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'Well-organised, participatory, interactive, friendly!'--a White Ribbon Alliance workshop: Betsy McCallon of the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) describes recent activities designed to spread the WRA's work wider and consolidate links with the ICM.

The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) for Safe Motherhood is an international coalition of individuals and organisations working to address safe motherhood issues across the globe. As it has grown, the WRA faces the challenge of identifying ways and processes to maintain and sustain the progress of the movement. It is committed to ensure democratic participation, encourage innovation, gather diverse stakeholders and yet work as a whole to bring about safer motherhood.

In response to such issues, the WRA held a five-day capacity building workshop in Agra, India, December 5-9, 2005: 'Building, maintaining, and sustaining WRA secretariats'.

The workshop provided an opportunity for the national co-ordinators and core committee members to acquire new skills, share lessons learned and build consensus on moving forward the WRA goals and agenda in their countries and at the global level. The workshop also gave an opportunity for open discussion relating to improved relationships between members, norms and codes for working together and sharing of resources. The sessions were organised into country presentations, capacity building sessions and technical updates. The main objectives were:

* To equip national secretariat co-ordinators and core group members with new skills in advocacy, social mobilisation, resource mobilisation, and communication

* To obtain new technical information on malaria and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) to share with members

* To establish consensus on roles and responsibilities of secretariats and explore decision-making models

* To strategise on monitoring the impact of the WRA, including monitoring of advocacy efforts

* To develop key components of a "How To" guide, including successes, challenges, and examples for case study.

Forty-five members from 16 countries provided input towards the future direction and growth of WRA.

Kathy Herschderfer of ICM presented on the growing partnership between ICM and the WRA and discussed areas for further collaboration. Kathy worked with the workshop participants all week and explored additional avenues for collaboration between the midwifery associations and the WRA. Spread across a period of five days the workshop featured global and national level updates by WRA members, capacity building sessions, technical updates on diseases impacting on sale motherhood and avid discussions on roles and responsibilities of members, challenges facing WRA, monitoring and evaluation tools being used. The sessions were participatory in nature and included time for extensive discussion and group work (in both large and small groups). The participatory structure of the workshop resulted in an engaging, dynamic dialogue with scope for further work being defined and mapped. E-working groups were formed to take the work forward.

The workshop was made possible through the generous support of donors and partner organisations, including the ACCESS program, POLICY Project, USAID, UNFPA, Futures Group, CEDPA, CCMC and the CEDPA India team.

The workshop was well received by participants and all felt these workshops and the open dialogue should continue in the future. In the words of one participant, it was "... well-organised, participatory, interactive, [there was] new learning, exchanging ideas, hospitality, friendliness, making new friends. Great workshop. Let's now all get back to work!"

New board of directors includes Judi Brown of ICM

In its new status as an independent non-profit organisation, the WRA Global Secretariat facilitated a nomination, review, and election process for a Board of Directors. Congratulations go to newly elected Board members:

The new WRA Board of Directors began service in February 2006 with a two-day meeting in Washington DC. Board members became familiar with the WRA's history, mission, vision, principles, national alliances, funding and staffing situation. The Board further determined priorities for their tenure, including financial sustainability, greater visibility of the WRA, increased collaboration, relationship and responsibilities between the Global Secretariat and National Alliances and membership policies.

Mamdouh Wahba, President, Family Health Society (Egypt)

Theresa Shaver, Director, White Ribbon Alliance (USA)

Jeremie Zoungrana, WRA National Coordinator, Country Director, JHPIEGO (Burkina Faso)

Deborah Armbruster, Director, POPPHI Project, PATH (USA)

Brigid McConville, Independent Journalist (UK)

Aparajita Gogoi, National Co-ordinator, WRA India (India)

Michelle Prosser, Director, Maternal Health, Futures Group (USA)

Catharine Taylor, Lead Specialist Maternal Health, HLSP (UK)

Judi Brown, Director, ICM (Australia)

Harry Cross, Vice President, Futures Group (USA)

Koki Agarwal, Director, ACCESS Program, JHPIEGO (USA) (last two directors do not appear in the photo, which also includes Maria Nagorski, workshop facilitator, 3rd from left in back row)
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Title Annotation:International Confederation of Midwives
Author:McCallon, Betsy
Publication:International Midwifery
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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