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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Fistula Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, International, International Development, Specifically Named Diseases

Mission: Fistula Foundation is dedicated to treating women suffering from obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury that destroys a woman’s life. It leaves her incontinent, humiliated, and too often shunned by her community. A fistula can occur when a mother has a prolonged, obstructed labor, but doesn’t have access to emergency obstetric care, such as a C-section. Surgery is the only cure.

Results: Fistula Foundation is the global leader in fistula treatment, providing more surgeries to more women than any other organization. To date, we have partnered with more than 150 sites in 32 countries across Africa and Asia to deliver life-changing repair surgeries. Thanks to the incredible support of compassionate people like you, Fistula Foundation surpassed 50,000 surgeries in 2020! In 2014, we launched a groundbreaking countrywide treatment program in Kenya that has the potential to end fistula across the country in a generation. With your support, we built a network of care that covers every step of a woman’s journey to healing—from training healthcare workers to spread the word in their communities, to training more fistula surgeons, to equipping hospitals with everything they need to provide high-quality care. This strategy has allowed us to effectively treat more Kenyan women than ever before. The program was so successful that Fistula Foundation deployed the countrywide treatment model to a second country, Zambia, in 2017. Both programs are thriving, and we look forward to expanding into more countries as we raise the additional funds to do so.

Target demographics: Obstetric fistula most commonly affects young women in poor, rural areas of Africa and Asia with limited access to emergency obstetric care. The fistula leaves a woman unable to control her urine and/or feces, which can afflict her with chronic infections and pain. What's more, with too little community understanding of fistula and its causes, a woman can be blamed for her condition and shunned by her neighbors and family. Over a million women worldwide suffer from this wrenching condition.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2019, we provided 8,258 life-changing fistula surgeries to women in need—this is our main measure of success. To maximize the number of women we can help, we also fund activities that remove obstacles to treatment—including providing certified training for fistula surgeons, enabling grassroots outreach and education in rural communities, and equipping hospitals so they can provide the type of specialized care that fistula patients need.

Geographic areas served: Since adopting a global mission in 2009, we have partnered with more than 150 hospitals and clinics in 32 countries in Africa and Asia. We also operate two countrywide treatment networks in Kenya and Zambia, and look forward to expanding into even more countries in the future.

Programs: Our main focus is to provide as many fistula repair surgeries as possible. We also remove the barriers that stand in the way of women receiving life-changing care, including training for fistula surgeons, equipment and supplies, grassroots community outreach, and holistic post-surgery rehabilitation.

Community Stories

740 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

The work of the Fistula Foundation is outstanding. I am honoured to contribute what I can to such a great cause.

Donor

Rating: 5

After hearing about the impact of fistula surgery in Ethiopia, I was very pleased to make contact with Fistula Foundation and the work it is doing in this field in many countries. Since then I have donated every year.

Donor

Rating: 5

I work in the charity sector and I first heard about this org recommended by Peter Singer, an ethical philosopher -as a good example of making every cent count. Such important work, difficult to discuss and therefore all the more valuable. All round impressive

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting Fistula Foundation for many years. From the moment I first heard about their work my heart felt open and I wanted to help in any way I could. I've contributed annually and as often as possible. Every contribution is welcomed, no matter the size. I appreciate the stories of success and the photos that accompany them. Their work is endorsed by Charity Navigator which is important to me. I know that the money donated goes to helping people and is well-spent. There aren't enough words to express my admiration for their leadership and work. I have been happy to recommend them to others.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I have supported charities throughout our lives. Our most favorite charity has been and still is Fistula Foundation, which we have significantly supported for ten years. This charity is effective, efficient and communicates very well with donors, a rare quality we have not seen in other charities we have supported in past. Kate Grant, current CEO, is a phenomenal leader and manager with very good business sense and charity acumen. We love the difference being made for women suffering from fistula birth problems. These women get medical attention, care and training to provide new quality of life. We are very proud and blessed to contribute significantly to such successes in behalf of these women. We feel so strongly about such support that we plan to contribute on regular basis and have put Fistula Foundation as part of estate planning upon death to help ensure its continued success. We are also planning a trip to Kenya at our own expense in near future to visit Fistula hospital, clinics and programs.

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about this charity through celebrity Jeopardy and was so glad I did. They are a pleasure to donate to and do such important, life-changing work. I like to donate to them for Mother's Day in honor of my mom.

Donor

Rating: 5

I can’t fathom the cruelty of women, and in many cases, girls, being ostracized and cast out of their families because of a bodily injury. The added humiliation from losing their ability to maintain basic personal hygiene is unimaginable.

