The Young Midwife Leaders Programme
The Young Midwife Leaders (YML) programme is a part-time, two-year learning and professional and leadership development experience for 15 early-career midwives. Ann Yates, YML Lead Midwife Facilitator tells us more about the programme, “Our aim is to inspire young midwife leaders to become a voice for midwives, to be fearless, to find ways to be seen and heard where no one wants to listen, and to listen to women wherever they are.” Liselotte Kweekel, YML Midwife Facilitator, is very proud of the achievements of the YML programme participants, “Ashu is one of the bravest midwives I know. Her optimism and dedication ignites passion in others and encourages young midwives to improve the status of midwifery in Cameroon and around the world.”
Being Chosen for the Global GoalKeeper Award
Ever since she was a midwifery student, Ashu has been working to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). It’s not surprising then that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation chose her as one of this year’s awardees. After accepting her award, Ashu said, “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone that has helped me as a young midwife. It is a stamp of victory for every student midwife who ever doubted whether there is a future for midwifery: you can make this profession what you wish it to be.”
Watch Ashu’s inspiring acceptance speech: