Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wednesday in Uganda

It’s been a great day but I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus.  So much has been happening, so many people have been coming and going and there has been so much information to take in.  Bertha is doing a great job and is working everyone really hard!  Today was all about refining the problems facing midwifery in Uganda and identifying (a) what is feasible to address with an advocacy strategy and (b) what is outside the remit of a professional association.  Some concepts were shelved as it became apparent they were being addressed by others or were too complex for this organisation at this stage.  Others, were subjected to fierce critical analysis and came out completely changed!  I personally have learned much about the theory of advocacy and how to facilitate learning about it - I know this will be really useful for the life of the project and beyond.  Bertha has a ‘bag of tricks’ that keeps the conversation lively and different people are appointed each day as timekeeper, energiser and spiritual leader.  The prayer times before, during and after proceedings are a defining feature of any UPMA gathering.  It is not a religious organisation, and the midwives come from all different faiths and denominations, but prayer is recognised as essential to progress – perhaps there is a lesson here for midwifery in the UK! 
Bertha's bag of tricks

Trying to agree on what comes first in adovcacy - building your alliances, developing your message, analysing your environment.....
 Some really important people attended today from the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council, the big state university (Makarere) in Kampala, the White Ribbon Alliance, newspaper correspondent and Mildmay Uganda – as well as some additional midwives from UPMA who couldn’t be with us yesterday.   At times I joined in the discussion; other times I observed the interaction between participants or acted as photographer.  It was great to see everyone participating and working well together; the president, the CEO and all the executive committee were completely engaged in the process and were helping to facilitate their groups, thus developing their leadership skills.  Sometimes they were shouted down – democracy is alive and well in the UPMA!

The UPMA president stating her case!

Who goes first - rock, paper, scissors

I am trying to pace myself, aware that this is only the beginning of a 12 day trip.  After the workshop I still have much work to do, interviewing many people for the project evaluation and making up-country visits.  I am looking forward to a day off on Sunday.  Meanwhile, there is limited internet but I will try to blog and Facebook when I can and keep you all updated.
Looking about as tired as I feel...

Njakkulaba enkya – see you tomorrow!

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