I support the Fistula Foundation whenever I am able. It’s an organization that, in supporting and nurturing women through a simple medical procedure, also contributes to the much needed education of their families and communities.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For the last 6 years Gynocare has received tremendous support from Fistula Foundation with resultant fistula repair and rehabilitation to thousands of most needy fistula patients. The life changing surgeries these patients have received has had a great impact to these women who couldnt have afforded the surgery. The generous donations from Fistula Foundation has had a big impact on fistula surgery in Kenya and the East Africa Region.

Gynocare Fistula Center in Kenya has managed to build a new fistula center from generous donation from Fistula Foundation and donors. We are really touched by this great support and wish you the very best and all your partner donors for their generosity and love.

Dr Hillary Mabeya, Fistula Surgeon, Gynocare Womens and Fistula Hospital, Eldoret , Kenya.

Donor

Rating: 5

Every year since I read "The Hospital by the River" many many years ago, I give the money necessary to fund the surgery for one woman. I'm not wealthy and I sincerely wish I could give more. I also give to a number of other organizations including my church, but I feel this organization uses my money to the best possible outcome. I am humble to think that there are a number of women in this world who have been restored to wellness in their community because of the money I was able to give. You all have a soft spot in my heart. Bless you!

Donor

Rating: 5

This group does fabulous work. Women can put their lives back together with this condition remedied. No woman should have to try to live through this situation without hope of any kind of normal life.

For years we have donated and I ask for donations to be sent to the foundation in lieu of anyone want to give me a gift.

Danielle J.4

Donor

Rating: 5

Beyond grateful there are people dedicating their lives to this cause and that we can help fund it. The only reason I didn't end up with this condition on either delivery I had was my access to health care. My life and the life of my children is not more worthy because of the sheer luck of being born on a certain continent.

Donor

Rating: 5

when looking for a charity that supported women's health, I was fortunate to discover the Fistula Foundation - they help the mostly unknown sufferers and truly give them a new life

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

so important to help women who are in such pain - ill, abandoned...

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A worthy cause in a field that badly needs support.

Donor

Rating: 5

I became a yearly donor to the Fistula Foundation more than ten years ago after reading about their work in Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book, Half the Sky. I had never heard about a fistula before then but could relate to the problem because of my own difficulties with incontinence as a result of giving birth. The Fistula Foundation not only supports incredible work for often forgotten women but they also care about their donors in numerous ways. They keep us informed without constantly asking for money. I have not met Kate Grant but feel she's my friend! A family member gives a yearly gift in my honor as he knows how much the Foundation means to me.

mmcsh

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor for over 5 years now. Their work is astonishing, powerful and necessary. A wonderful NFP!

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Reading annual reports are absolutely inspirational. Such a wonderful organisation.

Donor

Rating: 5

I heard about the Fistula Foundation earlier this year through Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save audiobook. Since then I have made several donations to the foundation, as I wholeheartedly believe in their mission to help poor women to have surgery to remove a fistula. I have read the stories of these women on their website and feel what an enormous difference they are making in these women's lives. I plan to continuing supporting their work through regular donations, and I'm telling friends and family about them too. Go Fistula Foundation!

Donor

Rating: 5

Proud to support this organization for a number of years. They do life changing work, efficiently and effectively, with strict accountability.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From my first contact, via email, after hearing of the Fistula Foundation on Undertold Stories, I have been impressed with their effective operations, thorough communications, thoughtful donor appreciation and generous sharing of information for my volunteer work with another non-profit working with midwife training in rural Tanzania. They are the best.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation has a focused mission, effectiveness in fulfilling that mission, and financial transparency. Its work heals many women every year who are able to go on to lead more active, happier and productive lives. For those reasons, I support it and will continue to do so.

Donor

Rating: 5

I donate to this nonprofit every year because they make new lives possible for so many women.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have supported the Fistula Foundation for years now. They have always been transparent in the services they provide and how our contributions are used. In this time of suspect organizations, they are a leader in how an organization should operate.

June F.3

Donor

Rating: 5

In spite of having given birth myself, I didn't know about fistula until watching a documentary about women in Africa dealing with this condition. Childbirth injury was the first health issue I found personal identification with. It made me appreciate my access to advanced medical care in the U.S. - "But for the grace …". All women deserve adequate obstetric care and shouldn't endure a lifetime of misery and degradation as result of difficult childbirth. Fistula Foundation funds life-altering treatment at no cost to impoverished women. My donations make a real difference.

