Allison Shigo

Allison Shigo received an Emmy Award for her work on A Walk to Beautiful, winner of the International Documentary Association award for Best Feature Documentary 2007. A Walk to Beautiful screened at over 25 film festivals worldwide, won several audience choice awards, and was theatrically released in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. For the DVD release of A Walk to Beautiful, she created and co-produced Fistula Worldwide, Three Years Later. She 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.

In 2009, Allison 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 to provide reintegration and rehabilitation services to fistula survivors. The Ambassador program provides maternal health education, income-generating skills training, micro-loans, and spiritual & 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. Healing Hands of Joy 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.