Sunday, 1 June 2014

Together in Prague: Moments in History

Our Global Midwifery Twinning Project is linking midwifery associations in Uganda, Cambodia, Nepal and the UK. Yesterday was the first time all four associations had come together since the beginning of the project two years ago.
The moment all the twins arrived in Prague - two year's work and relationships coming together.  
Gathering a day before the ICM Congress began, at a workshop facilitated by an external facilitator, we began the process of telling our stories, coming to a shared understanding of where we have come from, where we are now and where we would like to go together.
Back: Jacque Gerrard, Director for RCM England; Delicia Egboh, Project Administrator, RCM UK; Cathy Warwick, Chief Exectuive, RCM UK; Louise Silverton, Director of Midwifery, RCM UK.
Middle: Ishwori Dewi Shrestra, Chief Nurse/Midwife, Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal;Sarah Namyalo, Ugandan Nurses and Midwives Council and UPMA; Yeath Thida, Midwife Educator and Cambodian Midwives Council Executive; Oung Lida, Vice President, Cambodian Midwives Assocation; Mary Garrot Musoke, President, Uganda Private Midwives Assocation; Kiran Bajrachriya, President, Midwifery Society of Nepal
Front: Joy Kemp, Global Professional Advisor, RCM UK (Me!); Lesley Page, President, RCM UK
It was a beautiful and inspiring time, getting to know one another, listening to our partner associations talking about the successes and challenges of furthering the work of midwives where they are, crying and laughing together and sharing a meal.  I was especially grateful to the three RCM directors and our president who set aside the day, in the midst of this enormously busy time, to understand the project better and to deepen the relationships with our partners.  We will have a follow up workshop in London on 12 June, after our twins have completed their UK tours!
Kiran and Mary reconnecting (Nepal and Uganda)

Jacque (England) and Mary (Uganda)

Viewing the overview of the project I have put together for the exhibition stand

Kiran presented all partners with a special Midwifery Society Calendar from Nepal

Sarah and Delicia chatting over lunch (RCM UK and Uganda)

Our meal together
We had to miss dessert in our rush to attend the 'Voices of Midwives' Event in Kampa Park - an attempt to break the World Record for the number of midwives singing together at any one time!  3000 midwives in the sunshine joined in once voice - a spine tingling moment.  Here's a little video showing Jacque Gerrard and Cathy Warwick dancing and singing, and two of our friends from Cambodia getting into the groove!Voices of Midwives singing in Prague

At the Voices of Midwives Sing-a-long: Jacque Gerrard (RCM Director for England) and me with the Cambodia Contingent: Pros, Lida, Thida and Mme. Ing Rada
Another theme of our time here has been people borrowing my glasses to read the conference programme, menus and the map of Prague, which has the most ridiculous small print.  Here's Mary and Gail sporting my £3.99 specials!

Today the congress proper started with over 3000+ midwives from all the world joining for an inspiring opening ceremony.
Amazing flag ceremony - the moment when Mary brought in the Ugandan flag.  I cried when Lida paraded with the Cambodian flag - it's so wonderful that they are here

RCM President Frances Day-Stirk giving the opening address
Those midwifery associations involved in twinning have clubbed together for a Twinning Stand in the exhibition.  It will be a focal point for anyone involved in or interested in twinning.  It proved to be a great meeting point after the opening ceremony, with midwives from Laos delighted to see our twins from Cambodia, swapping business cards and planning to meet up again in due course.
With Thida and Lida, our Cambodian twins, at the twinning stand
Our display at the twinning stand
Tomorrow the scientific sessions start in earnest.  Linked to Prague's beautiful bridges, tomorrow's first session is 'Bridging midwifery and women's health rights'.There are presentations from all of our three twinned countries so I'll be dashing around the congress centre in an atttempt to get to every one!  Hopefully this has given a flavour of this exciting and inspiring event.  More blurb from Bohemia in the next installment.

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