FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHAT IS PREGNANCY TWINNING?

Pregnancy Twinning is a charity scheme launched in February 2015, operated by Chasing Zero and in conjunction with Tearfund and partner organisations in Malawi. The idea is that individuals or groups in the UK pay a cost of £40, only £1 per week of pregnancy, to ‘twin’ themselves with a pregnant mother in Malawi, providing her with advice and practical help from a locally trained woman (known as a Mother Buddy), access to HIV treatment (if applicable) and transport to a hospital or clinic. The idea is that with each ‘twinning’ another mum and baby are given a better chance at life.

WHY IS PREGNANCY TWINNING NEEDED?

Women in Malawi are 70 times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than women in the UK. HIV/AIDS is still a huge problem in countries such as Malawi where 1 in 7 women are living with HIV, and by helping mums access anti­retroviral treatment we can work towards the goal of a generation born HIV-free.

WHAT CAUSES WOMEN TO DIE IN CHILDBIRTH?

Direct causes include: sepsis, obstructed labour, ruptured uterus, hemorrhage, eclampsia and unsafe abortion. Indirect causes include conditions which are aggravated by pregnancy, such as malaria, HIV and diabetes.

Both direct and indirect causes of maternal mortality are further impacted by issues such as a lack of health care staff (primarily nurses and midwives), lack of resources such as medical supplies, equipment and drugs.

These conditions became worse for rural women who are excluded from services due to distances, associated cost of transport, inadequate staffing in the health facilities and poor infrastructure in nearby facilities.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

For the programme to providing support for one woman costs £40.

There is also a small admin charge (£2 for email delivery and £4.95 for postal delivery) added to your donation to account for the costs solely related to supporter communications, such as delivering certificates. We didn’t want these costs to be deducted from the donation to the programme, which is why this is added on as an extra when you choose your delivery option. We’re happy to answer any questions on this so do get in touch with rachel@chasing-zero.org if you have any!

HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?

On our website, choose one of the options to support a pregnancy and decide whether you’d like your Pregnancy Twinning Birth Certificate delivered by email (£42 to include admin) or posted as a pack (£44.95 incl P&P). This donation is made via PayPal and you will immediately receive an email from certificates@pregnancytwinning.org with your Twinning Card giving you details of the pregnant woman you are ‘twinned’ with – a Malawian woman we’ve identified as needing extra support in her pregnancy. A few months later, when your twin has given birth, we’ll send you a Birth Certificate that includes a photograph of mum and baby.

IS PREGNANCY TWINNING A CHARITY?

No, we’re a scheme operated by the UK registered charity Chasing­ Zero (charity number 114344). Chasing Zero was established in 2012 with a vision to eliminate AIDs-related deaths by 2030. A huge element of this is preventing parent to child transmission which is why they began to work in maternal health in some of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is most prevalent.

The Pregnancy Twinning initiative operates through a partnership model of development, working with Tearfund and local agencies in Malawi and Sierra Leone to implement an integrated community-health approach using mother-to-mother peer support.

WHY IS PREGNANCY TWINNING A GREAT CAUSE TO SUPPORT?

Just in case the technical FAQs were making you drift off, here are our five favourite reasons:

1) It’s tangible, it’s personal and it works.

2) The idea is contagious – supporters don’t only want to help, they spread the word for us, reaching a wider audience than we could do alone.

3) We all come from pregnancies, it’s universal so we can all understand the cause and where the money is going.

4) Value – amidst all the items you need to acquire when you’re expecting, this life-giving offer is cheaper than most prams.

5) The framed certificate acts as a reminder of the impact of the gift, and works well displayed in corporate settings.

PROGRAMME QUESTIONS

WHERE DOES PREGNANCY TWINNING OPERATE?

Currently we are working in Southern Malawi in Balaka and Chiradzulu and in the North in Kamwe, Thoza and Ecwendeni. We also have a pilot taking place in three central Nigerian states.

WHO ARE THE MOTHER BUDDIES?

Mother Buddies are Pregnancy Twinning’s feet on the ground. They are specially-trained local mums from rural communities who have themselves been through pregnancy and given birth safely to HIV-free children.

