Thoughts as the New(ish) Global Projects Officer
By Tara Shoham on 20 March 2019 Global midwifery
Reflecting on my first few months as a Global Projects Officer at the RCM, I can safely say that it has been both an exciting and challenging rollercoaster!
With a background in international development, and a specialisation in sexual and reproductive health (SRHR), my previous experience has either been in the non governmental organisation (NGO) sector or academic research. Consequently the approach the RCM takes to its global work is a very new and interesting one for me!
Having recently returned from my first RCM work trip to Bangladesh with Joy Kemp (Global Advisor), I feel extremely energised and eager to get stuck in with our global twinning projects. I feel particularly inspired and in awe of the dozens of young, passionate midwives I met in Bangladesh whom RCM are working so closely with to help strengthen midwifery in a country where it is still a very new profession.
I myself only moved back to London in November 2018 after working for grassroots NGO in Madagascar on an SRHR project for over a year. While there, I saw that there is a need for global knowledge exchange to help strengthen health systems, but there is also a need to decolonise the development and health sectors and their approaches. Working with policy makers and government officials to improve SRHR in Madagascar highlighted the detrimental legacies left behind by colonialism that impact health outcomes today. In November 2018 I was also lucky enough to be invited to attend and present at the International Conference of Family Planning in Rwanda. Much of the conference focussed on the link between introducing sustainable funding streams to strengthen health systems by comprehensive training of front line health workers, and improved maternal and neonatal health outcomes. With that in mind, I am really pleased to be part of a team that emphasises the importance of strengthening health systems through reciprocal learning and not a top down approach.
I am a passionate women and girls’ rights activist and firmly believe that a large component to ensuring progress in this area is related to improving access to good quality SRHR services – particularly focussing on maternal health and the capacity building of midwives and their associations globally.
With formal midwifery either being a non existent or a relatively new profession in much of the developing world, it is evident there is a need to advocate and highlight to governments and policy makers the importance of midwifery in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am really happy to be able to support this through the RCM’s Global Team that aims to in turn contribute to making childbirth a safer and more positive experience for all women, babies and midwives everywhere.
Over the next few months I am looking forward to working closely with Joy Kemp (Global Professional Advisor) and Tamara Curtis (Project Lead Consultant) to help implement the Bangladesh Twinning Project, and scope out other potential new projects in line with our global strategic goals.
For more information on the RCM’s global work, please visit the RCM’s Global Page.