Tell us about yourself.

My name is Christiana Adebola Ogunbowale, am a native of Yoruba land from Lagos state, Epe Local Government.  I live and work in Lagos. I love helping people and my hobbies are meeting new friends, hospitality (showing care), learning new skills and reading motivational books.

I had my primary and secondary education here in Lagos and proceeded to an higher institution where I studied Accounting. I also have a diploma in Catering and Hotel management. As the saying goes, learnings continues till death therefore I am still looking forward to studying more to acquire more knowledge and most especially to becoming a professional in my career. 

To the glory of God, am married and blessed with three lovely children.

As a child, what did you want to become in future? What do you do now?

As a child I had so many dreams, some of which I have achieved and I am still working on others. Some of my childhood dreams were to become a Chartered Accountant, help people and become a councillor but now even as a graduate of Accounting, I am not really practicing because I cannot just sit in one place for so long (Bank or Accounting firm), when I know someone, somewhere needs my help. So I work in a government secondary school as an administrative staff and run my own event planning, decoration and catering business. I am also involved in some volunteering projects in my community. Because of my love for helping people I find myself in a vocation that enables my hobbies.

Why did you volunteer as a Mamalette Champion?

Christiana with an enrolee at a program site in Oworonshoki

I choose to volunteer as a Mamalette Champion because I see the mission and vision of Mamalette as an opportunity to make a difference in my community. In addition, I have a passion for maternal and infant health. The poor state of maternal and infant health in my community is something that really requires a lot of attention. 

I volunteer as a champion because it gives me a sense of purpose. I realized that pregnant women and new mums in my community are not well informed on issues that concerns their health and that of their children which does not make many of them visit the hospital when they are pregnant or when their children is sick and at the end they die untimely or lose their babies. This is not meant to be because every child and mother has a right to live.

Christiana with an enrolee at a program site in Oworonshoki

I also choose to volunteer because it continuously teaches me something new about people, and about myself. In helping others, I realize I am helping myself too because we are all in it together and we need to support each other.

I volunteer as a Champion because it gives me a sense of purpose.

Volunteering as a Champion was something I longed for. It helped me to dedicate my time to impacting lives, making new friends, learning new skills. It has also helped expand my network and boost my social skills. 

What was a striking moment for you during this program?

One of the most striking moments for me was the time a mother of five who was a member of my Mamalette Motherhood Cell Group (2018 program) told me she and her husband did not believe in family planning and as a result she was not ready to take up any family planning method.

Christiana at a Mamalette Motherhood Cell Group meeting in 2018

Another striking moment happened during the 2019 Home Visiting Program, one of my enrolees had had high blood pressure in a previous pregnancy and as a result her baby was still born (baby died in the womb). During her current pregnancy she was advised to register in a government hospital which she agreed to do, but after making enquiries and was informed her husband would be required to donate blood, she refused to register. She told me her husband could not donate blood so I took it upon myself to get a blood donor (my younger brother agreed to donate on behalf of her husband). When it got to the day we were to go for the blood donation, she called me to inform me that her husband instructed her to travel to their village to have the baby. I was really disappointed and I feared for her and her baby.

Can you share a story of an enrolee whose life you have impacted during this program?

I will like to share the story of a teenager who I met at the course of the 2019 Home Visiting Program. The teenage mother happened to be impregnated by a guy who was not ready to accept or take responsibility for the pregnancy. Unfortunately for her, her family was not also financially stable, so they couldn’t register her for antenatal care even at 5 months of pregnancy.

Christiana with two program enrolees

When I first visited her, she was looking really pale and unhealthy but with the help of Mamalette Community Foundation and the 2019 Home Visiting Program, she was registered in a good hospital for antenatal care and delivery. All tests, scans and pregnancy supplements were paid for by Mamalette. This brought hope to her and her family which also made me feel fulfilled.

Why is your community important to you?

My community is my neighbourhood and my neighbours are my first family so they are really very important to me because we need each other to make our society a better place. I love my community because we support each other. 

What in your life made you care about other people around you?

Christiana at the final day of the Mamalette Home Visiting training program in February 2019

During my first pregnancy I was young and really naïve, I had no experience and even when I went to the hospital there was no time to begin to ask questions or tell the doctors what I was feeling. After I delivered my baby, I realised that there were some things I didn’t take note of while I was pregnant and this almost killed my baby after one week of her birth. This is why I love to talk to mothers, listen to them and give the right information and education to them.

What is the worth of a pregnant woman’s life to you?

The worth of a pregnant woman’s life cannot be quantified, it is priceless. She is bringing a new life into the world; she is going through a lot during and after child birth. So she deserves the best care possible. Every mother and child has a right to live.

Describe a time during the program where you felt helpless.

Christiana at a program site

Most times, I feel helpless because I wish I could do more than just talking to and educating poor and socially disadvantaged mothers. I realize that most of my enrolees have some financial needs and some of them are going through challenges that require financial assistance. Mamalette Community Foundation is supporting in it’s own little way but I wish I could do more on my own end.  From the story of my enrolee who told me she will be going to her village to give birth, I know she was just trying to run away from the hospital expenses. In this kind of situations, I feel helpless.

My hope for my community is that it should be a safe and conducive environment, where they will be no record of infant and maternal mortality.

What is your hope for your community?

My hope for my community is that it should be a safe and conducive environment, where they will be no record of infant and maternal mortality and every pregnancy will have a happy ending. I also hope that my community will value the information on maternal and infant health passed to them through this program, so that they can teach them to their children and grandchildren. 

What message do you have for other women who are looking to make an impact in their communities?

Christiana with a program enrolee

My message to every woman who wishes to make impact is that they have to be passionate and be ready to start from somewhere. It was through Mamalette’s community programs that I started making an impact in my community. So my advice is that they should be ready to work with an organization that is committed to making an impact in the society.