Our award-winning Mother Buddies programme trains up local mums to help other pregnant women in their communities, giving them practical and emotional support and advice throughout pregnancy and afterwards, and ensuring a safer birth at a clinic or hospital. A recent study found that women supported by our Mother Buddies are more likely to have a safe pregnancy and birth, and a healthy child born free from HIV.

We’ve started training Father Buddies too!

WHERE EXACTLY DOES MY £42 GO?

The overall total to support a pregnancy is made up of various components which address some of the main barriers to a healthy birth. There are things like £12 to access ARV treatment to prevent the transmission of HIV to the baby and £5-7 on transport to a health clinic during labour. There is a £2 contribution to the administration costs of collecting, translated and sending information to you from your twin.

It also includes a contribution towards the training and stipend for their Mother Buddy who:

  • Visits a mum-to-be 8 times over a period of 15 months
  • Provides advice on pregnancy, nutrition and keeping healthy
  • Advises them to give birth in the local clinic or hospital rather than at home (a key factor in healthy deliveries)
  • Helps to develop a birth plan
  • Offers emotional support and counselling
  • Comes alongside them as a friend and a listening ear
  • Encourages the father (where possible) to play an active role in supporting the mother and unborn child
  • Supports them and their child in the first 6 months after birth

TWINNING QUESTIONS

WHAT DO I GET WHEN I TWIN A PREGNANCY?

You (or the person you twin on behalf of) will get a Twinning Card and Pregnancy Twinning Birth Certificate!

The only exception is the Give as a Present option for people who need a gift to give really soon – to save time, they will only receive a Birth Certificate showing a mum and baby we have recently helped.

WHICH TYPE OF TWINNING SHOULD I CHOOSE?

flowchart

WILL I HEAR ABOUT MY TWIN?

In return for your support, you will immediately receive some details about your ‘twinned’ expectant mum in Malawi on a Twinning Card. In due time, when she has delivered her baby, you will receive a Pregnancy Twinning Birth Certificate (by post or email), which includes a photo of mum and her new baby! This is usually a few months after you donate.

MY TWIN IS DUE THIS MONTH, WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD ANYTHING?

If you haven’t received your twinning certificate by the end of your due month it means we haven’t yet received a birth notification about your twin, but fear not, there are lots of simple reasons this could be:

  1. Your twin could be ever so slightly late and hasn’t given birth yet;
  2. Her due month may be later -because ultrasounds are not common in our clinics due dates are often very rough estimates, and have been up to 3-4 weeks out;
  3. Her Mother Buddy hasn’t made the first post-natal visit to her home yet which happens in the first week after birth;
  4. News about birth sometimes arrives a little slower in the UK if there’s been a power cut and the team has no internet for a few days (which happens frequently in Malawi).

We will always get in touch about the outcome of a pregnancy so if it’s the the end of the month following her due date check your spam folder as sometimes our emails get trapped in there. If you can’t see a message contact us at info@pregnancytwinning.org.

WILL MY TWIN HEAR ABOUT ME?

We currently don’t pass any information back to the mums in Malawi individually but they all know the impact of your donation and that there is a person in the UK rooting for them and hoping for the best for their pregnancy. We do want to build solidarity going forward so are collecting your photos and looking for ways to take your stories back to the mums in Malawi.

WHO CAN SPONSOR A PREGNANCY?

If you are have been pregnant, have a partner who is or has been, think you might be one day – or if you’re the result of a pregnancy, then you might consider sponsoring a pregnancy through Pregnancy Twinning! You can sponsor as a group or class or on behalf of someone else and we’ll send you the details and photo of the family that you have helped to give the very best start in life.

WHAT DO I FIND OUT ABOUT MY TWIN?

We’ll send you all sorts like the mums name, where she lives, how old she is, how her pregnancy is going and even the GPS for where she’s giving birth! When we send you info about the baby, we make a slight alternation and change their name. We do this for child protection reasons simply because they are vulnerable under 18s about whom we’ve told you their village and local health center. Keeping children born through the programme safe and healthy is our priority so we hope you don’t mind this minor edit.

We actually gather much much more info about mum and baby than is currently printed – things like their prematurity, birth weight and how well they’d adapted to breastfeeding so if there’s something you’d be interested in seeing on certificate in future let us know!

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