I'm now in my fifth year as treasurer in the board of the International Confederation of Midwives. I must say it has been a steep learning curve--and the position remains a challenging one! It has always felt a privilege for me to work for ICM and I can see a transformation into a more professional organisation.
My role within the board is mainly that of treasurer, but as we all know, finances are about life itself and about priorities. Finances can be used as a concrete way in which we can define what our real possibilities are as an organisation; and these may be limited, however good and ambitious our intentions. As midwives we tend to carry the burden of the world on our shoulders, and we are confronted in our daily work with matters of mainly life, but also of death. As midwives, maternal and infant mortality and morbidity are at the core of our concerns and this is indeed a heavy responsibility.
The role of ICM is therefore one that supports and unites the midwives of the world. There needs to be an organisation that supports those who support others! At the last council meeting, held in Brisbane, Australia, in 2005, this was a clear message from the members: that ICM concern itself mainly with strengthening the member organisations and representing midwives in the global arena. As a member of the board I feel responsible for carrying out that clear direction given to us by council.
New-style Council meetings
In June 2007 the audited financial report of 2006 will be presented at council. This council meeting will be different from the ones that we have been used to. Previously there was a council meeting held every three years immediately prior to each triennial congress. There will be such a council meeting prior to the congress in Glasgow in 2008. However, under Dutch law, the audited financial reports have to be presented to the members on a yearly basis. This brings with it a new organisational structure with new opportunities for communication and input from members. The members will now be in contact--be it by e-mail, post or for a few of us in person--on a yearly basis. Our secretary-general, Kathy Herschderfer, will be in contact with all member organisations prior to the council meeting. The procedures at council will be explained step by step. I hope we will get a high level of response from all of you.
The financial situation of ICM remains in a delicate balance. As some of you will know, we have gone through a period...