Author: Romy Miller, Team Director, BBH London

It’s Mother’s Day in the UK this weekend and it seems a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of some of the difficulties many mothers face in the most marginalised communities of Africa, via a new release of our Status of Africa Facebook app for AMREF, Africa’s leading health development charity.

You may remember that we did something similar last year – the difference this year is that we’re focussing just on women – mothers, in fact. Maternal health is a huge issue: every year 280,000 African mothers die unnecessarily in pregnancy and childbirth because they lack basic medical care. AMREF is working to change this by trying to ensure no woman dies whilst giving life.

The Facebook app gives users the chance to choose a real African mother or midwife that AMREF works with and to share their status or Twitter account with them for 5 days. The app automatically updates the users’ status twice a day with their chosen African mother or midwife. The status updates were written based on true case studies. The stories shared by the women are real.

Our brief is to raise awareness and drive support for AMREF. Our learning is that requests for donations are most powerful when they are put in a context that engages. In this case, donations are encouraged via a final status update that contextualises what that donation will achieve.

Whilst there are many extraordinary stories about the work AMREF does, one thing in particular really inspired us. The bare minimum needed to deliver a baby safely fits into a matchbox. Although AMREF encourages women to seek proper medical attention, in the absence of this the contents of this matchbox can save a life. We created our own matchboxes to share the story with others – specifically like-minded bloggers and journalists. Each box contains: a piece of plastic sheeting to lay on the earthen floor, a sliver of soap and cotton wool for hygiene, a piece of string to tie the umbilical cord, and then to cut it, a razor blade sterilised with the matches. Equipped with this simple and cheap solution, the AMREF-trained birth attendant can be the key to saving a mother’s life and that of her child.

So, please join us in supporting AMREF’s work to help mothers in Africa in time for Mother’s Day: lend your Facebook status and please spread the word using #StatusOfAfrica.

Download the app here.

For more information about AMREF please visit



Shivonne Graham, Director of Fundraising & Communications
Victoria Rugg, Communications Manager

BBH London –

Creative Team: Kimberley Gill & Mareka Carter
Creative Director: Rosie Arnold
Producer: Nick Townsend
Team Directors: Emma Brooker, Romy Miller