OWL Global Wisdom Circle – 10/11/2015
Kay Sandberg

Report from Chennai

Founder & Executive Director, Global Force for Healing

OWL Global Citizen Kay Sandberg, Founder & Executive Director of Global Force for Healing, was one of the organizers of the International Development Design Summit, in Chennai India from July 7 – August 1 with associates from around the world. The official title was IDDS Aarogyam. Their mission:

Bring together community representatives, health workers, midwives, students, business leaders, engineers, and designers from across the globe to work together to develop locally-accessible solutions with the potential to strengthen the healthcare system and empower participants in the process.

Through Global Force for Healing Kay brought together healthy birthing activists from several countries to attend. She was also editor of the Summit Blog, where you can read about the activities of the Summit.

Kay shared highlights, stories and outcomes of this amazing global gathering — and invited us to share reflections on the significance for our own journeys as global citizens.



Update: Ebola Fundraiser

Ebola Pic 1

Oregon Health and Science University’s Nursing Students Without Borders and the non-profit Global Force for Healing hosted an event to raise money for the Ebola victims of Sierra Leone on January 16th. The event included a soup and pottery sale and a presentation by Sudy Storm, founder of the Sukuli Project, on the social inequality of Ebola. The event raised over $2,500 to send to the Jawei Chiefdom in Sierra Leone, which was one of the hardest hit regions during the Ebola epidemic. At this time no new cases have been reported in the Jawei Chiefdom, although the disease is still spreading in many other regions in the country.

The paramount chief of this region contacted the Sukuli Project to report that they surveyed their chiefdom and determined that the hardest hit demographic was the 307 children orphaned as a result of the Ebola epidemic. Their community prioritized these children and used the $2,500 to provide them with food, clothing and school supplies.

Thank you to everyone who made this donation possible!

P.S. There is still time to contribute, so please follow this link if you would like to make a donation:


The Sukuli Project participates in Global Force for Healing’s Healthy, Compassionate Birthing network, which supported the Ebola fundraising event (www.globalforceforhealhting.org/project-one/)

Ebola Pic 2


Ebola Recovery Fundraiser


You have recently seen Sierra Leone in the news due to the Ebola outbreak that to date has killed 2500 people.

Decades of poverty, illiteracy, war, lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, overcrowded housing, and little access to healthcare create the perfect storm for an epidemic. Sierra Leone is vulnerable to a disease outbreak due to poor social determinants of health and decades of structural violence.

Social determinants of health are the conditions a person is born into that affect their health. These are powerful indicators of a person’s quality and quantity of life. A child born in Japan has a chance of living 43 years longer than a child born in Sierra Leone simply because of the environment in which they live.

The poor living conditions of the Sierra Leonean people are reflected in their health statistics. Sierra Leone ranks as the least developed and poorest country in the world. Their life expectancy is 45 years old, which is the lowest in the world. They have the highest infant mortality rates globally. 45% of all children are expected to die before the age of 5, also the worst under-5 mortality rate in the world.

The Jawei Chiefdom of southeastern Sierra Leone is located on the border of Liberia. Ebola hit the Chiefdom in May and spread quickly due to the poverty and lack of health care services. Jawei was one of the first regions to experience the outbreak and one of the hardest hit areas with high death rates and almost total loss of their trained health center staff and midwives.

Even with the help of NGOS, Doctors Without Borders, and the UN, no one could stop the spread of the disease. In an effort to save their communities the tribal chiefs and National Parliamentary Representative took matters into their own hands. They went door-to-door, as respected and trusted elders of their communities, to educate each household and create protocols and by-laws on Ebola prevention, treatment, and recovery.

The Jawei Chiefdom is now Ebola free with no new cases since September while the epidemic continues to rage in much of the country where communities are waiting for outside aide. The successful recovery of Jawei is attributed to local level collaboration and leadership that used local resources and systems of governance. Their recovery is not attributed to outside aide. The strength of their empowered self-reliance literally saved their lives. Now other regions in Sierra Leone are looking to the Jawei Chiefdom as a model of local level action in an epidemic.

