With their hospital in a shocking condition local Christian women could take no more. So the local Micah Challenge organisation group in Epworth, Zimbabwe, co-ordinated 58 Christians to help a clean up inside and outside of the hospital, and especially in the maternity wing. The event has resulted in far cleaner wards and clinic - but also ongoing relationships with the hospital managers for a long-term partnership.
It is just one of dozens of Micah Challenge advocacy campaigns taking place across the globe, helping to bring about the Millennium Development Goals on eradicating extreme poverty by 2015.
Peter Bare, Micah Challenge Coordinator in Zimbabwe, said: "This was true Christian campaigning in action. It was terrific to see the women taking the lead to help people locally. The church was alongside the community and of course women understand what it's like to have a baby so their interest in the clean-up was personal."
"The hospital Sister was so encouraged by the church women and was amazed at such community transformation. I don't really think the community has been transformed by one clean up so this motivates us to keep going. The women have now had a community meeting this week to work out the next steps in this long-term strategy."
Micah Challenge Zimbabwe campaigners are mobilising Christians across the nation to help organise similar campaigns in their communities. In the Epworth clean-up there was a special bias towards the maternity ward since the campaign focuses on maternal and child health.
Peter added: "The Nurse Sister also expressed an interest in having the campaigning local pastors come for prayers with the staff. We were also able to talk with the Sister about the availability of water at the clinic and the cleanliness of the clinic environment. Some of the wards were in a sorry state but have now turned the corner."
Micah Challenge (MC), an initiative of the World Evangelical alliance, is a global movement to encourage deeper Christian commitment to the poor and hold governments to account for their pledge to halve extreme poverty by 2015. MC aims to be a global voice on poverty for Christians, encouraging them to learn about the issues, find ways to reach out and help the poor, and to fight for justice. For more information, go to: www.micahchallenge.org.