The Liya Kebede Foundation

The Liya Kebede Foundation is a non-profit foundation launched by supermodel, designer and maternal health advocate Liya Kebede in 2005. Its mission is to advocate for better access to maternity care in regions where the need is high, and to support health worker training and maternal health advocacy related activities.



Amref Health Africa’s Stand Up for African Mothers campaign was launched in October 2011 to raise awareness of the critical need for better maternal health care in various countries across Africa. The Liya Kebede Foundation will support Amref Health Africa’s efforts to ensure that mothers receive the basic medical care they need during pregnancy and childbirth through continuous advocacy and communications efforts. 


Campaign in Focus - Stand Up For African Mothers

Liya Kebede and a new mother at a health facility in Kenya. 



Through the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign, Amref Health Africa aims to train 15,000 midwives to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Amref Health Africa uses a variety of methods to train midwives including traditional classroom-based teaching, and innovative methods such as distance learning and mobile learning, which allows midwives to study using basic mobile phone technology.

A skilled midwife can provide care and health education to 500 mothers annually – ultimately benefiting over seven million women per year in countries across Africa. Over 7,000 midwives have been trained since the campaign began in 2011. In partnership with the Liya Kebede Foundation, we aim to continue to raise global awareness of this issue and to meet the objectives of the campaign.


Mothers Conferences in Ethiopia


Liya and mothers at a Mothers Conference in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia. 


In addition to training midwives, Amref Health Africa organizes “Mothers Conferences” to improve maternal health in Ethiopia. “Mothers Conferences” are meetings held at health facilities where pregnant women and new mothers can openly discuss pregnancy and childbirth-related issues, as well as receive essential health education from doctors and other health workers like nurses and midwives. Amref Health Africa trains the doctors and health workers to organize and facilitate the meetings, and to provide the mothers with potentially life-saving information like the importance of delivering at a health facility.


In May 2016, we brought Liya Kebede to Debre Birhan in Ethiopia where she was able to participate in a Mothers Conference. Liya witnessed the mothers learning everything from warning signs during pregnancy to the importance of breastfeeding, how to recognize a contraction, vaccinations for both mother and baby, and even the importance of their sleeping position. Liya also observed the mothers being quizzed on different methods of family planning. Mothers Conferences not only provide women with the means to make educated health choices for themselves and their families, but also helps foster a support system of other mothers that the women can turn to.   



Liya listens to the concerns of two of the mothers at the meeting.
A mother raises her hand to answer a question during the meeting.



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