Donor

Rating: 5

Many years ago I learned of the Fistula Foundation and their incredible work on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Can you imagine living out your life being shunned by all the people you knew and loved due to your unrelenting odor which came about through a difficult and prolonged birth, with a devastating outcome? But a simple operation can remedy a person's life profoundly. Although the women are very poor, travel many days from their remote locations, often by foot to receive medical attention, the care and compassion they receive transforms their lives. This organization is very worthy and is top-rated by Charity Navigator. But if you sign up for www.smile.amazon.com and list your favorite charity as Fistula Foundation, whenever you order through smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Fistula Foundation. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know; same products, same prices, same service. You're not paying 1¢ more for your order and you're making quite a difference in the life of someone you'll never know but will be forever thankful. But regardless if you choose Fistula Foundation as your favorite charity or another worthwhile charity. support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm really impressed with this organization -- meeting an important need and serving women who often have no other resources. I give regularly and follow the stories they publish.

Patricia H.5

Donor

Rating: 5

I am proud to support this excellent organization focused on a condition that is treatable and
makes such a difference in the lives of women who otherwise would live in misery as outcasts. They train local doctors to do the surgery which multiplies the number of women they are able to help.

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned about the foundation years ago reading "Half the Sky" and have been a follower and fan ever since. Any donation is really an investment with an exponentially amplified return, given that a single medical procedure is all it takes to change a woman's life forever, empowering her to create, produce and contribute her community. I could not be more proud to support this organization.

Donor

Rating: 5

As the very first contributor to the "Love A Sister" monthly donation campaign so many years ago, I am so pleased to have seen this charity grow. What wonderful work they do!

Mary Lou D.

Donor

Rating: 5

A difficult childbirth should not doom a woman to a personal life of misery, disenfranchisement, and pain. Fistula foundation locates impoverished women suffering with this postpartum condition, and restores their lives through an operation which allows them to heal. Such a simple solution to restore a family to a functioning life!

Laura L.11

Donor

Rating: 5

I love the feedback this charity provides to donors. I love hearing stories of the survivors!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I think the Fistula Foundation is wonderful because it supports women in Africa and Asia who are going through a rough time raising their kids because they don't have food to eat and water to drink.

ladrena

Donor

Rating: 5

I became aware of this organization through a PBS documentary. I was moved to tears by the women in areas of the world where most are dealing with more than their share of hardships but then to compound those hardships with severe problems due to child birth. I said to myself that I could help give these women get back their dignity. What at powerful gift!

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Became a long time donor after watching the PBS documentary "A Walk to Beautiful". All women should be able to have a sense of dignity and I feel this organization provides that.

Donor

Rating: 5

It is such a pleasure to donate to a charity that not only fulfills a critically-needed mission but is also a wise steward of its resources and communicates its work to donors so very clearly. I thoroughly recommend Fistula Foundation to anyone who can and would like to share their gifts to those who so desperately need them.

Donor

Rating: 5

Have been a donor for 10+ years after learning about Fistula Foundation on NPR. Clear focus on delivering excellent critical health care service to expanding range of countries-- no "mission creep" here. Outstanding communications, excellent and clear financials, talented and committed staff. One of my favorite charities-- and I support a good number.

Previous Stories
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Donor

Rating: 5

First heard of this organization 10 years ago and it has grown and prospered over that time. Very efficient administratively, excellent communications with donors, outcomes-driven, and doing incredibly important and life-saving healthcare work under some of the most difficult conditions in the world. A+++!

Santizzle

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to the Fistula Foundation for several years now and I continue to hold it in high regard. I have consistently been impressed with their commitment to improving the lives of women who have been affected by obstetric fistula. A donation to the Fistula Foundation is a donation to change the life of a woman who otherwise could not afford her surgery. I commend the people of the Fistula Foundation for all of their hard work and hope they continue helping women wherever there is a need for their services.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great organization helping women affected by fistula in the developing world to get their lives back.

Barbara152

Donor

Rating: 5

This is one of the few nonprofits that is well run, effective and gets results for little spend. Highly recommend. No one should suffer from having a baby when such a simple fix is available.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

This nonprofit is a true gem. They are fiscally responsible and focus on helping women who just want to be mothers and enjoy all that comes with it. Without access to good prenatal care, these women endure tortuous labor resulting in obstetric fistula which relegates them to isolation. All because they wanted children. With a simple fix provided and funded by this wonderful organization, these women get their lives back. What a wonderful thing they do!

Read more

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation is an honest, transparent organization that serves an essential need.
They serve a population of women that is often forgotten. They honor their mission with integrity and compassion.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a foundations that help women make a dramatic and life changing difference in their quality of life. They do IMPORTANT WORK!

