|With Florence (left), Prof. Ann Thomson and RCM Wales Director Helen Rogers in Uganda, April 2014|
In September 2012 our first project workshop brought the Association and the Union together with others invested in midwifery to assess their capacity and identify areas for development over the 3 years of the Global Midwifery Twinning Project. This was a landmark moment for both organisations and Florence joined the meeting to make an action plan for her midwifery chapter. However, there was still tension and rivalry. On my first visit in April 2013, together with our country directors for Wales and Northern Ireland we visited the Union but were not given access to Florence to discuss midwifery. Meanwhile, the president of UPMA was doing her best to build bridges, inviting Florence to join in midwifery events and advocating on her behalf with the Union. The breakthrough came in October 2013 when, as requested by UPMA, the Royal College of Midwives brought all of Uganda's midwifery stakeholders together for an advocacy workshop - you can read, see and hear about that in my earlier blog: The Sound of Singing in Kampala. Florence was a key player in that workshop and since then both Union and Assocation have been working hard to move and cooperate together. Mary and Florence have become great friends. They have attended many events together and joined up in celebrations such as International Day of the Midwife.
|With Mary and Florence at the GMTP Advocacy Workshop, October 2013 in Kampala|
Last night, at my invitation, Florence and Mary attended the RCM's evening reception in the conference centre and met with midwives from Northern Ireland and Wales, their twinned countries. Only afterwards did Florence confess she was not confident to travel alone to her hotel on the other side of Prague. So, I found myself alone with my gnashing friend, braving the metro system and trying to keep my distance (unsuccessfully... I got plenty more pinches but thankfully no more bites).
|Czech travel buddies: Midwives on the Metro|
|ICM's techincal midwifery advisor Pashtoon explaining the role of Midwifery Assocations as one of the three pillars in yesterdays Prague workshop|