When I started CleanBirth.org, I felt that it was my privilege to help make birth safer for women in Laos who lacked resources and a voice. I bounded out of bed in the morning ready to work as much as my kids’ school schedules permitted me.

I am still as committed today, perhaps more so.  But I am not bounding out of bed anymore.

My boundless energy has diminished for a variety of reasons: an international move with 2 kids, frustration over local government rules, fundraising fatigue…

Despite moments of flagging energy, I keep on because of the commitment that I have made to women in Laos.  I keep on to support the powerful work done by our amazing local partner, ACD-Laos.  I keep on because so many others in Laos, nurses, midwives, community members, keep on in difficult circumstances.  After four years, we are a team.   They ask for what they need, knowing that I will listen and do my best to fulfill their requests.

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I am part of something that I began when I was energetic and searching for a purpose.  I continue this work, backed by a supportive Board of Directors, generous donors and my fellow members of the World Moms Network.

There was a time when I had to nag ACD-Laos staffers for data and they in turn had to repeatedly call clinics to get the information.  After four years, and training about Monitoring and Evaluation, nurses at our 43 clinics understand the need to provide monthly data.   Each month, they give ACD-Laos data that is then compiled into a spreadsheet detailing how many kits were given.  Further, ACD-Laos has taken over the twice-annual execution of  trainings in Clean Birth Kits protocol and infant care.

Our work to make birth safe is now directed by local ACD-Laos staff with the support of CleanBirth.org’sglobal donors.

When I am feeling less enthusiastic about drumming up donations, I think of this team we have built.  I know that women in Laos are depending on me and on CleanBirth.org donors to supply them with safe birthing supplies they need.  The nurses, thirsty for tools and knowledge to help mothers in birth, await our training.

We can’t disappoint them, so together we must press on.   A little weary at times but wiser and more effective.  We have built trust in these remote communities.  We have developed a system that works.

So we push on, directed by our local partners, with the goal of creating an environment where every mother has a trained birth attendant and every baby has infection-preventing supplies.  Where both mother and baby survive birth.

Kristyn Zalota, a World Moms Blog contributor from the USA, is a mom of two and also the founder of Cleanbirth.org, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Working with a local Lao partner, Cleanbirth.org empowers nurses to provide women in their communities with Clean Birth Kits and safe birthing education. To date, Cleanbirth.org has provided 5,000 birth kits and funded training for 250 nurses.

Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to CleanBirth.org. She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of CleanBirth.org. She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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