Sisters are doing it for themselves
Update on Bangladesh Twinning Project
Last week I returned from a short trip to visit the RCM’s twin, the Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS). The project has been formally running for almost a year now, and 2018 is packed with activities that will strengthen the society, engage midwives, and raise awareness among both the public and policy makers on the importance of maternity services.
As our activities and funding are calculated on a quarterly basis, the main purpose of my visit was to ensure that the objectives for the first quarter were being achieved, and give some orientation to our wonderful new global volunteer, Isabelle, who arrived a few days before me.
It is always lovely visiting our partners in person and I really enjoyed my time in their office with them. Joy, the RCM's Global Professional Advisor, and I strongly believe that a good relationship is key to a successful project, but there is only so far you can develop a relationship from the other side of the world!
During my visit we reviewed the progress of the main activities for this first quarter, which include:
- refining the member database,
- ensuring the society is representative of all Bangladeshi midwives by developing a system whereby they can join without having to travel to the Dhaka office,
- developing online voting for the upcoming elections,
- organising a trip to support midwives in a Rohingya refugee camp, and
- promoting midwifery leadership.
The project is making excellent progress and BMS have dramatically developed their approach to planning, advocacy and supporting their members.
As well as the great feeling of knowing that the project is running according to plan, I also came back feeling like anything is possible – all it takes is a bit of determination! There are many gender-based cultural barriers in Bangladesh that prevent women from having much of a voice, but when it comes to midwifery they most certainly do have one and they are not afraid to use it. The BMS is led by a group of headstrong and exceptionally spirited women with an unyielding determination to promote midwifery as a profession, to support all midwives and to provide pregnant women with life-saving care.
I was, and continue to be, completely inspired by these amazing women who are working so hard to create a strong sisterhood of midwives.
The Bangladesh Midwifery Society is a society led by women, for women, and they make it very clear that they, and the midwifery profession, are not going anywhere!