The ‘WECare’ Project

‘WECare’: Supporting Women’s Empowerment and Respectful Maternity Care in Uganda

Uganda has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework focuses on improving Maternal Health through gender equality, human rights, empowerment and poverty reduction.

A recent United Nations report on the MDGs describes Uganda’s progress as ‘stagnant’ (UNDP, 2013): 99% of all maternal mortality occurs in low and middle income countries where delay in deciding to seek care (the ‘first delay’) is well documented to contribute to poor maternal and new-born outcomes (Bohren et al 2014).

Disrespectful care not only undermines women’s human rights and disempowers them; it also results in poor levels of engagement with public services and damaging delays in accessing them. Through empowerment of women and collaboration between healthcare staff, stakeholders, families and communities WECare will improve the well-being of mothers and babies.

WECare involves an action-research collaboration between UK Volunteer Midwives working through Knowledge for Change and our Ugandan peers in Kabarole District, Uganda. Motivated by the success of ‘Whose Shoes’, WECare examines conceptualisations of respectful care in the context of Ugandan public services and seeks to develop mechanisms to empower mothers and engage them in service planning. In-depth evaluation and adaptation will provide an evidence-based blueprint for policy transfer to other settings.

Project Leads:

Ms Hannah Webster (K4C Midwifery Volunteer), Mrs Euphrasia Kabahuma (Kagote Health Centre Midwife) and Ms Barbara Kamara (Mountains of the Moon University)






Project Support:

  • Dr Rosie Townsend (K4C Volunteer Obstetrician)
  • Ms Joanne Welsh (K4C Volunteer Midwife)
  • Dr Catherine Howell (K4C Volunteer Obstetrician)
  • Professor Louise Ackers (Chair in Social Policy, University of Salford)
  • Mrs Rose McCarthy (Midwife, University of Salford)


Project Partners

  • The Burdett Trust for Nursing (UK)
  • The Royal College of Midwifery (UK)
  • The University of Salford (UK)
  • Mountains of the Moon University (Uganda)
  • Kabarole District Health Office (Uganda)


Time Frame

January 2017 – July 2018

For Further Details

  • Professor Louise Ackers: or +44 (0) 161 295 2823
  • Mrs Hannah Webster: or +44 (0) 787 606 2440