Donor

Rating: 5

So happy to know that you are there to help the women who desperately need it! You give them the chance to live outside the shadow of rejection that they have been forced into. Thank you for all you do!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to this organization since I first heard about it in a column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. I had never heard of fistulas before and considering the trauma suffered by these women and the surgery that can be done to correct it is a very worthy endeavor.

No woman should have to suffer this way.

sjksjk

Donor

Rating: 5

There is no end to the number of appeals from non-profits that land in my in-box and mail box. Why have I supported Fistula Foundation for many years? Because it stays focused on its core mission: providing medical care that helps women regain control of their lives and their dignity. At the same time it has demonstrated that it can be nimble and flexible in responding to RELEVANT changes in the communities it serves. In contrast, too many other organizations bombard me with emotional appeals ripped from the headlines, the cause of the day or the week or the month. I wholeheartedly support Fistula Foundation, both for its work and its thoughtful, informative communication with donors.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about the Fistula Foundation thru a column written by Nicholas Kristoff of The New York Times. Immediately signed up to be a monthly donor. So many nonprofits have lofty goals but it is not so easy to locate one like this that makes an immediate and lasting impact on people's lives. I am quite sure that I will support the Fistula Foundation for many years to come.
Susan K.

Rhonda T G.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love donating to the fistula foundation, such a small amount of money can create such a significant change in the health and well-being of women’s lives.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife Claudia and I have been donating to the Fistula Foundation for more than a decade. We carefully vet every charity we support, and this is simply one of the very best. When I think of the pain and suffering of young women who are afflicted with a torn fistula, and the horrible lives they lead, my heart breaks. What this charity does for them is nearly miraculous. A simple surgery and a short recovery, and their lives can be transformed. I am deeply grateful for the work done by these dedicated people. Thank you! ❤️

Donor

Rating: 5

This is by far my favourite charity to donate to. The work that the Fistula Foundation does is so important. I’m very thankful to have discovered it so that I can contribute to fistula surgeries of women in need.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to the fistula foundation for over a decade and remain impressed by the organisations help for women. I am amazed that so little of my donation is spent on administration and so much goes to front line medicine.

Donor

Rating: 5

Kate Grant, CEO, reached out to us individually after our first donation. We also received a two DVD set- "Half the Sky" which we are sharing with others to raise awareness of this worthy charity.

Muller D.

Donor

Rating: 5

We are monthly contributors to FF. We have been doing this for many years and it is our main charity for giving. Before I contribute our hard earned money to any charity I vet them as throughly as possible. FF has always meet the criteria of being most trusted. In addition their mission touches my heart.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with Fistula Foundation- both with the true need for their mission and the work they do to make women's bodies and lives whole. I am a small but passionate donor.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Whilst working as a volunteer In Ethiopia I visited the Fistula Hospital on a few occasions and met many wonderful people there - patients and staff. I found it to be one of the very special places on earth to be and was able to help in a small way, apart from donations. I was aware of an organisation in the UK who donated unused / unwanted /unneeded medical equipment for patients. I put the two organisations together and hope that they are still working together for the benefit of patients.

Donor

Rating: 5

Years after learning about Fistula Foundation, I am still amazed by what they are able to accomplish with their donations. I admire everything about the organization, from its core mission and ideology to its remarkable effectiveness and scale.

Donor

Rating: 5

My nice and her husband are medical missionaries in Cambodia. She is an ob/gyn doctor working with women dealing with high-risk pregnancies. She has told me of the many women she sees who are dealing with fistulas. They face heart-breaking issues because of these concerns and many go untreated most of their lives. I KNOW the great work of the Fistula Foundation and I am confident that every penny I donate is well spent and brings positive changes to women and their families.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I don't know how many years ago I watched the PBS documentary "A Walk to Beautiful" and was struck by the heartbreaking stories of women dealing with the physical and emotional pain of childbirth fistulas.
I confess I knew nothing of this, and realized it was partly because I lived in a country where I was privileged to have access to good healthcare. I started donating then and have never stopped and know from following the work of this organization that the mission and work supported by my small donations is far reaching and restores women to full and meaningful lives.
I give to several other charities and organizations and the Fistula Foundation is one I know uses donations in the most wise and wonderful ways. I'm thrilled to be a part of the work!

Donor

Rating: 5

I support Fistula Foundation as I like charities that give practical help to people. I am very grateful for the healthcare I have experienced all my life, and my heart goes out to people who live in very difficult circumstances and often have little access to medical care. I appreciate getting updates about Fistula Foundation's work.

