'Well-organised, participatory, interactive, friendly!'--a White Ribbon Alliance workshop: Betsy McCallon of the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) describes recent activities designed to spread the WRA's work wider and consolidate links with the ICM.

Author:McCallon, Betsy
Position:International Confederation of Midwives
 
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The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) for Safe Motherhood is an international coalition of individuals and organisations working to address safe motherhood issues across the globe. As it has grown, the WRA faces the challenge of identifying ways and processes to maintain and sustain the progress of the movement. It is committed to ensure democratic participation, encourage innovation, gather diverse stakeholders and yet work as a whole to bring about safer motherhood.

In response to such issues, the WRA held a five-day capacity building workshop in Agra, India, December 5-9, 2005: 'Building, maintaining, and sustaining WRA secretariats'.

The workshop provided an opportunity for the national co-ordinators and core committee members to acquire new skills, share lessons learned and build consensus on moving forward the WRA goals and agenda in their countries and at the global level. The workshop also gave an opportunity for open discussion relating to improved relationships between members, norms and codes for working together and sharing of resources. The sessions were organised into country presentations, capacity building sessions and technical updates. The main objectives were:

* To equip national secretariat co-ordinators and core group members with new skills in advocacy, social mobilisation, resource mobilisation, and communication

* To obtain new technical information on malaria and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) to share with members

* To establish consensus on roles and responsibilities of secretariats and explore decision-making models

* To strategise on monitoring the impact of the WRA, including monitoring of advocacy efforts

* To develop key components of a "How To" guide, including successes, challenges, and examples for case study.

Forty-five members from 16 countries provided input towards the future direction and growth of WRA.

Kathy Herschderfer of ICM presented on the growing partnership between ICM and the WRA and discussed areas for further collaboration. Kathy worked with the workshop participants all week and explored additional avenues for collaboration between the midwifery associations and the WRA. Spread across a period of five days the workshop featured global and national level updates by WRA members, capacity building sessions, technical updates on diseases impacting on sale motherhood and avid discussions on roles and responsibilities of members, challenges facing WRA, monitoring and evaluation...

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