The Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Trust has been addressing maternal, child health and nutrition problems in the informal settlements surrounding Cape Town since 1979. Philani’s mandate is sustainable community health, and, over the years, we have developed programmes to meet the needs of the communities we serve. As an organisation we aim to improve health outcomes by combining our skills and resources with the knowledge and resources that exist in the community.

Our programmes promote family health, focusing on the support of pregnant mothers, care for new born babies and children as they grow, prevention of child malnutrition and the rehabilitation of underweight children. We are committed to limiting the suffering of families infected and affected by HIV and preventing the spread of the virus.

  • 192 396 households have been visited by our Mentor Mothers since the beginning of 2014 -
  • We have 248 children enrolled in our Educare classes -
  • 50 women benefit from skills development on our Income Generation Programme -
  • 27 of every 1000 children born in South Africa die before they reach their first birthday -
  • 35% of pregnant mothers in communities that we serve are HIV positive. -
  • South Africa has one of the lowest rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the world. -
What People Say
  • "She’s my everything: mum, sister. I feel like I could cry on her shoulder, every time that I have a problem I go to her and we talk, she has always been there for me. I am this mother now who has this lovely boy, and he is healthy because of her."
    Thandeka Nyezi, HIV positive client
  • "You may not be able to measure some of the success of our programme because how do you measure hope? Because what our Mentor Mothers do every day is inspire women in the community to get people to think back and have hope that things will change."
    Nokwanele Mbewu, Philani Senior Programme Manager
  • "Unemployment, poverty, poor housing and lack of basic services cause malnutrition and poor health in communities. Women and children are most vulnerable."
    Dr Ingrid le Roux, Medical Director
  • "If you get the first 1000 days (including gestation) right your impact over the life course of a child is much easier; you get it wrong and you're playing catch up."
    Professor Mark Tomlinson, University of Stellenbosch
  • "There is an English saying that says charity beings at home. Health also begins at home. If you have not been able to target health at home you have failed that whole home."
    Nokwanele Mbewu, Philani Senior Programme Manager