Back 6 December 2016

YMLs Programme: Establishing a Culture of Leadership

YML ICM MENTORS group photo Abu Dhabi

YMLs in a group photo with their mentors and ICM representatives in Abu Dhabi

12 Young Midwifery Leaders (YMLs) from Africa, Americas and Asia have embarked on a journey that will equip them with leadership skills and empower them to make meaningful change in their society and profession. The introductory leadership workshop, which took place in Abu Dhabi from 5-9 December, is a continuation of an 18-month programme, which started in Copenhagen during the Women Deliver conference.

The Programme

The first ICM Young Midwifery Leaders (YML) Programme took place from 2004-2007 with an aim to establish a culture of leadership within the young midwives. Since that time, several YML programmes have been successfully implemented. The 2016-17 programme continues with the same objectives, this time with significant multi-stakeholder and mentor support globally, regionally and nationally. This support helps facilitate the influence of the profession on maternal-newborn health as well as midwifery issues. 

Moreover, the programme prepares the YMLs to engage with and support their own professional associations; to identify mentors to help them identity and address areas of growth; and to cultivate a continuing network that will support them to further develop their leadership potential. 

The ICM will facilitate the exposure of the participants to leadership in the international arena and provide nurturing and a supportive environment to foster creativity and initiative among participants. 

YML Abu Dhabi visiting Hospital

Part of the YML group, ICM representatives and mentors visiting a maternity hospital - Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi

The journey

Earlier this year, 30 remarkable young midwives from around the world were selected to participate in the Young Midwives in the Lead: Midwifery Symposium during the May 2016 Women Deliver conference. One of the objectives was to showcase how investments in YMLs can improve quality care within midwifery practice, highlighting the importance of investment in research, advocacy, mentorship and leadership skills of young midwife leaders.

ICM partners have agreed to support all 30 YMLs for the full 18 months ICM programme, beginning with this first group of 12.

YML + Mentor Abu Dhabi

YMLs mentors, Cristina Alonso (1st L) and Pandora Hartman (2nd L) with their mentees Yvone Nsaba Uwera (3rd L) from Rwanda and Samara Ferrara (1st R) from Mexico

YMLs speak out

We asked some of the YMLs why do they think the leadesrhip training is very important to them, what skills they are hoping to gain; here is what they had to say.

YML Malawi Linvell Chirwa Abu Dhabi Training 

Linvell Chirwa, YML Malawi

The YML leadership training is very important to me because Midwifery profession needs leaders that have good qualities and leadership skills. As a young midwifery leader, this will provide me with an opportunity to reflect my everyday performance and make improvements where necessary. The training will prepare me on how to handle issues regarding the profession at large and align my thinking towards the achievement of the Global goals.

Through this leadership trainning programme, I know I will gain skills on how to conduct a project with regional  or national significance. Furthermore, I will gain more of advocacy skills since midwifery profession needs leaders that should always advocate for its betterment.

I am more eager to learn how to influence policy change on issues concerning midwifery. From the training, I would like to achieve the level of capability where Midwifery challenges will have solutions and the challenges will be faced with full confidence using the skills that I will acquire

When I got the news that I was among the 12 selected YML, my reaction was overwhelming because the training came as a challenge. Sometimes I have feelings of uncertainty as to whether I will accomplish all the requirements of the training or not. But all in all, I felt honored and trusted to be given the leadership roles and responsibilities from the mother body ICM.

My final word: Together we can achieve what we want as far as midwifery profession is concerned. Challenges will be tackled with determination, perseverance and commitment when our goals and objectives are clear to us.


Samara Ferrara YML Mexico Abu Dhabi training

Samara Ferrara, YML Mexico

This training is vital for my personal/inner, professional, social and communitarian growth. I want to be more prepared, self aware, educated, focused, in local and global network so I can serve my community, my country and humanity.

From this leadership trainning programme, I expect to achieve teamwork, unity, challenges, ideas, clarity, tools, togetherness, objectives, mission.

What my reaction when I got the news that I was selected to be among the 12 YMLS? Absolute gratitude, wonder why I was chosen, contact the other YMLs to see who was coming, responsibility to do my best and make the best of this amazing experience. Wanting to bring more to my country, connected with the local and global needs and infinite possibilities. A sense of growth.

I honor every person involved in making this possible. I feel profound gratitude for all, my coleagues, life, this amazing energy making this time and experience possible for us all tu get together. I am looking forward to live this experience with the best of my soul! Thank you!

Sodere Nurgi YML Ethiopia Abu Dhabi training

Sodere Nurgi, YML Ethiopia

First of all this training will broaden and enhances my ability of leadership. It will help me to be innovative and creative leader on existing and emerging maternal health issues.

My expectations from this training will be sharing of experiences with other colleagues coming from different countries and create network with international stakeholders. At the end of the training I will develop leadership skill and develop project which will solve my country’s maternal health issues.

