Tutu Fellow Kopano Mabaso and fellow medical doctor Chrystelle Wedi, both Rhodes Scholars, have won the Aspen Idea Award for an idea they pitched at the event in Colorado in June 2015.

The idea, called Ona Mtoto Wako project, meaning "see your baby" in Swahili, will take lifesaving antenatal care to pregnant women in remote & rural parts of low and middle income countries. Pregnant women will be given an opportunity to come “see their baby” through a free ultrasound using a mobile ultrasound scan bus.


The idea was that the “see your baby” visit could be used as an opportunity to tackle the leading causes of maternal and new-born deaths by identifying high risk pregnancies through ultrasonagraphy and screening for the common causes of maternal death. These include pregnancy-related anaemias and hypertension, HIV and malaria. In addition, the antenatal visit will also be used as an opportunity to obtain the mobile phone numbers of the women. Texts will be sent to the women with maternal and child health information and used to connect high-risk women to health care services in their area.

The Aspen Idea Award is a competition and more than 100 entries were received.  The Ona Mtoto Wako idea was selected as one of 5 finalists, giving Mabaso the opportunity to pitch live at the festival. After a public vote and Q&A session from the judges, they were selected as the first winner of the Aspen Idea Award, garnering them $25,000 to use to implement the idea.

The pitch by Mabaso of the idea can be seen on YouTube.









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About AFLI



The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.