Contribution to MMI Annual Report 2015

How long does it take for a pregnant woman to reach a clinic? In the “most boring film” THE WALK, a Cordaid film team joined Chanceline who lives in a remote rural area of the Democratic Republic of Congo and, for just a simple check-up, has to walk 27 km and back again. THE WALK was presented by Cordaid at the Universal Health Coverage Day 2015 and was an eye-opener for many.

The motivation behind the development of the Cordaid Universal Health Coverage (UHC) film THE WALK came from the recognition that there is a need in urging greater action and progress on delivering UHC. It also wanted to raise awareness among different target audiences on the discrepancy of health service delivery around the world.

The most effective way to demonstrate the importance of UHC was to show what it meant for a pregnant woman in the countries where Cordaid works in. Not only was it to show the importance but also show how far countries are from achieving this goal. Organisations, donors, communities are all working to achieve UHC but it’s still not enough.

Given Cordaid’s long history in DRC especially in its health programming, it was decided to identify a pregnant woman in the communities we work in and show her reality of accessing healthcare services. The purpose was to remind ourselves and the world, we still have work to do. This becomes incredibly confronting by filming a pregnant woman walking 5 hours for a health check up and showing the entire walk.

This film demonstrates the need to apply the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so they matter most for women: maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights include better access to health services.

But also gender equality, education, environment, transport and economic empowerment would make the distance for women like Chancelline to health services in one or another way smaller.

Why watch a video for hours of Chanceline’s walk to the doctor?

Chanceline is a pregnant woman living in the remote village of Mulamba in Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the least developed countries in the world. For just a simple check-up, Chanceline has to walk 27 km and back again. During each pregnancy, she has to walk to the health facility five times. That is a total of 270 km by foot because she cannot afford transportation. It is an enormous challenge, even though she can be considered one of the lucky ones: 400 million others worldwide do not have access to essential healthcare services. In the 5 hour real-time video we join her for 27 km of her “crippling”, “agonizing” and “arduous” journey as described by the international press.

Walking is the only option for Chanceline. She has to walk through the dry lands on her own, for hours. Rain storms? Burning sun? People bothering her? So much can happen during these hours. A camera accompanied Chanceline on her walk, giving you the opportunity to join her during her forced adventure.

“A pregnant women’s 27 km agonising walk for one of the most important human rights.”
Leonard Foster, Journalist Flavour Mag, UK

Outreach of THE WALK

In weeks leading up to Universal Health Coverage Day, Cordaid produced a teaser which was shared widely amongst our network, through traditional outlets and new media. THE WALK premiered on UHC Day and within the first three days it had 52,701 views on Youtube. The outreach achieved on social media was 524,967. It was shared mostly shared on Twitter, with Facebook coming in second and Linkedin in third.

For 2016, THE WALK is the health campaign within our Communications strategy. Thus it will be continuously promoted and updated throughout the year with check-ins with Chanceline. The main aim of this video was for other like-minded organisations and platforms to use it to illustrate the importance of UHC in low and middle income countries. So please share widely.

Universal Health Coverage

Cordaid believes that healthcare should be available to anyone, anywhere. Worldwide, 400 million people lack the most basic life-saving health care. Health is a right not a privilege: 17% of people in low- and middle-income countries are pushed or further pushed into poverty (US$2/day) because of health spending. Up to one-third of households in Africa and Southeast Asia borrow money or sell assets to pay for health care. By working on accessible and affordable healthcare in the poorest, often conflict-affected, areas, Cordaid help achieves this goal by supporting local (health) organizations to improve their services and build stronger health systems through using a Results-Based Financing (RBF) approach.


This past January 4th, 2016 at 3AM, Chanceline delivered her 3kg800 baby, Anne Emmanuelle. Chanceline had to again walk to the clinic to deliver her baby. At nine months pregnant, she went four days before her delivery and the walk took her 3h30 until she finally reached the clinic. “All went well. I was accompanied by my girlfriends while my husbanc stayed at home working and taking care of our two other children” she said. According to nurses and doctors, the delivery went well. After the delivery, Chanceline returned home, walking again the
27 kilometers but this time holding Anne-Emmanuelle in her arms. However, two days after her return home, she had to return to the clinic to vaccinate her child. She will have to undergo the same journey every month until Anne-Emmanuel is nine months. An equivalent of almost
250 kilometers to walk not alone this time but with her baby too.

“This story is a powerful reminder of why we must keep working to deliver universal health coverage – quality, affordable care for everyone, leaving no one behind.”
Michael Myers, Managing Director The Rockefeller Foundation

For Cordaid, we will continue to strenghten health systems to ensure better access to maternal & child helath services and this will be done by advocating for UHC at in the countries that we work in. At the global level, we will support advocacy networks such as MMI to influence global policies for setting up standards of coverage for health services. Finally, we encourage every organisation that works on health to share the link of the film and show the film to demonstrate the plight of women in accessing much needed health services.

Contribution by Cordaid to the Annual Report 2015 of the MMI Network