Guest blog by Tausi Suedi, Co-Founder & Country Team Leader, Childbirth Survival International
As the times are changing and more women are becoming fearless lionesses in the world, we need to make sure the cubs are following right behind. Today, we have female Presidents, Vice-Presidents, CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and more; women have taken their space to advance gender equality and be part of the many processes where decisions are made for women. I was born on July 26th, a natural lioness, and joining the Lionesses of Africa family is a great way to keep the roar loud and significant. As I traverse different parts of the world, I always ask myself where are the cubs?
The cubs who years from now will take over, become powerful lionesses and run the world along side powerful lions? The cubs that will bear the responsibility to keep the Lionesses of Africa roaring in Africa and beyond. As I kept traversing, I found my own answer; Me, I was part of the missing piece in finding those cubs.
Today, I am the Co-founder and Country Team Leader of Childbirth Survival International (CSI), an international non-profit dedicated to advocate for, and improve, the quality, access, and delivery of health services and information for pregnant women, newborns, children, and adolescents/youth in marginalized communities around the world. I am an active Rotarian and the current President-elect of Pikesville Rotary Club in Maryland, USA. I am a mother of three children and important love-child in the different spheres of my life.
Through my work with CSI, my favorite program is “Girl Talk, Girl Power” where we educate and empower the adolescent girl-child primarily addressing the “shhhh” or “taboo” topics – menstruation, menstrual hygiene, sexual and reproductive health, and strongly emphasize on importance of education and acquiring life-skills. Each interactive session is concluded with distribution of free sanitary towels. We cannot strengthen our pride if young girls are getting pregnant and becoming child-mothers at 13 years; we cannot strengthen our pride if young girls are dropping out of school because of menstruation and lack of feminine hygiene products; we cannot strengthen our pride if young girls are barely getting an education to advance further and graduate from college or university; we cannot strengthen our pride if HIV/AIDS is crawling into their little bodies unknowingly to them; we cannot strengthen our pride if girls don’t love themselves, believe in themselves, and have the environment and strong support system to grow and bloom. The cubs need Lionesses to mentor, coach, and teach them.
When I am in a class with 200 girls, I am not only talking to them about menstruation and other topics on the agenda, but I am imparting a piece of my ‘Lionessness' to them that some will carry for a long time, in turn becoming great lionesses themselves. When I watch them one by one, how they’re eager to learn, and seeing how attentive they are, I definitely see how I am part of the missing piece. Every Lioness has something to give to a cub who is looking up to her, so let us make the pride stronger. Through talking with girls and imparting a piece of our knowledge, experience, and story to them, we will be able to retire in the knowledge that tomorrow’s Lionesses are ready and prepared to take on the world.
Tausi Suedi is the Co-Founder of Childbirth Survival International (CSI) an orgnisation which is dedicated to advocate, strengthen and improve quality, access, and delivery of health services and information for pregnant women, newborns, children, and adolescents in marginalized communities around the world. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, the organisation also has offices across Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Kampala, Uganda, implementing a range of grassroots activities, with the vision to expand to many other countries in Africa and Asia. CSI has five core areas of focus and has successfully launched three programs in Tanzania and Uganda: (1) Saving lives at birth - we provide sterile, basic and necessary medical supplies to help low-income pregnant women deliver in a health facility with a skilled birth attendant. CSI works with nurses and midwives ensuring proper handling of medical supplies to avoid infection or preventable cause of death. (2) Girl Talk, Girl Power - CSI educates and empowers the adolescent girl-child, focusing on education and "taboo" topics i.e. menstruation, menstrual hygiene, sexual and reproductive health. CSI works with schools to reach out to girls and also distributes free sanitary towels to help the girl-child stay in school. (3) Keeping Youth Healthy, Alive, Informed - CSI reaches out to both boys and girls with age-appropriate messages for example on sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, sanitation and personal hygiene, and more to properly inform them. CSI collaborates with schools in this initiative, and is a member of the World Health Organization Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health, working with local and international partners to contribute in the achievement of local, national and global goals such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For more information: