M3 is pleased to welcome Allison Shigo as one of our 2019 M3 Conference speakers!  Our theme this year is “What’s in Your Hand?” Allison had a camera in her hand while traveling through Ethiopia to work on the Emmy Award winning documentary, A Walk to Beautiful, a film following the lives of five Ethiopian women who have suffered from obstetric fistula. During filming, Allison witnessed firsthand the need for an organization that works with the Ethiopian community to ensure all women suffering from obstetric fistula are reintegrated into their communities, receive psychological care, education, support and the means to be productive post-surgery. So, in 2009, she co-founded Healing Hands of Joy (HHOJ), a non-profit working in Ethiopia to empower former fistula patients and eliminate fistula.

Working with a team of Ethiopian advisors she developed the innovative Safe Motherhood Ambassador Training program.  The Ambassador program provides maternal health education, income-generating skills training, micro-loans, and spiritual and psychological counseling. To date over 1,400 fistula survivors have graduated as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors, serving as advocates for safe delivery in their communities to prevent fistula. It is the only fistula prevention and social reintegration program in Ethiopia. HHOJ is a member of the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health’s Fistula Task Force. In partnership with USAID, Healing Hands of Joy has expanded nationwide in Ethiopia.

After A Walk to Beautiful, Allison created and co-produced Fistula Worldwide, Three Years Later. She also created and led the film’s outreach campaign, working side-by-side with the world’s leading fistula related international organizations in an effort to raise awareness of the issue of obstetric fistula and galvanize change.

HHOJ’s vision is to see new cases of obstetric fistula radically reduced in Ethiopia by 2020 with the goal of elimination and to see fistula survivors empowered and successfully reintegrated as self-contributors to their communities and educators in safe delivery.

Join us February 22-23 to hear Allison and our many other great speakers at the 2019 M3 Conference. CLICK HERE to register and save $5 by using promo code M3MISSIONS19.