I was very excited when I saw the email that I was selected to be among the 12 YMLs. I felt so proud to be a midwife. It encourages me to work further and harder. I felt as a lot is expected from me.

This is great initiation. The ICM should continue to encourage and motivate young leaders as it is already started. I would like to thank ICM.  

Yvonne D NSaba Uwera YML Rwanda

Yvonne Delphine Nsaba Uwera, YML Rwanda

The ICM young midwife leadership training is important to me as it will enhance my leadership, knowledge and skills, and will allow me to uplift midwifery profession back in my country and support other young midwives  to improve their leadership.

I am expecting during this training to gain more tips on advocacy, more leadership skills and how to provide leadership training  to other midwives.

Being selected among the 12 YMLs made me feel blessed, I started dancing and singing, the next was to call my mentor and tell her the good news. After celebrating, I felt the huge responsibility weight on my shoulder towards other young midwives .

 Jigme Chodem YML Bhutan

Jigme Choden, YML Bhutan

This training is very important for me because I used to feel intimidated by word leadership and always thought leadership is not for me but over the time I learned that leadership is not always about leading a group but more importantly it is about leading our self. Since I realized this, I have always taken interest in this subject and looked for an opportunity to develop myself as a better leader. 

From this training I expect to learn more on the leadership skills and management. As a Midwife and Chief of the ward, in today’s ever changing and demanding health care environment, it is important to posses appropriate leadership skills in advancing midwifery profession which I look forward to from this training. 

When I received an email about my selection, I felt very privileged and lucky to be part of 12 YMLs to attend the leadership training because this is important opportunity to enhance my leadership skills based on the subject of Midwifery which is always very close to my heart. 

Thank you ICM for such a rare and wonderful opportunity. I will make the best use of it to advance midwifery profession in my country. 

Olabisi Peace Adigun YML Nigeria

Olabisi Peace Adigun, YML Nigeria

I think the training is important to me because as a young midwife leader, it has all it entails to improve my leadership skills, enhance my skills in midwifery procession as well as my personal growth and development.

Secondly, i hope to gain and achieve a lot from this training,especially in the area of leadership and Midwifery generally.

I felt really elated and priviledeged to be among the chosen 12 to participate in this training, I was do excited because I get to meet other YML's once again and to learn new ideas.

I want say a big THANK YOU to ICM for this great opportunity they have given me.

Clara Methie YML Zimbabwe

Clara Methie, YML Zimbabwe

This training is of paramount importance to me because it is an opportunity for me to be empowered  as a YML to stand as an advocate for midwifery, women, girls and infants. It is giving me a chance to grow and improve my leadership, management and research skills through sharing ideas  with the 'mature' midwives as l go through the training.

I believe I will gain confidence and be able to speak up for midwifery and be a change agent in the Midwifery practice to improve the quality of services. 

I expect to gain leadership and management skills l need to successfully integrate midwifery into health systems. I am hoping to receive expertise ability to speak up evidence based information and practices in policy making or changing pertaining midwifery in my country.

When l was informed l was one of the the 12 YML l had mixed feelings.  I was so excited about the 18 months training but at the same time sad that l might not be able to attend because l had my bags packed to attend a training in sexual and Reproductive health and rights in Sweden.  I almost burst in tears of joy when after l came from Sweden l received another email still offering me to  participate in the YML training.  I was so happy because l knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime to be fully equipped with the leadership skills.  I mostly loved and embraced the fact that we will be working with our mentors taking us through the learning process and sharing our fears and experiences.

I am forever grateful to ICM and the supportive partners that have realised a need to invest in us (YMLs). Your investment is not going to waste for it is creating a history on the road to improve quality of midwifery services globally. 

Ibana Karen YML Uruguay

Ibana Karen Costa, YML Uruguay

I believe that this program will be of great help to strengthen the knowledge that I have been taught in Denmark. I believe that the training will provide me with tools to face and solve the challenges and reach goals that the midwives have in my country; as well as to work with them to improve the health of women and their newborns.

Among my expectations is the power to obtain tools as well as methodology that can be applied to roll out and manage projects that can be carried out successfully in favor of current problems. Moreover, to strengthen midwifery, both professionally as well as at formal level. It is indispensable to achieve better results in what concerns women's health and focusing on motherhood and newborns.

I was really surprised and I am very grateful to be selected for this program. I have been given a great opportunity not only on a personal level but also for the entire midwifery cadre of my country. In Denmark I gained significant tools and inspiration that have produced a major change, enhancing my goals and ways on how to carry them out.

On the other hand I know that I am limited by my language and I am determined to learn and deepen my English language skills, in order to make the most of the opportunity that is being offered


ICM CE with YMLs

ICM Chief Executive, Frances Ganges with some of the YMLs in Abu Dhabi


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