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Lucy, a local hero

Investing in girls and women so they can reach their full potential is a big part of what we do at Plan. After all, when they do, everyone benefits – children, families, and communities.

Lucy Mutambikwa is a case in point. At 45, she’s one of more than 640 local women in Zimbabwe who are now equipped, trained and working as Village Health Workers, thanks to the support of sponsors like you.

Together, these women are literally saving lives – through outreach on child nutrition and immunization, disease prevention, family planning, and maternal and infant health. They also invest time with girls in the community, and serve as great role models.

Village Health Workers preparing for a busy day.

Like Lucy, most are passionate volunteers selected by their communities, and are known as leaders in their villages. Then we provide them with intensive training, along with medical supplies to treat minor illnesses, scales to weigh babies, uniforms, bags and bicycles to get around. Each volunteer serves about 250 households.

Each Village Health Worker receives a scale to monitor the growth of babies.

Lucy has been helping out with pregnancies and childbirths in her community since she was trained by the Ministry of Health 20 years ago, but says that until Plan came along making an impact was very difficult. Now, with better resources, more education, greater capacity and greater recognition for health care workers, Lucy says that her community is already seeing results.

A Village Health Worker celebrates with community members.

“Pregnant mothers are now booking appointments at the clinic,” says Lucy. “We’re keeping track of them, along with new mothers and children under five, so we can support them with regular visits to monitor their health.”

These local heroes are also reaching girls through home visits and school programs to ensure that they are getting access to sexual and reproductive education and health care so they can stay healthy, put off pregnancy and remain in school.

Lucy is a local hero and role model to women and young girls.

Because of the passion and dedication of Village Health Workers like Lucy, hundreds of thousands of lives are improving. And a generation of female leaders are inspiring young women and girls with their expertise and professionalism to stay in school and pursue their dreams.

Return to the Because I am a girl project