A groundbreaking commitment

In 1986, the world was paying little attention to the half million women dying in pregnancy and childbirth each year. Family Care International was the first international organization founded specifically to remedy this neglect. The next year, FCI organized a global conference that launched the Safe Motherhood Initiative, with FCI as Secretariat. Through 15 regional conferences and scores of illuminating publications, FCI and our partners put safe motherhood on the world’s agenda. Since then, FCI has been one of the world’s leading voices for political commitment, stronger policies, and more funding for programs that save women’s lives.

Two years after FCI’s launch, women’s groups in Uganda asked us for help in designing a safe motherhood project. FCI opened an office in Kampala, beginning our in-country activities. Today we have locally-staffed offices in five countries in Africa and Latin America, and activities and materials that span the world. Over more than two decades of work, FCI has collaborated with governments, NGOs, grassroots organizations and communities in more than 25 countries to raise awareness, create innovative solutions and tools, and implement effective programs and services that improve maternal and reproductive health outcomes in the communities where far too many women still die needlessly every day.

Decades of achievement

Over the years, FCI’s many key achievements have included:

  • Training many hundreds of community leaders, women's groups, grassroots organizations, midwives and physicians, and young people —across dozens of developing countries — with the skills and knowledge they need to be strong, effective advocates for maternal, reproductive, and sexual health and rights
  • Conceiving and organizing the groundbreaking 2007 Women Deliver conference, which put the world on notice that hundreds of thousands of maternal deaths each year would no longer be quietly tolerated
  • Working with partners to persuade the UN General Assembly to adopt universal access to reproductive health as an explicit target of the Millennium Development Goals (2005), marking its central role in improving maternal health
  • Helping governments, in countries from Botswana to Bolivia and Laos to Zanzibar, to assess their maternal health programs and develop national strategies to save women’s lives
  • Forging consensus on the historic Programme of Action developed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which established the central place of reproductive health and rights in global development

As testament to the global impact of our work, FCI was selected to receive the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2013, and the UN Population Award in 2008.


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"The world has yet to deliver on the promise that it owes to women everywhere to value their lives and enable them to deliver on their potential, for the sake of their children, for their communities, and most of all for themselves. Our work will continue until it does."

Ann Starrs
FCI's President and co-founder

“I had months of bleeding with my first 6 deliveries — and 2 babies died — because I delivered at home. In the past, there were no drugs, no proper help from the doctors. But now I can go to this health facility with medicines and helpful doctors.”

woman in Homabay, Kenya,
a site of FCI's Skilled Care Initiative

 “For an organization of its size, it is one of the most dynamic organizations in our field. FCI punches way above its fighting weight.

FCI advocacy partner

"Before my training with FCI... I didn’t protect myself against STIs and HIV. I didn’t know how to do it, or why. I had too many girlfriends, and I used to have sex without condoms. Now, my priority is to protect myself during sex, and especially to bring this information to my other classmates."

carpenter's apprentice
Mopti, Mali

"FCI was born when I was attending the UN Women's Conference in Nairobi, in 1985. A representative from the World Health Organization addressed the assembly, announcing the shocking news about women dying in childbirth. She asked, 'Who is going to do something about this?' and I thought, 'I will.' The seed of FCI was planted at that moment."

Jill Sheffield
FCI co-founder

When FCI calls, everybody comes — morning, afternoon, night... It’s impressive.”

partner NGO





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