Donor

Rating: 5

Making a contribution for a cause to help people heal their lives is valuable.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation does great work - the difference they make in the lives of affected women is incredible. Their very specific mission enables them to focus on a critical issue and continue to find ways to be more effective. Also, their staff are very personal - sending customized thank yous for donations and gift purchases regularly. It makes me very happy to support them!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with FF for over 10 years as a VVF-specialist.
FF is a very professional organization, which helps numerous women al over the globe.
I support FF for 100%. Their work in this difficult period is even more important. The challenges for pregnant women in low resource countries are greater than ever.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am happy to have been able to give support for many years to this nonprofit group that does so much to help women with obstetric fistula. The work they do is life changing for women who would otherwise be suffering and isolated from their communities. The Fistula foundation is financially sound and has grown to help many more women.

Donor

Rating: 5

I first came across the Fistula Foundation after reading the appalling story of early fistula research in the US. Dr J Marion Sims carried out horrific experiments on enslaved black women without either anaesthetic or any kind of informed consent and it is very depressing to know that he is still regarded as a hero of gynaecology in some circles. However, this did lead me to reading more about the situation today and the incredible work of the Fistula Foundation, helping to alleviate this painful and humiliating condition. I have found the Foundation to be very informative about how donations are being used and it is so great to see them making a very real difference to the lives of thousands of women worldwide. Keep up the good work!

Donor

Rating: 5

I wanted to donate to a trustworthy charity during lockdown, and the Fistula Foundation featured as one of the most open and ethical of all charities. Since then that positive reputation has grown; I’ve been in awe of their life- affirming work with young women and the way lives can be utterly transformed by a relatively straightforward operation. I’ve also been really impressed by the very personal way of expressing thanks for each donation. What a great thing to do, to remove the stigma of rejection and to empower women to make the most of themselves. Great work!

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve not supported a charity before, except for two or three small donations to an animal shelter. When I came across the message that this organization had put out telling of the service that they’re providing, I was so deeply moved that I knew I had to support their work. I live in the USA and have had 3 births with zero complications. I know that I have my medical team to thank for this. It is through no merit of my own that I have access to this luxury; but by miraculous placement. I am happy to commit my own resources to ensure that other women who are not so fortunate have access to this simple procedure that changes lives and offers higher self-esteem, self confidence, and the ability to live the life of one’s dreams. Thank you to all who support this most essential of causes.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to Fistula Foundation since I saw their story on Oprah Winfrey in 2004. Fistula Foundation continues to exceed expectations as a non-profit charity. They keep their donors well informed and are very transparent regarding how the money is spent. I am proud to support Fistula Foundation and plan to continue donating as long as I am able.

Dona B.

Donor

Rating: 5

Fistula Foundation has brought relief to tens of thousands of women. Donors are kept informed of and connected to the work. It’s a privilege to be a part of this community.

Chris Tucker M.

Donor

Rating: 5

Well-run, effective organisation that communicates efficiently and does essential work.

Donor

Rating: 5

Fistula foundation’s work was my choice for a recent Birthday fundraiser- The work of this amazing group focuses on providing medical and social supports for women in third world countries who had medical complications from giving birth- Fistula repair offers better sanitation, dignity, and restoring to health women who are other wise suffering - for a surgery that costs just about $500 US.

The organization is well run, fiscally responsible and serves those who need it most - Well done Fistula Foundation

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a supporter of the Fistula Foundation for the last decade, even joining the Board because I believe so deeply in the transformative work they do for so many of the poorest , most vulnerable women across Africa.
Last year I went with CEO Kate Grant and other board members to Kenya to see first hand the work they do. We met surgeons, fistula survivors, and women - young and old - who were waiting in hospital beds for fistula surgery, often with babies cradled in their arms. When we met the survivors, many would dance and sing with joy, eager to share their stories about how this simple surgery changed their lives and made them whole again. Some women had lived with fistula for years - shunned by their families and communities - all because they didn't have a simple surgical procedure that often costs less than $500.
Kate Grant and the Fistula Foundation team are without question the most committed, transparent, and passionate changemakers I have ever had the privilege of knowing They are getting it done, one surgery at a time. Brava!

Donor

Rating: 5

Their mission is clear, their impact important and their communication is effective. I am very confident that my donations make a difference in the lives of women who desperately need basic medical care that I am privileged to take for granted.

Donor

Rating: 5

Nearly 15 years ago, I first learned about the Fistula Foundation on the Oprah Winfrey show. I felt devastated that so many women around the world were suffering from fistulas due to lack of maternal care available. I have been a proud supporter of this organization ever since. They are very transparent with how they use their donations, Update donors regularly on both successes and challenges, and make me feel connected. I never doubt the direct impact my donations are making.