On a recent trip to Senale, our staff met 18-year-old Senbetua Hagos who had just given birth to her first child at the new Senale Health Center. Glimmer staff arrived just as Senbetua’s relatives began a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony in celebration of the new addition to their family.

Senbetua’s story is just one indication of the amazing change taking place in Senale. Just a year ago, clean, private space for laboring women was not available in this area. In addition, the tradition here of delivering babies at home was strongly held. Encouraging women to come to the new health center to deliver was considered a challenge.

Word has traveled fast and now the reputation of the health center has brought many women here for maternal services. Even women from the neighboring Afar region are traveling across the border to Senale for access to safe, reliable care. This is especially notable because it has softened religious conflict between the two regions. Today, these communities have something they share — dependable access to a safe delivery.