It Should Never Cost Life to Give Life

Every other minute, a woman dies during pregnancy or birth. Every sixth second, a newborn suffers the same fate.

Maternity Foundation works to ensure safer births for women and newborns – everywhere.

We know that most maternal and newborn deaths happen in low-resource settings. We also know that the majority can be prevented if women receive quality care from a skilled healthcare worker. Likewise, we know that for every woman who dies, 20 – 30 women suffer preventable injuries, infections, or become disabled from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. 

This is why Maternity Foundation is building midwifery knowledge and skills among healthcare workers in low-resource areas. We do so by providing life-saving digital health solutions and innovative learning programmes.  


Maternity Foundation works to improve maternal and newborn health. We develop and integrate scalable programs and digital solutions that empower birth attendants, pregnant women and new mothers in low- and middle-income countries.


A world where no woman or newborn suffers preventable harm or death related to pregnancy or childbirth.


Maternity Foundation is committed to upholding the human rights. We promote social justice, we believe in human dignity, and we respect for the equal rights of men and women. Therefore, tackling sexual exploitation and abuse is a top priority.

If you as a member of staff or as external party become aware or suspect a breach of conduct or of sexual exploitation or abuse, you should report this in good faith and in full confidentiality via the email Our certified investigator will respond with 1-2 business days.

Our history

We started out in 2005 as a smaller Danish organisation working in western Ethiopia. Today, we are an international NGO with offices in Ethiopia, India, and Denmark and partner engagements in 15 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. 

Since 2010, HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has been a patron of Maternity Foundation.

Key milestones


  • Partnership with, a non-profit organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focusing on bringing the latest behavioral machine learning technologies to improve healthcare in underserved communities. Maternity Foundation and ai’s joint paper on learning from the Safe Delivery App was accepted at at the KDD international conference on Applied Data Science for Healthcare and received one of the Best Paper Awards
  • Launch of the Khmer version of the Safe Delivery App in partnership with the Cambodia Ministry of Health and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  • Launch of our new free and open e-learning platform for nurses across India with India Nursing Council and in partnership with AastarUrmika Health System Pvt Ltd
  • Launch of Swahili version of the Safe Delivery App 
  • The Safe Delivery App reaches more than 250,000 downloads – 40,000 of them are in India 


  • Launch of anniversary book and celebration of Maternity Foundation 15 years of anniversary
  • Launch of new COVID-19 modul in the Safe Delivery App  
  • Maternity Foundation hires Chief Technical Officer to upgrade technical capacities in-house 
  • New module launch, concerning normal birth, in the  Safe  Delivery App
  • Launch of Arabic version of the Safe Delivery App
  • The Safe Delivery App is launched in Haiti
  • A new module in the Safe Delivery App as well as a digital learning platform on how to manage Covid-19 are launched in several different languages in partnership with Laerdal Global Health, International Confederation of Midwives and UNFPA
  • A new module on the normal birth is launched in the Safe Delivery App
  • An Arabic version of the Safe Delivery App is developed in collaboration with UNFPA and MSF with support from Johnson & Johnson
  • Increased focus on digital training opportunities as Covid-19 shuts down a lot of physical training activities, i.e in Haiti and Guinea
  • Maternity Foundation employs as Chief Technology Officer to upgrade in-house technical capacity
  • Maternity Foundation now has 40 employees in Copenhagen, Ethiopia, India, New York and Moscow
  • Collaboration with WCEA (World Continued Education Association) about distributing digital training modules from the Safe Delivery App on their platform
  • Maternity Foundation writes an Op-ed with Danish Development Minister in the Danish online media Altinget on the importance of prioritizing women’s health during Covid-19
  • In August, the Safe Delivery App has been downloaded 150,000 times


