The Preparing for Life Initiative

The former Rotarian Action Group Healthy Pregnancies / Healthy Children
was inspired by and works closely together with
the Preparing for Life Initiative

For more information about Preparing for Life, please click their own: Preparing for Life website




  • PfL is the result of a fireside meeting cyclus of RC Baarn-Soest in D1570 in the Netherlands. One of their members, Ysbrand Poortman, who initiated (and chaired) patient and parents organisations in The Netherlands and in Europe, had the idea to focus on preventable misery with respect to pregnancy, child birth and the early years of childhood. RC Baarn-Soest was the first club to adopt this initiative. In a later stage RC Leiden (D1600 NL) followed.
  • In 2008 Ysbrand Poortman was given a podium at the national Multi-District Conference (7 Districts in the Netherlands). His subject was: ‘Make the world a better place and start with Rotary’.  Poortman is the Founding Father and the first Chair of PfL. At the conference he pictured a dream and in 2015, at the moment the Rotarian Action Group Healthy Pregnancies / Healthy Children starts, PfL already has taken important steps to make Ysbrand’s dream come true.


data provided by WHO, the World Health Organisation, make clear that on an annual base:

  • About 8 million children are born with a serious illness or handicap        
  • More than 6 million children die before they have reached the age of five        
  • About 50% of the surviving children have a handicap or they develop one        
  • 300,000 women die as a result of complications due to pregnancy or child birth        
  • Some 20% of all pregnancies lead to a not-healthy baby        
  • 50-70% of congenital diseases or handicaps are avoidable
The Preparing for Life Initiative (PfL) wants to contribute substantially to realize the 4th and 5th Millennium Goals formulated by the UN, the United Nations Organisation, with respect to decrease child death with 50% and mother mortality due to pregnancy with 75%.


  • PfL has developed and maintains a global network of specialists who contribute with their expertise
  • PfL organizes per geographic region forums to monitor the need of local action
  • PfL takes care of education and practical instruction in projects that lead to a sustainable infrastructure
  • PfL works closely together with partners such as:
    • Universities and scientific institutions
    • Parents and patient organisations
    • The WHO and the Ministries of Health of their member countries
    • National Health Councils (such as Gezondheidsraad NL)
    • The former Rotarian Action Group Healthy Pregnancies / Healthy Children
    • Other volunteer organisations