USAID, Kiawah Trust, and Dasra launch new maternal and child health alliance

News and Press Release
Originally published
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For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 7, 2013
USAID Press Office

Mumbai, India – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Kiawah Trust of U.K., and Dasra, India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation, launched a new $14 million partnership to address the healthcare needs of adolescent girls, mothers, newborns, and children in India. The announcement was made at the Dasra Philanthropy Week 2013 in Mumbai.

Indian women and children continue to face major health challenges. Approximately 67,000 mothers die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Almost half of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition, with about 70 percent of these children suffering from anemia. The alliance will engage multiple stakeholders to better foster innovation that addresses maternal and child morality.

In his address, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, said, “At the forefront of global innovation and progress, India is leading the fight against some of our greatest challenges in development--from ending extreme poverty to realizing a world without hunger. But innovation alone will not lead us to solve the world’s development challenges. Partnership and the inspiration born of local solutions hold the key to achieving unprecedented gains in human health, prosperity, and dignity.”

Dr. Shah invited India’s entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, foundations, financial institutions, investors, and philanthropists to join USAID in driving meaningful solutions to India’s development challenges. He added that development solutions proven effective in India can be used in collaboration with the private sector to benefit poor and vulnerable populations in India and across the globe.

Dasra’s research report Owning Her Future, funded by the Kiawah Trust, shows the root cause of maternal and child mortality is closely linked to the age of marriage and first pregnancy. This in turn is heavily influenced by level of schooling, livelihood options, access to clean drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. Speaking at the occasion, Lynne Smitham, co-founder of the Kiawah Trust, said that addressing these causes “leads to healthier, more prosperous and more stable families, communities and nations.” Talking about the partnership, she said, “Dasra, which will implement the alliance’s operations, has expertise in creating actionable knowledge, forging strategic funding partnerships, and building the capacity of high-impact organizations. This will enable this partnership to achieve its desired results”.

Deval Sanghavi of Dasra said, “Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector and stakeholder involvement. We need different forms of capital, skills, and networks to collectively find impactful and scalable solutions for the millions of women and children living in poverty in our country. This collaboration has the potential to build collective action and attract like-minded parties. ”

About Dasra

Founded in 1999, Dasra has become India's leading strategic philanthropy foundation. Over the past 14 years, Dasra has strengthened the growth plans of more than 200 non-profits and social businesses, engaged with and educated over 250 philanthropists on strategic philanthropy, enabled over $20 million in funding to social entrepreneurs, and published 11 research reports in education, health and livelihoods. For more information, please visit

About Kiawah Trust

The Kiawah Trust is a U.K. family foundation that exists to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.