  • The Safe Delivery App is launced in Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh and Zambia
  • Partnership with Danish PlanBørnefonden to adapt and roll-out LUCY, the SMS service for pregnant women and new mothers, in Benin
  • Tech-expert Jimmy Maymann and medical doctor Anne Marie Worning join the board of Maternity Foundation
  • Important milestone is reached as the Safe Delivery App hits 100,000 downloads
  • The Novo Nordisk Foundation gives financial support to Maternity Foundations-s work in humanitarian settings, including in refugee- and IDP camps in Ethiopia
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Merck for Mothers extend financial support to scale up an roll-out of the Safe Delivery App for an additional three
  • Anna Frellsen signs UNFPA’s ”Safer Births Even Here”-commitment at the UN General Assembly in New York
  • R.H. Crown Princess Mary invite Maternity Foundation for a workshop at the royal castle together with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Maternity Foundation is part of a task force to develop The Global Strategy for Newborns in Humanitarian Settings in Geneve
  • At the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver, Maternity Foundation organizes an EdTech Talk in collaboration with Laerdal Global Health, International Confederation of Midwives and Microsoft
  • Anna Frellsen participates in the ICPD25 conference in Nairobi and commits to reaching 250,000 health workers with the Safe Delivery App before the end of 2021
  • Anna meets the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during the UN General Assembly in New York and afterwards receives a personal letter of support of Maternity Foundation’s work
  • The CSR partnership with the Danish jewelry company Carré Jewellery is expanded to also include a LIV necklace
  • Drawing from Ethiopian children on motherhood is the Mother’s Day card of the year
  • The world’s largest development media, Devex, publishes a story about the Safe Delivery App
  • UNFPA in Sierra Leone publishes an article about the Safe Delivery App
  • Former Danish Minister of Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, receives an award from Zonta Denmark for her work with promoting women’s health and rights and donates the prize money to Maternity Foundation


  • Safe Delivery App is launched in Myanmar, Somalia, Sierra Leone, and Togo
  • Maternity Foundation opens an office in New Delhi, India
  • The Safe Delivery App is integrated into the national training curriculum for skilled birth attendants in India
  • The Safe Delivery App is now used across 40 different countries and downloaded nearly 60,000 times
  • A research study on the Safe Delivery App in DR Congo shows significant improvements in health workers’ knowledge and confidence after using the App for three months
  • The Safe Delivery App is launched in three local Ethiopian languages: Somali, Amharic and Afaan Oromo
  • New partnership with Laerdal Global Health to use tech and innovation in training of skilled birth attendants
  • Partnership with five universities in Ethiopia to make the Safe Delivery App part of the curriculum in midwifery schools
  • Maternity Foundation are co-hosting a TechVelopment round table event in Addis Ababa with UN Women, The Danish Embassy, and the Danish IT University, ITU
  • Event about the Safe Delivery App at the Danish Embassy in Tanzania
  • A drawing competition among Danish children is the Mother’s Day card of the year
  • Maternity Foundation is part of a podcast about the SDGS together with PlanBørnefonden
  • Maternity Foundation participates in a TechVelopment Roundtable event in Addis Abeba on supporting women and girls in Ethiopia with tech. The event is co-coordinated with UN Women, The Danish Embassy in Ethiopia and ITU.
  • The Myanmar version of the Safe Delivery App is launched in cooperation with Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports and Danish Medical Women’s Association.


