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2021 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

771 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

It's tragic that a need exists for a charity organization like the Fistula Foundation. But I'm grateful that the Fistula Foundation exists and that it does such superb work to help give women back their lives. I'm continually impressed by the Foundation's careful management of its funds, its communication with donors, its transparency, and its caring. It most definitely deserves its 5-star rating and I'm pleased to be a long-time donor.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a strong believer in “effective altruism,” I learned about Fistula Foundation through Peter Singer’s organization, The Life You Can Save, which evaluates and recommends a small number of highly effective and efficient charities around the world, based on demonstrated methods and metrics. Fistula Foundation is proven a leader in addressing a huge injustice and tragedy rooted in gender inequality and poverty. I’ve been a monthly donor for years and plan to continue investing in this organization’s great work.

Donor

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful organization. LOW administration. Great accomplishments. Real success

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about fistula while suffering myself from stress incontinence. This made me realised how lucky I am to live in a country with top health care to treat my condition, which is very mild compared to what these women suffer.
After researching and comparing trusted charities that help women with such condition I decided for the fistula foundation and never got disappointed with their communication and transparency.
I even had the chance to be in touch with their staff several times and this continues to reinforce my trust in their work.

Joanne C.8

Donor

Rating: 5

I so appreciate how Fistula Foundation gives women back their lives after they have suffered fistulas during childbirth. It's wonderful to see their smiles!

Donor

Rating: 5

This org is so efficient and thoughtful with each dollar. The staff is a delight to work with.

Donor

Rating: 5

This foundation rescues thousands of womyn from lives of bodily pain and social ostracism. Imagine the awful smell of having feces and urine constantly running down your vaginal walls! Whether from infibulation or from amateur handling of breech birth, vaginal fistulae are all too common among African womyn. Fistula Foundation VERY cost-effectively enables these suffers to rejoin society and regain their health.

Donor

Rating: 5

I’m proud to be a long time supporter of Fistula Foundation. They do such good work, and their communication with donors is always uplifting and joyful. There aren’t many giving opportunities that are so transformative for each woman recipient, and I love being part of it.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation does amazing work and makes real differences to the lives of so many women.

Donor

Rating: 5

After watching a segment on the news regarding this affliction, I am convinced it is one of the most important charities to support . These women are in this condition because of the wreteched conditions brought about by poverty and also lack of education. Not only are they physically unwell, they are also basically "abandoned" and ostracized. And this charity is able to provide reversal of these conditions

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve visited Ethiopia 36 times. And I’ve traveled in 7 African countries. I’ve seen first hand the trials and tribulations of young women, many of whom, are forced into early marriage with men old enough to be their daddy or grandpa. I am glad to see positive results from the unsung heroes who help these distressed young girls overcome fistula trama. I’m glad to help a little bit. You go Fistula Foundation.

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve been donating for years, Love the work this foundation does, giving women their dignity and lives back.

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Donor

Rating: 5

Read about this wonderful organization in the NYT about five years ago. I was moved by the descriptions of the suffering of these women with a fistula condition.
I felt the very least I could do was contribute to the efforts of these tireless medical workers.
I have subsequently been very impressed with the outreach the organization makes to even it's smallest donors. Denis. Edison NJ.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Touched by a story in NY Times some years ago about the fantastic work this organization does for women in dire need.Have contributed regular small donations to help the cause.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to the Fistula on and off for many years, depending on personal finances. This foundation is very well managed and executes its mission in a thoughtful and financially responsible manner.

Donor

Rating: 5

The fistula foundation are these amazing quiet achievers changing women’s lives in this incredible way. Since donating, I get the occasional inspirational email, but they don’t call or pester- they just show you the great work they do. I’m so proud to be a donator!

Donor

Rating: 5

We were introduced to Fistula Foundation years ago when one of my teenage sons saw in a newspaper column that it had been recommended by Nicholas Kristof. Ever since then we have made contributions every Mother's Day to honor my mother (while she was alive) and my wife. My wife says consistently that it is her favorite Mother's Day gift. We are all grateful for those at Fistula Foundation who are doing such important work!

1 Shambhavi

Donor

Rating: 5

Fistula Foundation do a lot of good with what they are given. They are well-managed. Working in partnership with local groups, they create sustainable interventions.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about Fistula Foundation from the book Half the Sky. The charities listed there ensure that the vast majority of the money we contribute actually goes to the women in need. In the case of the Fistula Foundation, the money funds delicate gynecological surgeries that repair ruptures that have left young mothers incontinent and shunned by their villages. The Fistula Foundation partners with other women's health NGO's in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, and ensures increasing numbers of local doctors are recruited and trained for this kind of surgery.

