OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Paternal and Maternal Information Center

Providing paternal and maternal information in rural areas of Malawi to reduce maternal and newborn deaths.

Photo of Mercy Chikhosi
8 2

Written by

In no more than 3 sentences, please tell us who your idea is designed for and how it reimagines the new life experience.

It is designed for parents to be, new parents and community health workers. Due to shortage of professional health workers in the hard to reach areas of Malawi, it is hard for parents to get support the information they need.

Malawi is among countries where maternal mortality is very high, 634/100,000 live births. With long distances to health centers, cultural barriers and shortages of professional health workers, some mothers still give birth at home without skilled health care. This leads to complications before, during or after birth. Our center aims to provide needed information to reduce maternal deaths. Clients will be getting information on how the body changes during pregnancy, danger signs as well as promoting utilization of emergency obstetric care. Parents will be getting information on caring for the newborn up to 28 days post delivery. Clients will as well be getting information on different contraceptive methods available and linking them to health centers accordingly. 

The community health workers are volunteers and we believe that they need to be taken care of themselves for them to effectively take care of others. We aim to support them by providing soft loans for income generating activities as well as promoting agriculture and entrepreneurship skills.

The centers will be located within the communities, closer to where the people are. We will be using locally available infrastructures. The community health workers are currently providing health education in the communities on disease prevention on a smaller scale and the center would be to strengthen their work. 

We aim to start with two centers in two communities serving a population of over 4,000. 

At what stage is your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We will start in two communities working with community health centers at information centers and collect baseline data. We will also work in another community as a control, without the information center and collect baseline data as well. We will compare data after a year to check if clients got the needed information and if maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality has been reduced.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

OpenIDEO could assist us to refine this idea so that achieves its intended goal.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am Mercy Chikhosi, 6 years work experience as a nurse/midwife. 4 years experience working with communities promoting community health. I am the founder and Director of Wandikweza, a community-led health program in Malawi.

This idea emerged from...

  • A group brainstorm

Are you an expecting, new, or experienced mom?

  • no

Are you a healthcare practitioner?

  • yes

Are you a current employee of UCB Pharmaceuticals or Sutter Health?

  • no


Join the conversation:

Photo of Nicole Seters

Hi Mercy,
I am developing a Village Mother and Father Program in Uganda (please see our submission to this Challenges)...we have an existing clinic, established in 2010. The second phase of our project is to reach out and share our "Antenatal Lessons for Men" and project experience with other organizations. Perhaps this is something you're interested in?

Photo of Mercy Chikhosi

Dear Nicole,

This is similar to what we want to develop in Malawi. May be we can learn from you since yours is already established. How can we have an understanding of your project? Do you have a website you can share?

Photo of Nicole Seters

HI Mercy
We do have a website but I haven't updated it yet with information about the village Mother Program. I will try to do so this week. In the intern, I'm happy to answer any questions you have - my email is If we find funding for the project we will be able to offer a curriculum and training workshop to other organization in 2019. I would be happy to add you to that list!

Also...I received a grant for the original Village Mother pilot project from an organization called Global Force For Healing....I know the founder very well. She is looking for other grasss roots organizations who are providing Mamma Baby Health to join our International network. You can find the GFH website on line and write to the Director...she is a wonderful person and the network has been a huge help to us.

Photo of Mercy Chikhosi

Thank you so much Nicole.

We would be glad to be on your list for 2019 to be considered for training. I will also get in touch with GFH.


Photo of Mercy Chikhosi

You can find out more about our organization at our email address is

Photo of Nicole Seters

Wonderful - thank you Mercy. Please let me know if you join the GFH network....perhaps I'll see you on one of our network calls. Open IDEO is such a great way to meet new organizations and share ideas, partnerships! Best of luck with the good work you're doing.

View all comments