Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plans for Virtual International Day of the Midwife 2012

On Monday the organising committee of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife had their wash-up meeting for 2011. Here are the key points that came out of that meeting.

1. Organisation
We all agreed that we were pretty spot on with the organisation of the day. The only element that had the potential to cause problems was having seperate rooms for each session, but that appeared to work well. The downside of that arrangement was that you couldn't put a computer on in an organisation and leave it going for 24 hours, without having someone to change rooms every hour. The other side to the coin is that this arrangement made it extremely easy to make recordings, which were then published on the website within hours.

2. Attracting wider audience
One of our key challenges is to attract a wider audience next year.
  • We need to think about how we can "bridge the gap" between the event and those who are scared of the technology. We have noticed that we get a far greater response if we support people with the technology in a F2F context.
  • Work more closely with people in a face-to-face context in a mentoring role. One idea is to "adopt an organisation" whereby we work with individual organisations in setting up the technology and making sure they have access to the event on the day.
  • Focus on developing a program that has "star" names, especially the first session ie turn the first session into a keynote presentation.
  • More cherry picking of speakers rather than waiting for people to apply and ending up with "pot luck".
Personally, I feel we have to keep a mix of both approaches. Whilst I accept we need to be focused in our marketing strategies, I would also like to maintain an "unconference" feel to the event, so that we meet the actual needs of the people we serve, not just what we think they need.

3. Building capability
We know VIDM is a viable initiative so we need to think about succession planning and building capability. We had some wonderful support this year from people who are not midwives. Now we need to focus on bringing midwives on board and get them to the same level of technical expertise as the non-midwife facilitators. One suggestion is to hand-pick midwives who we know have an interest in this area and mentor them onto the organising committee and as facilitators. This will help to secure the future for the VIDM, especially past the time when we end our involvement.

4. Allignment with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM)
One way to ensure our sustainability and get to a wider audience is to consider the possibility of alligning ourselves with the ICM. We would need to write a proposal and make suggestions about how we come under the ICM umbrella. But before we do that, we need to consider the pros and cons, and decide even if we want to do that, or stay completely independent.

5. Publication plan
Another way of advertising the event is to get on and publish our experiences in the midwifery press. We have the results of the feedback to publish, as well as reflections and commentries. We will plan another meeting in the next week to come up with a formal plan about how to do this.

Congratulations to the organising committee for yet another fabulous year - looks like we're on for 2012!


starpath said...

"We have noticed that we get a far greater response if we support people with the technology in a F2F context."
I did offer to assist with this locally because using conferencing technology for the first time may need guidence for some. Personally, I loved being able to access the recordings, so 10/10 for that.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks starpath. When you're working in an international context like this, it is impossible to give localized F2F support. But I do like Deborah's 'adopt an institution' idea and will market that next year.