A buddy near the crib

In the buddy project, midwifery and social work students act as a coach to a deprived childbearing family in an intensive outreaching one-on-one trajectory. They apply a contextual and multidisciplinary approach. Lecturers act as counsellors and medical and social care organizations as partners. The project meets all criteria of ethical social innovation, introducing the buddy model in a perinatal context, coupling needs of three stakeholders: deprived childbearing families who experience high barriers to healthcare, students who should develop specific skills to work with disadvantaged people, and professional caretakers in search of additional assistance. The model was tested and adapted in practice for five years and evaluated through a phenomenological approach. Supply on demand, flexibility, and the volunteering aspect offer conditions that compliment regular care. The buddy has a leverage effect to improve life circumstances and students’ attitudes are changed forever.

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