The Young Midwifery Leaders Programme is one of ICM's major undertakings in leadership development among midwives across the globe. A full report on the progress of the new programme, 'Young Midwifery Leaders', has followed the successful launch of the project in Trinidad, April 2004, and this summary highlights the significance of the work in a global context.
The February 2001 international consultative meeting--the 'Meeting of the Minds'--convened by ICM (Midwifery, International news, 17(2): 158-159), focused on determining the issues that must be addressed to strengthen the profession of midwifery across the world. Such action was planned with the ultimate goal of improving the health of women and their families. Leadership development was identified as a key issue.
ICM has also repeatedly received requests from midwives' associations for leadership training; and is vigorously participating in the international thrust led by WHO towards strengthening nursing and midwifery services. Overall, the awareness that it is midwives' responsibility to take the lead in health care for healthy mothers and babies, led to the creation of the Young Midwifery Leaders programme.
Through this project the ICM sees a future with midwifery leaders actively working in the global health arena as primary advocates for women and children; charting the way for midwifery and safe motherhood activities; contributing to global policy and approaches to midwifery and reproductive health; and holding key positions in the international institutions and agencies that are concerned with reproductive health, safe motherhood and midwifery. The new midwifery leaders will drive change in social, political and cultural areas where women and children are currently disadvantaged; they will promote the profession; and act as inspiring role models both for midwives and for other health care workers.
Among the aims of the project is the development of leadership skills among midwives at local, national, regional and global levels. The anticipated result will be a network of visionary midwifery leaders who think strategically and systematically, see beyond their own national and professional boundaries, take risks and are able to embrace challenges as opportunities to improve their own performance.
ICM is well aware that such leaders of the profession do exist now and always have done, but seeks by this initiative to ensure there is coherent support and network communications to reduce duplication of effort and lighten the heavy burden on individuals.
Development through a mentor:mentee approach