Back 2 June 2016

Young Midwives in the Lead: Midwifery Symposium 15-16, May

Young Midwives in the Lead: Midwifery Symposium 15-16, May

There are about 1.8 billion young people in the world and when empowered they are effective drivers of change; ICM and partners acknowledge the potential contribution of young midwives and therefore agreed to focus on this group for the symposium. This is the third midwifery symposium, which was held at the 4th Women Deliver Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The two other symposiums were held during the Women Deliver Conferences in Washington DC, 2010 and Kuala Lumpur in 2013.   

YML group photo 

Young Midwife Leaders in a group photo with ICM President, Frances Day-stirk

ICM in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, UNFPA, WHO, JHPIEGO and other partners, organized a “Young Midwives in the Lead” symposium. Hundreds of applications for the YMLs programme were received. But only 33 remarkable young midwives from around the world were selected to participated. One of the objectives was to showcase how investments in Young Midwifery Leaders (YML) can improve quality care within midwifery practice, highlighting the importance of investment in research, advocacy, mentorship and leadership skills of young midwife leaders.  

The Symposium was preceded by a daylong workshop for the YMLs, which highlighted important issues like leadership principles and effective communication. They also learnt how to analyse challenging situations and develop.

At the Symposium opening ICM President, Frances Day-Stirk remarked: "what we are doing here today is creating a global network of Young Midwife Leaders (YMLs). They will serve as a forum for exchanging good practices and innovations for scaling up midwifery and in improving quality of midwifery care." Ms. Day-Stirk further emphasised “In this way the young midwives will have a wider impact across the entire health and social care system."

Katja Iverson, Women Deliver CEO echoed the ICM President's remarks by saying, "When you invest in midwives, you create a ripple effect that goes beyond the individual, you touch her family. We are here to discuss the how and the new ways to advance midwifery issues and I want to assure you that Women Deliver is a platform for all of us." 

It was a full, but exciting Symposium, which included interactive and hands-on sessions like YML Voices: Training to Action. In this session five YMLs were given a chance to provide feedback on the previous symposium training.

Lebanon YML 

Ms. Barbour, YML from Lebanon presenting in one of the sessions

Presenting on ‘my role as a leader’, YML Clara Methie from Zimbabwe said, “It is important as leaders we know our strength. Do not let anyone push you out of your space, always be up to date, team work is the best you can't forge forward alone.” While Alixandra Bacon, YML from Canada stressed on the importance of inspiring the team and how to plan, organize, implement and evaluate the work for better results.

Marina Hashwani, YML from Pakistan reiterated the importance of communication and advocacy, “advocacy is very important to bring change in the midwifery profession. We should learn to advocate for the root cause and not the symptoms to solve the problem.” 

Other sessions during the symposium included; role of midwifery in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and the role that YML can play. Several partners also presented on programmes and initiatives on midwifery, whereby ICM presented on Midwifery Services Framework among other things. 

YMLs Declaration of commitment 

commitment reciting   

Some of the YMLs reciting their global call for action and declaration of commitment 

On the last day the YMLs recited their global call for action and declaration of commitment. “We will champion creative ways to network with our colleagues globally”, they said in unison. Their call to action was loud and clear – “We call for a unified voice and collaborative action on midwifery to ensure all women, newborns and their families have access to the best possible quality of respectful midwifery care”. To read the full call to action and declaration click HERE

Follow the links below to hear their voices

"As young midwives we need to get involved in policy and decision making, we have lots of ideas to keep the midwifery profession up to date" - Olabisi Adigun, YML Nigeria

"We need more midwives in the leadership positions" - Massoma Jafari, YML Afghanistan

"We as midwives are the ones to advocate and stand up and say, we need to be involved in those positions of policy and decision making" - Clara Methie, Zimbabwe YML

"Midwives globally are a tribe that is actually very much unified in their efforts to care properly for women and their newborns"- Yoana Stancheva, Bulgaria YML

"Midwives need to seek further education, we need to go beyond our bachelor of midwifery, we need to get MA in Public Health so that we can move into policy sectors in our governments. We need to get PhD's so that we can move from being the head of our departments to being Dean of Universities." - Alixandra Bacon, YML

"We need a good leader, someone who can manage, guide and organise, put the qualified midwives in the right place. What we need as midwives is to influence policy." - Linvell Iddes Chirwa, YML Malawi

"As a young midwife, it's my responsibility to grab the opportunity and ti be on the table where decisions are beinf made for the midwives." Marina Hashwani, YML Pakistan

"We need to bring midwives into policy making, we need to speak for ourselves, we need to get our ideas together and work as a team." - Samara Ferrara Belart, YML from Mexico

"Midwifery is a noble profession that makes me feel proud. We need to take a lead, we need to speak for ourselves, we need to speak for our profession. Midwives are the women's voice, we need to speak for women to change things if we want to improve maternal and child health." - Yvonne Delphine Nsaba Uwera, YML Rwanda


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