Thursday, June 6, 2013

Virtual International Day of the Midwife: Where to from here?

In my last few posts I have been reflecting on the 5th Annual Virtual International Day of the Midwife. In this post I want to take a little time to think about what we still want to achieve.

What objectives have we achieved?
There are a number of objectives that we have articulated over the years which we have achieved, and I am extremely proud of that.
  • Recognition on an international level that this is a credible event, with endorsement by the International Confederation of Midwives.
  • Recognition of the event's credibility by the world's midwifery leaders, with offers from our leading academics, leaders and researchers to be speakers.
  • Have people clamour to be speakers.
  • Build capacity in online facilitators.
  • Have speakers presenting from across the world, resource-poor countries as well as Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand.
  • Have the VIDM screened/accessed in countries such as PNG that have so little communication and external interaction with the rest of the world.
  • Advance our model of virtual communication and collaboration for midwifery CPD.
  • Advance Open Education Resources (OER) and OER practices in midwifery.
However, there are some other objectives that I feel we have yet to reach.
  • Sessions facilitated and presented by non-English speakers.
  • Break into the Asian market, including China, because we hear so little from Chinese midwives.
  • Make the event more "mobile".
  • Completely fill a 200 seat room.
  • Support an ongoing conversation.
The last two objectives will be achieved in the next year or two. However, I am not sure about the first two, or that it is appropriate to try and achieve them. I am very mindful that we do not meet the needs of non-English speakers, and I have angsted about this on more than one occasion - have a look here at my thoughts on this last year.

Free web-conferencing for resource-poor countries?
What I am starting to think about is making a proposal to someone, probably the ICM, that they buy a license to a virtual room that any midwife can use, something like the model that Steve Hargadon used to facilitate a couple of years ago. There would have to be a virtual booking system, and someone would have to be responsible for keeping an eye of things, as well as finding funding for it. However, I think that it might be a more culturally appropriate way to approach online CPD for resource-poor countries, than trying to make them fit into our model.

Keeping the connections going?
As for our last objective, I am not at all sure how we facilitate the connections to continue talking and sharing. We have our Facebook and Twitter page, and we keep that ticking over during the "down-season", however, I am not sure we have the capacity or desire to keep it going at the same level as we do in the six months of the conference. I have also thought about organizing a regular monthly seminar, but, again, don't have the time or energy to do that. So...any other suggestions gratefully received.

What do you think? What aims and goals do you think we should be continuing to strive toward?


Peta said...

Ask the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation about sponsoring web conf access in resource poor countries.

Anonymous said...

Can I suggest that next year you don't give self-proclaimed birth advocates who practise without due skill, ethics or accountability a platform to talk non-stop about themselves for 50 minutes. It was self-aggrandizing, delusional and embarrassing for all involved. I was so disappointed that such a worthy event was tainted by this nonsense. The midwifery community should be speaking out against such practitioners not giving support and legitimacy to them.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Peta....great idea...I'll look into that. Thanks :)

Anonymous: thank you for your feedback - I'll pass it on to the organising committee