The 100 households affected by Ebola had to burn all of their clothing, bedding, and household possessions. Communities are also experiencing serious food insecurity due to in-country travel restrictions, inability to farm, and economic crisis. The National Parliamentary Representative of Jawei has contacted the Sukuli Project, a local group that operates in Sierra Leone, asking for assistance. Sukuli accepted their request and is now working with our American partners, and Chiefdom leaders, elders, and representatives to replace household possessions and provide food for the households affected.

OHSU’s Nursing Students Without Borders are holding a fundraising event for the Jawei Chiefdom on January 16th at 6:30 pm in the Stevens Union Room 319. Sudy Storm, MPH, Midwife, and founder of the Sukuli Project will present ‘The Social Inequity of Ebola: How A Local Community Saved Themselves’.

Tickets to the event are on a sliding scale starting at $20.00. This includes a presentation, a ceramic bowl with soup, and raffle ticket for a hand sewn Jawei blanket.

100% of the proceeds will go directly to the Jawei Chiefdom for the families of Ebola victims and survivors.

Year-end Message and Invitation

Peace on EArth Begins at Birth

Dear Owl Friends,

I’m a fellow OWL and founder/president of Global Force for Healing, a grassroots social-profit organization based in Ashland, OR.

I invite you to join us in supporting the UN Millennium Goals to dramatically reduce the number of mamas & babies dying needlessly in childbirth in global communities with limited access to care by 12/31/15. 90% of these deaths could easily be prevented.

To read more about our goals for 2015 and accomplishments for 2014, please visit: www.globalforceforhealing.org/project-one/

Please support our global compassionate birthing projects by volunteering. Feel free to contact me by email: kay@globalforceforhealing.org. And/or, please…

Support our global compassionate birthing projects by donating: www.globalforceforhealing.org/donate/. All contributions are tax deductible and truly cherished.

Your involvement can have a huge impact. 100% of our donations go to programs, training, staffing and advocacy for grassroots Healthy, Compassionate Birthing projects in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. Our role is to convene and consult with them so all may be sustainable. These projects have not lost a mama and have dramatically lowered infant mortality rates in the underserved communities where they work—truly miraculous!

I look forward to being together on future OWL conversations!

With love, holiday blessings, and very best wishes for a transformative 2015,
PS Please click on “Global Force for Healing Network” under the interactive map for project locations and descriptions: www.globalforceforhealing.org/project-one/ We also invite you to directly support these projects in resource-poor areas!

The Global Impact of Midwifery


According to the State of the World’s Midwifery 2014 Report there is a global shortage of midwives, which is tragic because high quality midwifery care could save the lives of millions of women and babies who die during and after pregnancy. Shane Carnahan posted a reflection here recently regarding the World’s Midwifery 2014 Report and how to improve birthing options for women on a global scale (25 July 2014).

The impact of midwifery is paramount. World Health Organization statistics show that births attended by midwives have lower infection rates, lower Cesarean rates, fewer complications and healthier birth outcomes than births attended by physicians in the hospital. Further evidence of the impact of midwifery is that the countries with the healthiest birth outcomes in the world have midwives as their main maternity care providers.

According to the State of Midwifery Report, there is a serious shortage of midwives in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These countries suffer 99% of the world’s maternal deaths and more than 90% of stillbirths and newborn deaths. Each year 300,000 women are estimated to die during pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum worldwide. Every day 800 women are estimated to die from pregnancy or complications related to childbirth around the world. The blog written by Shane discusses the key challenges to providing midwifery care in these areas, such as standardizing midwifery education and equipping facilities with supplies for emergency procedures.

Over three quarters of stillbirths and maternal and infant deaths could be prevented in the countries with the highest infant and maternal death rates if quality midwifery care were available to all women. Millions of lives could be saved! The return on investment from the education and organization of community-based midwives is estimated to be similar to vaccinations in terms of the cost per life saved. More importantly than the return on investment is that all women are entitled to respectful, compassionate care before, during and after pregnancy and birth. And all babies deserve to be born in a loving, nurturing environment.

I hope this blog will stimulate your interest in reading the entire report (State of the World’s Midwifery, 2014) and an excellent article in the journal Lancet (Midwifery, 2014). Please join us in appreciating love and compassion in action, expressed daily by the midwives in your town, state, nation, and our world.

Randi Powell

Global Force for Healing Intern

OHSU Senior Nursing Student

Nursing Students Without Borders