Canada | January 9, 2019

Manitoba social impact bond will finance doulas for indigenous mothers

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, January 9 – The Canadian province of Manitoba is targeting a $3 million raise from private investors for a program to prepare and support at-risk indigenous mothers for birth and mothering.

Manitoba is looking to finance a pilot project to match 200 indigenous mothers with doulas, or birth coaches, for a one-year period, with the aim of reducing the risk of children entering the state’s child welfare system.

“Many mothers [don’t] get the services they need, or not readily, prior to giving birth,” Tara Petti of the Southern First Nations Network of Care, the organization partnering with Manitoba’s Department of Families on the program, told CBC. The partners will work with indigenous doula group Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag to ensure the support given is culturally aligned to the community.

The project is Manitoba’s first planned social impact bond, or pay-for-success initiative that will use private capital to finance a social program. It would be Canada’s fifth social impact bond and second focusing on at risk mothers. In 2014, Canada’s very first social impact bond launched in Saskatchewan targeted support for mothers whose children were at risk for entering foster care. The other impact bonds in play in Canada focus on workforce development, healthcare, and youth education.

Toronto-based MaRS Centre for Impact Investing has been recruited to fundraise for the program.