New Twinning Workshop
Participants for the new Twinning project are: The Zambian Midwives Association with the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives and the Botswana Midwives. A selected group of members travelled to the town of Siavonga in Zambia to participate in the initiation workshop, facilitated by ICM.
Twinning is defined as a two-way mutually beneficial exchange between two Midwives Associations. It is a formal and substantive collaboration between two organizations. The overall aim is to promote sharing of ideas, skills and learning from each other through exchange of information, and technology transfer. The Twinning approach provides opportunities for peer support and peer mentoring. More information can be found in the newly developed Twinning Manual.
It is important that the workshop provides a good basis to start forming a mutually beneficial relationship. The first task thus was to meet each other personally and to identify a name for the Twinning project. With much laughter the participants decided on professor Lily, accouché and Pepé. In a next step the participants shared their expectations and fears in regards to the Twinning project. Among the fears were: to disappoint the other association, misunderstanding due to cultural differences, challenges in communication in regards to technical difficulties; expectations were: to learn successfully from other midwives’ associations and therefore strengthen the own organization.
The next part of the workshop was dedicated to voicing perceptions of each other. The Zambians shared that they were surprised to see Americans in baseball caps and shorts during formal meetings. The Americans on the other hand had trouble understanding the working style of the Zambians as they were hard to locate and the task sharing was not obvious to them. The participants from Botswana perceive the Zimbabweans as very creative in regards to creating problems and persistent in solving them. Zimbabweans find people from Botswana have a unique way of expressing themselves.
After lunch, the participants presented their own associations. Some of them established 60 years ago, some of them recently became an organization of their own. Lots could be learned from the struggles each associations has had to come to the point where they are now.
The second day started with an exercise where participants had to draw several items such as a dog a policeman and a midwife. This activity helped participants to understand how diverse the profession of the midwife is, which also means that midwives associations are diverse with different structures, visions, missions and challenges. The participants then proceeded to map out their organizations strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and discussed the results afterwards.