Project’s Maternal Experience Study coming to a close

Last week, at the Canadian High Commission in Maputo, the project made a presentation of preliminary findings from its Maternal Experiences Study (MES). The MES is a longitudinal qualitative study of rural women’s experiences in maternal and reproduction health. Based on a series of indepth interviews over close to four years with 20 women from the communities in Inhambane where the project works, the study was designed to engage women in telling their own stories, and thereby to increase our understanding of their lives and issues. An overall objective was to identify what could help to improve their lives and propose some helpful interventions. A main strength of qualitative research is in its rich description and the women’s stories and words testify to their difficulties, their strengths and their contributions.

With the study coming to a close in March 2024, researchers prepared a presentation for discussion, entitled What do the women say? Listening to 20 women in rural Inhambane, which outlined the study methodology and preliminary findings. Based on an intersectional feminist, critical change approach, the study sought stories of women’s strength and agency within, and in addition to, those of violence, oppression and challenge. One of the key ideas to emerge was the contradiction that while women are main contributors to family and community social success, they are also the recipients of practices causing social harm.

The project will be making its findings public soon. Envisioned are a full-length report, as well as shorter pieces focusing on selected topics and on policy proposals. These will be in addition to the tools and presentations that were made over the course of the study.

In a study such as this, the contribution of our 20 participants, who took the time and had the courage to share their stories, is invaluable, and the project thanks them. The MES Principal Investigator is Dr. Sylvia Abonyi from the University of Saskatchewan, and the principal analyst is Lise Kouri, qualitative health researcher. Also contributing are members of the project team in Canada and Mozambique.