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How to run an activation session for a group of women interested in connecting with pregnant or new mothers

Connect with a new mother 1st 1000 days


Right click on the image and choose save or make your own agenda. It is easy to share it on a WhatsApp chat. Have a look at Canva.com if you need help to make it look pretty. You can download some of our clipart here.

After greeting everyone and thanking them for being there, tell them that you want to start by showing them a video that illustrates clearly why supporting new mothers and the development of children is critical – especially for us in South Africa.

Show the “What will bring the next real change video” (See tip 2 below)

If they have already seen it, you could rather show the Cape Town Embrace video: Kathryn and Thomisa (see tip 2). Refer to the introductory information explaining the importance of the ‘First 1000 Days’ and ‘who the moms are needing our support most’ in this guide to engage in a discussion around why supporting new mothers is critical in South Africa right now.

After watching the video see if anyone has comments and discuss. Although it is clear why it is important to create such supportive relationships, it can be hard to start a relationship with a stranger, now ask each woman to share what brought her to the meeting today – why does she feel moved to take this on?

Your objective for the meeting is for each person to make entirely sure that cultivating a relationship with a pregnant or new mother is something she would be willing and able to take on; and to develop a plan of action to get mother-to-mother support relationships going.

Next provide a brief explanation of how it works to establish a mother-to-mother relationship. Have a look here for a brief summary and study Step 3 of this guide to prepare. Provide a print-out of all the necessary information if you can (see tip 1 below).

The activity that will take the most time during your session focusses on getting our head and heart space right to start and cultivate meaningful relationship with a new/pregnant mother.

Now might be a good time to serve coffee/tea which people can enjoy while watching the videos in the next section of the session.

Start by showing the video by Chimanda Adichie – the danger of a single story (see tip 2 below)

Questions and reflection points: Why was it important to watch this video? We have single stories about each other in South Africa and we have little opportunity to learn about the richness of each other’s lives. If we enter this relationship unaware of the single stories that we hold, we open our interaction to be patronising and even judgmental, and we diminish the possibility of truly relating. We need to cross the bridge from simply interacting with our ‘ideas’ about another person towards truly interacting with the person and their essence.

Next show the video by Hedy Schleifer – the power of connection (see tip 2 below)

Questions and reflection points: This video contains many valuable points and practical advice on how to move beyond our ideas about people and truly connect to them. What was some of the points that stood out for you from this video? You can download the script for this video here and distribute to those interested.

Note: watch the suggested videos in preparation for the session.

Each woman should now have a sense of whether she feels up to starting such a relationship with a new mother, she can let you know of her decision afterwards (see tip 3 below). For those going continuing, the next step is developing a plan to identify and connect with new moms (if this is not already arranged). Go through the options in Step 2, decide as a group how you would like to approach it and who will take responsibility for what. Creating a WhatsApp chat for your group will make it easier to organise things.

Use the information and tools provided in Step 3 to go through the process for the first meeting with a new mother (See tip 1)

After each or most of moms in the group have had their first meetings with a new mother, your group should meet again to debrief and support each other. Feel free to adjust any suggested programme methodology in a way that fits best with your group and circumstances.

Tip 1:

If you cannot afford to print copies of the guideline and resource documents for everyone, ask each participant if she would be willing to contribute ± R15 for a black-and-white copy (write to communications@dgmt.co.za for an electronic copy).

Tip 2:

Write to us at communications@dgmt.co.za to request links to download a high res copies of videos for screening from your hard drive.

Tip 3:

There is nothing wrong if someone don’t feel up to starting such a relationship, it can be emotionally taxing and one must be in the right space in your own life to take it on. A wonderful alternative way to contribute is to find ways of helping children to love reading – have a look here for ideas.

Tip 4:

Click here to download a generic invite to an activation session that you can send via Email/WhatsApp/SMS to interested women.

Please tell us about your group here: communications@dgmt.co.za and like the Cape Town Embrace Facebook page to join a network of people supporting new mothers.