Using evidence to drive action

We see a world where everyone is an advocate and has the power to use data to drive actions that transform health for all

Local health challenges for mothers and children are best understood and tackled by in-country actors and networks that are linked to global initiatives. With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) E4A-MamaYe (E4A) fosters sustainable local advocacy partnerships which bring together disparate actors to share information and navigate political processes and interests to make health systems accountable to women's needs.

This approach changes accountability ecosystems by radically shifting power imbalances in favour of more equal participation in decision-making. It also enables citizens, particularly women and marginalized groups, to exercise their power, elevate policy issues that are a priority for them to the forefront of government agendas, and collaborate to transform health services.​ Watch this short animation on how evidence can save the lives of mothers and babies.

Where do we work?

The geographic focus of our work evolves according to demand. We have worked in ten sub-Saharan African countries to improve maternal and child health in the following countries and regions:

  • Nigeria: programme office in Abuja; focused activities in Lagos, Niger and Bauchi states
  • Kenya: programme office in Nairobi; focused activities in Nairobi county and Bungoma county
  • Francophone Africa: ad hoc technical assistance for health financing in Francophone countries in which the Global Financing Facility invests

Building on our success

We bring together government officials, health professionals, civil society advocates and the media in coalitions that work towards positive change and transform data into easy-to-understand information, carefully targeting those who need to use it as evidence for decision-making. Through this we aim to achieve the following in the countries that we work:

  • Increased salence of maternal and newborn health (MNH) as a priority on government policy agendas
  • Holding government accountable for evidence informed decision making on MNH in targeted
  • Better resourcing of MNH services

Our approaches are informed by evidence-based best practices. These include tools for evidence-based advocacy to improve MNH services, strengthening accountability across the health system through Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR), and scorecards to track progress against commitments.  

How do we work?

In July 2019, we started a new phase of the programme with a focus on sustaining the approaches we have developed.

These include:

  • ensuring civil society are able to access, analyse and use data to advocate independently
  • empowering coalitions to be self-supporting
  • making our approaches, tools and resources publicly available for use across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond as Global Public Goods

Read more on how we will achieve this in the countries where we work: Kenya | Nigeria | Regional

We welcome opportunities for collaboration, partnership, knowledge sharing and capacity building with like-minded organisations. Contact us at:


The E4A MPDSR Action Tracker has spurred the Kenyan health sector to take numerous actions that have improved quality of care for women.

Advocacy, using E4A’s budget-advocacy-toolbox, resulted in an increase in budget releases for some services of to up to 60% between 2020-2021.

Following advocacy in Bungoma County, Kenya, the government commenced the construction of a fully-fledged blood transfusion centre.

In Lagos State, Nigeria, stock outs of essential lifesaving commodities reduced from 65% in 2016 to “zero” in 2020.

Funded by

Our experts

  • Marleen Vellekoop
    Marleen is a health governance specialist with over 14 years of experience in the international development sector. She has held leadership and advisory roles on public health projects in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She brings experience in health data systems, reproductive health and health security. At present she is Project Director for MamaYe! project which fosters advocacy partnerships that make health systems more accountable to women's needs.
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