Young midwifery leaders enter the final stage of their groundbreaking programme: Nester T Moyo, ICM Programme Manager, describes the workshop held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in March 2006.

Author:Moyo, Nester T.

The ICM Young Midwifery Leaders' (YML) programme began in April 2004 as an initiative to create a small group of midwives who had experienced intensive education in leadership skills, who would be able to network at national and international levels with good understanding of current and emerging issues in women's and reproductive health and who would act as role models and disseminate widely what they learned. Succession planning for leadership in national and global midwifery was also part of the plan. Five 'mentees', from Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Slovenia. Malawi and Germany, with their personal mentors, have formed the cadre for the first programme.

Personal leadership projects

The past two years' learning process has helped the mentees to find out where they are positioned as midwives and also where midwifery is positioned in the global health arena. This year the mentees will each take the lead in developing a project proposal, part of which involves the identifying of stakeholders and support systems, who will continue working with this leader well after the programme has ended.

Working on a project will enable the mentees to use the skills they have learnt such as advocacy, negotiation, messaging, organising and co-ordination. Time management and strategic planning will also be essential elements. Communication at different levels and under different circumstances will be necessary. The thorough understanding of midwifery which was being cultivated in the past two years is a must.

The project is one of the main activities which will illustrate the importance of moving from paper work to actual work in the field. The results of this activity will be shared at the ICM 28th Triennial Congress in Glasgow in 2008 as part of the course completion ceremony.

Progress reports from mentees

Elgonda Bekker (mentor Diana du Plessis) has been successful in establishing a branch of the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) in South Africa to create a platform for advocacy for women and draw attention to the preventable deaths of women in childbirth. She facilitated development of a close relationship between the alliance and the Midwifery Society, which led to the WRA secretariat being currently housed by the Midwives Society of South Africa.

Keith Lipato has worked closely with the Midwives Association of Malawi to improve midwifery practice and has undertaken representation at events which allow him to talk on behalf of women and midwives. He has carried out district visits offering supportive supervision...

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