The Foot Soldiers of Change

The Women Changing the Reality of Maternal Health in Nepal.

Emerging documentary photographer, Kelly McIlvenny, presents this investigation into the roles woman have played, as agents of medical intervention, in producing Nepal’s successful reduction in maternal deaths over the past twenty years, exploring how is this result attained within the constraints of the physical, cultural and social environments of Nepal. Engaging the audience through an immersive storytelling website and interactive exhibitions.



Nestled into the foothills of the Himalayas, the Baglung District of Nepal is a three hour drive on a semi-paved road from Pokhara the second largest city in Nepal. However, the district headquarters in Baglung Bazaar is where the sort of paved road ends and this story begins. The maternal mortality rate for Baglung District was 399/100,000 in 2010, only three years later in 2013 the maternal mortality rate would be recorded as 43/100,000. The following photographic documentation follows that journey to better health care. Starting in the District Hosptial, you meet the staff that are providing the main source of critical care for the 324,000 people of Baglung District. From here the journey takes you to some of the closer villages to Baglung where you will meet the Foot Soldiers of this health care revolution, the Female Community Health Workers of Resha, Lekhani, Narayansthan and Batakachaur. These women are all volunteers who have been selected by the mothers of their community to represent them and receive training from the government in partnership with INGO, One Heart World-Wide and local partner SWAN. From here the story takes us farther from the epicenter Baglung, to the villages of Pandavkhani, Hatiya, and Gwalichaur to meet the Skilled Birth Attendants who are performing deliveries in small birthing centers in order to prevent woman giving birth alone at home. Traveling back to the Baglung District Hospital in 2014, to witness the drastic change that has occurred since 2011. This is the story of the Foot Soldiers of Change, the soldiers winning the battle against Maternal Health in Nepal.