Blasting off with the BOOST Project

The Royal College of Midwives has recently signed a contract with UNFPA Bangladesh to help strengthening the Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS) through a twinning project, similar to what we have implemented in Uganda, Cambodia and Nepal.  We are calling this new project BOOST: Bangladesh Midwifery Society Opportunity for Organisational Development through Twinning. Initially for one year, the project may extend for a further 3 years and is being funded by DFID through UNFPA. During this first phase we will help BMS to undertake an organisational capacity assessment using tools from the International Confederation of Midwives and walk through a series of other activities together such as situational and stakeholder analyses and an election of office bearers.

With Halima Akter, President of BMS, in October 2016

I visited Bangladesh in October 2016 to meet BMS and to attend the Midwifery Services Framework Workshop that was being hosted by UNFPA and ICM, At that time I visited various clinical sites and educational facilities, met funders and beneficiaries, undertook an intial risk assessment and began to get a feel for what it might be like to have a programme presence here.  Since then, we've been negotiating contracts, developing job descriptions and begun recruiting for the personnel we need to deliver the agreed outcomes (in addition to completing our recent MOMENTUM project in Uganda).  On Friday we appointed a volunteer for a six month placement who will start her new role with BMS in September.  Next week we will be interviewing for a consultant to help with project management and hope to soon fill the Global Projects Officer post at the RCM.

Meanwhile, I have been asked to take some time to pause and reflect on the RCM's programmes, processes, achievements and challenges thus far and to publish and disseminate our work.  This takes time but we've made a start and hope to have some published articles soon to show for it.

Right now, I've just arrived back in Bangladesh for a week of strategising with BMS.  I hope to be joined by the ICM's technical advisor Pashtoon Zyaee, visa permitting, on Wednesday. Pashtoon and I have worked together before in Nepal and it will be a joy to do so again.  If she doesn't make it, I'll be a very busy woman over the next week!

With Pashtoon in Nepal, April 2013
Other things to do whilst I'm here involve setting up arrangements with VSO to house and provide security for any RCM volunteers visiting the country and catching up with Sue Lloyd, a friend from Cambodia days.  I'm still recovering from jetlag after visiting Canada and the USA so will be trying to ensure I get enough sleep.

Meanwhile at home, Hannah has just finished her A levels and is off on her first girlie holiday to Greece, leaving her parents quaking in their boots :)


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