How does the RCM support our sister midwives globally?
The Royal College of Midwives has a long history of supporting midwives and midwifery associations globally with the aim of improving outcomes for mothers and babies.
A founding member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the RCM is committed to supporting its sister midwives around the world and continuing to advocate for midwives and women on the global stage.
The International Confederation of Midwives promotes twinning between professional midwives associations for mutual strengthening and reciprocal learning. With funding from UK and Swedish aid through UNFPA, the RCM has been twinning with the Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS) since July 2017. Midwifery is a new profession in Bangladesh and the twinning project aims to strengthen the capacity of BMS to advocate for the midwifery profession and to create demand for midwifery services in Bangladesh. With more than 1,500 members, the BMS has great potential to support midwives, advocate on their behalf and strengthen midwifery services.
Capacity building interventions focus on three main areas:
- Strengthening BMS’ organisational systems and structures in order to function effectively as a professional association
- Strengthening the package of services that BMS can offer to its members (such as continuing professional education)
- Strengthening BMS’ voice and its capacity to advocate for midwives, for midwifery and for high quality maternity care for women and their families in Bangladesh
During the first phase of the project in 2017-2018 there were 10 visits from RCM staff members, five consultancies and four RCM member volunteer placements to Bangladesh. Workshops and other activities were conducted to assess BMS’ baseline capacity, develop a strategic plan, conduct a stakeholder analysis and develop internal systems such as a membership database, employment of office staff and development of policies. Training courses were facilitated on advocacy, leadership and media engagement. Field trips and virtual communication engaged local BMS branches across Bangladesh and recruited many more members to the association. In September 2018, BMS held its first online election and the new executive committee, representative of midwives from across Bangladesh, took office. The first phase of the project was evaluated positively in December 2018.
Now in its second phase, the project is currently focused on development of young midwife leaders and the new executive officers, continuing to strengthen the local divisional branches, further recruitment of members and development of member services advocacy and stakeholder engagement/external visibility. The project is likely to continue until 2021.
We hope to provide many volunteering opportunities for RCM members throughout this project, so do keep an eye out for advertisements.
Midwifery & Health Partnership volunteering
UK midwives who volunteered with the Global Midwifery Twinning Project reflect on their time overseas, the challenges local midwives face, and how their experience has informed their practice in the UK.
What would the world be like without midwives?
In this video, UK midwives who volunteered with the Global Midwifery Twinning Project answer the question, what would the world be like without midwives?
Women 4 Health (W4H) Northern Nigeria Twinning Project
The RCM partnered with Save the Children and Health Partners International in northern Nigeria to address the acute shortage of female health workers in five states. The project finished in March 2018. W4H addressed the critical human resource challenges by empowering women as service providers. W4H collaborated with the Ministry of Health and health training institutions to improve women’s access to healthcare. The Royal College of Midwives linked 14 midwifery educators across the UK with midwifery teachers in northern Nigeria to provide mentorship, mutual support, and information sharing through virtual twinning.
MOMENTUM: Developing a Model of MENTorship for Ugandan Midwives
MOMENTUM aimed to address the poor quality of mentorship for student midwives in Uganda. The project ran for 20 months from the 1st of September 2015 and aimed to develop:
- four clinical pilot sites as centres of student mentorship excellence
- a national standard for midwifery mentorship
- a module to prepare midwives to become mentors
Discover more about the MOMENTUM project.
The Global Midwifery Twinning Project
The Global Midwifery Twinning Project (GMTP) was a three-year multi-country partnership in the Health Partnership Scheme (HPS) funded by the UK government and managed by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), running from 2012 to 2015.
The RCM formed twinning partnerships with midwifery associations in Uganda, Cambodia and Nepal, all low-income countries with a high maternal mortality burden. GMTP sent midwife volunteer RCM members to each twinned country, ran workshops every six months and provided institutional support from RCM staff to address the ICM’s three pillars of midwifery: education, regulation and association.
Find out more about the Global Midwifery Twinning Project.