  • The Hindi version of the Safe Delivery App is launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Jhpiego with the support of MSD for Mothers.
  • The Safe Delivery App is launched in a Lao version together with the Lao PDR ministry of health, World Bank and UNFPA.
  • Presentation at UNFPA event on maternal health in humanitarian settings at the global International Confederation of Midwives conference in Toronto.
  • Launch of Lucy, a text message service for pregnant women in Ethiopia, together with partners TTC Mobile, Health(e)Foundation and Ethiopian Midwives Association.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides support for the implementation and scale-up of the Safe Delivery App.
  • Commitment with UN’s Every Woman Every Child to reach 20.000 skilled birth attendants with The Safe Delivery App App before end of 2018, thereby help ensuring more than 2 million women a safer childbirth.
  • Updated version of The Safe Delivery App is launched based on WHO’s global clinical guidelines.
  • Artist Sofe Bird Møller creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Maternity Foundation and Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA) enters into a partnership on developing a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) curriculum for midwives in Ethiopia, integrating The Safe Delivery App.
  • Based on the successful results from our program in Ethiopia, launch of new Maternal and Newborn Health program targeting nine new districts (600.000 people and 28 health facilities) in West Wollega in Ethiopia.
  • The Safe Delivery App is featured in a new film produced by Apple about the power of apps presented by Apple CEO Tim Cook at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
  • Maternity Foundation has a strong presence at the Woman Deliver conference in Copenhagen, which gathers more than 5000 stakeholders from the global health and women’s rights community. This includes co-hosting the event “Scaling Innovations to Save the Lives of Mothers and Babies” with MSD for Mothers, UN Foundation, Concern Worldwide, Philips and more.
  • Article on The Safe Delivery App is published in the internationally renowned medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.
  • Participation in workshop in London on mobile health hosted by MSD for Mothers and Gates Foundation.
  • Danish jewelry company Carré produces the LIV (“Life”) bracelet in support of Maternity Foundation.
  • Artist Jeppe Eisner creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • The Safe Delivery App is launched in App Store and at Google Play.
  • The Safe Delivery App is presented at several international conferences, including the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Conference in Vancouver and Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City.
  • Commitment to reach 10.000 health workers with the Safe Delivery App announced with UN’s Every Women Every Child during the UN General Assembly in New York.
  • Co-hosting event on “Mobile Innovations for Maternal Health” at the Morgan Library and Museum during the UN Week in New York together with MSD for Mothers, Marie Stopes Tanzania and mPowering Frontline Healthworkers.
  • The French Embassy’s Human Rights Prize is awarded to Maternity Foundation by Ambassador François Zimeray at a memorable ceremony at the French Embassy in Copenhagen.
  • Establishment of a task force of 24 trainers in Ethiopia, who will conduct trainings of midwives and health workers based on an intensive course in facilitation skills and Maternity Foundation’s training compendium.
  • Celebration of Maternity Foundation’s 10 year anniversary attended by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary.
  • Photographer Anne Prytz Schaldemose creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Continues to operate under the name of Maternity Foundation now independently from the British sister organization Maternity Worldwide.
  • Completion of the clinical trial of the Safe Delivery App in Ethiopia in cooperation with University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark.
  • Establishment of the first Regional Maternal Capacity Hub in Addis Abeba in Ethiopia, our first major step in becoming a leading innovator and catalyst for maternal and newborn health across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Recruitment of first Regional Manager based in Ethiopia.
  • Receives the prestigious Vallø Pris.
  • Presents results at international conferences such as GETHealth Summit in Dublin.
  • Artist Anika Lori creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Launch of the project: “mHealth for Maternal and Perinatal Health Research project (2013-2014)” to test mobile health tools developed in cooperation between University of Copenhagen and Maternity Foundation.
  • Partnership with SOS Children’s Villages about capacity building SOS’ health clinics within reproductive health.
  • Becomes an operational partner to the Ethiopian regional health authorities’ Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care training program.


  • Partnership with the Danish branch of the international pharmaceutical company MSD/Merck. Through this partnership Maternity Foundation is invited to apply for a grant under the MSD/Merck for Mothers’ Global Giving Program. A grant is successfully obtained to Maternity Foundation and University of Copenhagen’s mHealth development and research project.
  • Partnership with Grundfos about sustainable technologies to enhance safe birthing environments in targeted health facilities in Ethiopia.
  • Collaboration with the Ethiopian regional health ministry about the establishment and running of a satellite training center for basic emergency obstetric and newborn care.
  • Partnership with the Norwegian foundation Kavli Trust regarding support for integrated maternal health project.
  • Christian Stadil is designer behind a custom made iPhone cover as part of the annual Mother’s Day campaign.


  • Second phase of the “Integrated Maternal Health Project (2011 – 2014)” in West Wollega, Ethiopia, targeting 60 villages, 2 hospitals, 8 health centers and 80 health posts in 4 districts is established. The integrated approach focuses on building the capacity of the health system through clinical training and on empowering the community through health education and livelihood strengthening.
  • Partnership with University of Copenhagen about developing and testing innovative mHealth (mobile health) technologies and approaches for reproductive health.


  • Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark becomes the patron of Maternity Foundation.
  • Attainment of independent NGO operating license in Ethiopia enabling a scale up of the program.


  • Establishment of a long-term operational partnership with The Obel Family Foundation (Det Obelske Familiefond) and a number of other partners including; Bech Bruun (legal assistance), Buus Jensen (audit) and Decato (IT and communication).
  • First Mothers’ Day fundraising and awareness campaign: “Save a Mother’s Life on Mother’s Day”.


  • First phase of the “Integrated Maternal Health Project (2006 – 2009)” in West Wollega, Ethiopia, targeting 40 villages, 4 health centers and 1 hospital in 3 districts is established. The integrated approach focuses on building the capacity of the health system through clinical training and on empowering the community through health education and livelihood strengthening.


  • Maternity Foundation is founded by M.D. in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Henriette Svarre Nielsen, and five other Danish women.