The word "Harambee (Har-ahm-bay)" is our name and our mission; it means "Let's Pull Together" in the Swahili language. At Harambee Village our mission is to pull our community together in order to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies, while simultaneously promoting health equity. Our mission is to enhance the childbearing experience, empower women by promoting doula support, advocate evidenced based care and provide accessible education, based on the mother-centered model of maternity care, and to engage stakeholders around Health and Racial Equity work in respect to maternal and child health. Harambee is working closely with various community partners to explore health equity and racial disparities in respect to Maternal and Child Health, and to discuss ways in which we can collectively enhance the childbearing experience for all women regardless of race.
In an effort to advance respectful, community-based, peer to peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting for our women of color, our community based doulas working within our agency, are of and from the communities being served. This program model combines culturally appropriate peer-to-peer support with a life course approach that focuses on the perinatal year and the early months of parenting. It represents a new approach to perinatal support: one that makes use of the power of relationships and the power of birth. By providing culturally and linguistically sensitive support and education, we are increasing access to community based doula services to increase positive birth outcomes, to decrease infant mortality, as well as to increase the rates of extended and exclusive breastfeeding in communities with low breastfeeding rates. Through this model and our community based programming and activities, we have been able to create safe spaces for mothers of color and community members to come together to talk about issues that are important to them and their communities. It has allowed our work to stay community based and to continue to be informed by the community. Therefore, our team plans to leverage our grassroots connections, leverage our existing community partnerships, continue to build new partnerships and work diligently to elevate the voices of those closest to the issue.