Robel A.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation is on the limited vetted charitable causes enlisted on The Life You Can Save’s website, meaning per dollar the impact we can passively have by having a portion of our income drawn for donation to such charities is substantial and life changing! I am thankful we have an organization like the Fistula Foundation, that does the heavy lifting and arduous ground work, the statistical analysis of their efforts and informing us, so we can quite honestly sit back donating and trust them with the praxis.

jeff_f

Donor

Rating: 5

I have supported Fistula Foundation for several years, after learning of the work they do. It's important, each surgery an act of compassion and of empowerment, a way to bring effected women out of awful circumstances and return them to a full life.

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Donor

Rating: 5

Before coming across a story about the Fistula Foundation, I had no idea about the medical condition they treat, or its repercussions , particularly in the Third World. Many women, often very young, who experience obstetric fistula, are ostracized from their society and abandoned by their husbands., A relatively simple procedure can resolve this, allowing these women to get on with their lives, and the staff of Foundation, and the doctors and nurses it funds, continue to provide and expand the opportunity for them to do so.

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Vince G.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am 78. I have been search for years for the most effective charity that helps the most..
Over the years I've switched from one to another upon finding a better way to invest
my money. Since 2008 or so I haven't switched from the Fistula Foundation. I can't
think of a better way to help another person. For less than 600. dollars I can be
instrumental in changing a woman's life. Thank God for the Fistula Foundation
Vince Gallagher

ladrena

Donor

Rating: 5

I was very touched by the PBS documentary on the Fistula Foundation. I wanted to restore the life of a woman no matter where she lived, her beliefs or ethnic background. I wanted to help restore their dignity and I believe that from this organization to the people on the frontlines and medical staff are doing just that.

Previous Stories

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!

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RozK

Donor

Rating: 5

I’m deeply grateful for the critical work that The Fistula Foundation does, giving women back their lives after obstetric trauma. I will continue to support their work.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve supported the Fistula Foundation for a number of years. They do wonderful work restoring the lives and dignity of women.

azuay65

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a Fistula Foundation donor for many years. I believe in the work they do for women in developing countries.

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Donor

Rating: 5

I don't contribute to many charities that don't operate in my adopted country of Ecuador. However, after learning about the impact of fistula on women in many countries, I am a loyal contributor to The Fistula Foundation. A more worthy cause doesn't exist.

Donor

Rating: 5

Highly recommend. I've been a donor for over 10 years.

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2

Donor

Rating: 5

Great mission. Great organization. Global impact.

Donor

Rating: 5

Fistula Foundation is consistently directed toward the improved health and wellbeing of women. Without this charity, the women it has helped would live lives without hope of being physically whole and accepted in their communities. Helping women helps them and their communities prosper. I am proud to be a donor!

Donor

Rating: 5

I've supported Fistula Foundation for many years and have been so impressed with the work it has done, its financial transparency, and its excellent communication.

Toni Stevenson R.

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm so happy to be able to support this wonderful charity.

Anja E.

Donor

Rating: 5

I became aware of this organisation because of a documentary. This really moved me especially when it is quite easy to save/improve the life of so many women in the world.
Since that; I am a proud fast donor for the Fistula Foundation. They are doing a great job!

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I watched the documentary A Walk to Beautiful quite a while ago. I felt that it does not help just to sit infront of the screen and cry for these women. So I I logged on to the website to donate.
These women and often still girls!! need our help and this organization is excellent! They save so many lives and most important they give the women back a meaning with there lives.
I am thankful to all the people working for and with The Fistula Foundation.

Donor

Rating: 5

Fistula Foundation is a wonderful organization that does high quality, high impact work on a relatively lesser known issue that can transform a woman's entire life. While newer to the organization, this is one I will be supporting for many years to come. Keep up the great work!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have being donating to this organization since 2007 in honor of my former OB/GYN who saved my life, not once but twice. I believe that the work they do is utterly life changing [and saving] for the women they help. Donating to the Fistula Foundation is my way of 'paying it forward' for the life my doctor gave back to me.

lodawg

Donor

Rating: 5

It's rare to find a charity that solves a simple problem and radically changes lives for the better, but I believe that is what the Fistula Foundation does for women. I've been contributing for years and it still feels like a privilege to be apart of what they do!

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to FF for years. The work they do is inspiring.

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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.

mabeya

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.