Thursday, March 6, 2008

Building an international midwifery community

I am feeling very excited at the moment and feeling that I am teetering on the edge of something that could ultimately be very consuming.
I have been exploring facilitation of online learning communities and have just completed this course and I am now moving into another teaching course designing for flexible learning . I have learned an enormous amount about online communication, networking and web2.0 from this first course and I am interested to see where the next course takes me.

At the culmination of the last course I facilitated an online meeting of midwives, educators and researchers in Second-life. During the preparation for this I established some international midwifery connections and was helped to form a midwives group in second life. I have now also set up a wikieducator space for this group, this links from the Midwifery wiki I had already established. So online midwifery resources are growing. So far I have not been fortunate enough to have input from anyone else on these resources but I am hoping as others find them they will start to add content.

I am also very interested in the Wikiversity project. I believe that some of the material we are currently delivering is not reaching the audience that it could reach because it is held within our institution and is not freely available. I am very fortunate to work in an academic institution which is committed to delivering as much content as possible through free open access. I am committed to exploring the possibility for presenting educational material that will support midwifery professional development in this way.

I also have a strong interest in the Safer Motherhood campaign . I am aware of the very difficult circumstances for many women on our planet and admire the midwives who work so hard to assist and support these women. I have always had a desire to do something in some way to help and support midwives in these situations. The problem is that the reality of practice for these people is so very different from ours. There is much I believe that we could do to help them but they also have much that they can teach us. Any educational material that is presented in an open access format would need to take account of the diversity of experience of humanity and would need to have some collaborative input from those who are living this experience. To this end I have made a connection with a midwife who is living and working in Africa and who may be able to help me with making some connections, forging links and potentially developing something very supportive and useful to midwives wherever they are working.

I also have a vision of midwives connecting as sisters around the world to raise our understanding and support of one another. I would like to establish a shared mentoring experience where one midwife in the developed world is linked with one midwife in the developing world. They can then support one another share practice stories and perhaps offer some practical assistance as well. Perhaps they could spend a little time together, travelling to the area of the other for a short 'working holiday' and gain a better understanding of the situation of the other. The midwife in the wealthier of the two countries might also be able to raise funds and provide some practical support for her buddy. I would like to know your views on this. Please comment on this post.

Image: African mother, from Joram jojo's photos on

1 comment:

Sarah Stewart said...

I know how you feel - I am feeling the same way. At least I know I have my PhD to finish so that has to be my priority this year. I want to get some Elluminate sessions organised.

I think you need to write something written and submitted for publication so that you can get your ideas and experiences out there to midwives who read journals but do not go online much. Set yourself a goal of having a paper written in 6 - 12 months. And...don't forget , you have to get something published on your Masters.

Thats all.........!

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