Q and A on Twinning Project in Bangladesh with Global Team
Our Global Projects Officer, Tara Shoham and Global Professional Advisor, Joy Kemp have just returned from two weeks in Bangladesh. We interviewed them about their trip to find out what they had got up to.
RCM: Joy and Tara, welcome home. Why did you travel to Bangladesh?
Joy: "The RCM has been working in a twinning partnership with the Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS) since July 2017. The primary purpose of the twinning project is to develop BMS' organisational capacity, so that they can better represent midwives and midwifery, which is a brand new profession in Bangladesh. Previously, women were cared for by traditional birth attendants, obstetricians and nurses but there were no midwives trained to international standards.
"BMS started in 2010, midwifery education started in 2013 and now BMS has 1800 members, most of whom are midwives. Over the past two years we've helped BMS to identify their strengths and areas for improvement, agree their mission, vision and values, develop a strategic plan, conduct a stakeholder analysis, develop organisational policies and procedures, hold an election for their board members, develop an e-learning platform and a host of other activities. We've been helped by some amazing consultants and RCM volunteers to achieve these outputs. The purpose of this particular visit was to review the constitution, which is no longer fit for purpose."
RCM: Wow, it sounds like there's been lots of change in a short space of time. How did you set about reviewing the organisation constitution? I can imagine that would require some knowledge of Bangladeshi law?
Tara: "Yes, we engaged the services of a Bangladeshi Lawyer, Advocate Tomal, who is guiding BMS through the process and ensuring that the new constitution will meet the Bangladeshi Societies Act. We also engaged an International Consultant, Nester Moyo, who has years of experience in helping midwifery associations to design or renew their constitutions and is already familiar with BMS having worked with us before.
"The crux of the review was a two day workshop will all the executive board and representatives from local branches across the country. However, everyone had homework to do before the event, to familiarise themselves with the existing constitution and identify clauses that should remain, be refreshed or renewed as well as additional clauses that should be added. In addition to the constitution review, we also celebrated with BMS as they held their annual general meeting and held some training for the executive committee in project management."
RCM: You must be exhausted! What are your plans for the next few months of the twinning project?
Joy: "Yes, we're glad to be home but so grateful for the support and engagement of the staff and board members of BMS who have also worked so hard. Now that the constitution has been reviewed, the lawyer will draft a new constitution and every member will have a chance to comment before it is finalised.
According to the rules, two thirds of the membership have to agree to adopt the new constitution so it will be a big challenge to engage very member and ensure that they cast their vote online. During August, we will have an RCM Volunteer, Dr. Lesley Kay, who will visit Bangladesh and can help maintain the momentum and visit some of the local branches. BMS are also developing policies on gender, bullying and harassment, so the next few months will continue to be challenging."
Active listening during groups work in he constitution review
Nester and Advocate Tomal with a participant during the constitution review