Our Strategy

MacArthur’s grantmaking supports efforts to reduce maternal mortality and improve the quality of maternal and reproductive health care in India, Mexico, and Nigeria. After more than 30 years of work in population and reproductive health, the Foundation will conclude this grantmaking by 2020.

As we bring our work in population and reproductive health to a close, the Foundation will narrow its focus to three areas: In Mexico, we will seek to support and advance the field of professional midwifery; in India, we will work to improve the quality of maternal health care; in Nigeria, we will support initiatives to improve the supply of trained health workers.


MacArthur has a long history of supporting work in population and reproductive health in India, Mexico, Nigeria, and globally. The Foundation is proud of the many accomplishments of the innovative, dedicated grantees supported through this work, which has helped to bring about a paradigm shift in the sexual and reproductive health field. Achievements over years of partnership with organizations include bringing attention to maternal health and young people’s sexual and reproductive health issues globally, and improving access to quality health care, rights protections, and sexual education curriculum in countries around the world.

In recent years, the Foundation has supported broad and deep efforts to accelerate progress on the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5, aimed at improving maternal health.

The primary goals of the Foundation’s grantmaking in population and reproductive health are to reduce maternal mortality and improve the quality of maternal and reproductive health care in its focus countries: India, Mexico, and Nigeria.

The Foundation also supports selected organizations in the population and reproductive health field whose work promotes innovation in policy, programs, and services.

Reducing Maternal Mortality in India and Nigeria

Globally, roughly 289,000 women die each year from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth and virtually all of these deaths take place in developing countries. Most maternal deaths are preventable, given sufficient resources. The United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5 called for a reduction in maternal mortality ratios of 75 percent (from their 1990 levels) by 2015. Since 1990, the maternal mortality ratio has dropped by 45 percent – a sign of progress and indicator that more work remains. MacArthur's support of work on maternal mortality seeks to increase the chances that women will have safer pregnancies and deliveries. These improved outcomes are also an indicator of the availability of services that help women make informed reproductive choices.


During the legacy phase of maternal health grantmaking in India, the Foundation aims to accelerate progress of the Indian health system’s transition from an emphasis on creating access to maternal health services to one that prioritizes provision of high-quality services, and lay the groundwork to institutionalize quality improvement practices for maternal health in the public and private health sectors. The grantmaking strategy will support efforts to foster a quality of care agenda through building evidence and supporting advocacy for quality maternal health services, strengthen the supply of quality maternal health services in the public and private sector; and strengthen demand for quality services by supporting for accountability mechanisms.

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited inquiries for work in India.


During the legacy phase of maternal health grantmaking in Nigeria, the Foundation will support initiatives to improve the supply of trained health workers. More information about this work will be provided in the coming months.

Enhancing Quality of Maternal Health Care in Mexico

The World Health Organization and other international health bodies have acknowledged the professional midwife as the guardian of normal pregnancy and birth and have recently recognized the shortage of professional midwives internationally. Yet professional midwifery is uncommon in Mexico, and options for training and employment are scarce. The 2014 State of Midwifery in the World estimates that there are only 78 professional midwives in Mexico.

In 2015, MacArthur began a three-year grantmaking strategy that seeks to improve maternal and reproductive health by strengthening and supporting professional midwifery. This time-limited grantmaking strategy will support efforts to expand professional midwifery training venues and trainers; to deploy midwives by supporting their integration into the health teams and communities and creating new models; to improve state and federal policy surrounding midwifery to facilitate licensing, hiring, and integration; and to educate the public, healthcare providers, and other important audiences about midwifery.

The Foundation accepts unsolicited inquires for midwifery-related work in Mexico. Potential applicants for promoting professional midwifery in Mexico should include in their letter of inquiry how the proposed work will expand opportunities for formal training in professional midwifery; successful deployment of midwifery in the work force; or address policy needs or the acceptability of professional midwifery in Mexico, as well as information regarding previous experience and connections with others in the field. Priority will be given to proposals for work in states where the health and/or education system has taken concrete steps in support of midwifery.

Supporting the Broader Sexual and Reproductive Health Field

A global complement to the country-specific grantmaking in India, Mexico, and Nigeria, the International portfolio has made awards to sustain the infrastructure of the broader reproductive health field; reinforce country work; fund research; support global maternal and reproductive health efforts; and promote advocacy and accountability.

The Foundation no longer accepts unsolicited inquiries for this portfolio.


Updated September 2015


Portrait of Stephanie Platz

Stephanie Platz

Managing Director, Programs

Erin Sines

Acting Director, Population & Reproductive Health
Portrait of Moutushi Sengupta

Moutushi Sengupta

Director, India Office
Portrait of Sharon Bissell Sotelo

Sharon Bissell Sotelo

Director, Mexico
Portrait of Dipa Nag Chowdhury

Dipa Nag Chowdhury

Deputy Director, India Office
Portrait of Kole A. Shettima

Kole A. Shettima

Director, Africa Office
Portrait of Oladayo (Dayo) Olaide

Oladayo (Dayo) Olaide

Deputy Director, Nigeria Office
Portrait of Liliane Loya

Liliane Loya

Program Officer, Mexico
Portrait of Gabriela Suarez

Gabriela Suarez

Program Administrator
Portrait of Laura Young

Laura Young

Program Associate