Educating and empowering rural midwives through the Hamlin Midwives Alumni Network

After the success of last year’s first ever GreenLamp sponsored and co-organized Hamlin Midwifery Alumni Network Summit, we are thrilled to announce there will be another this year.

It will again be held in Addis Ababa on 21-23 July, bringing together over 60 Hamlin-graduated midwives from five regions of Ethiopia for an extended two and a half days of networking and workshops. The midwives will refresh and extend their skills in midwifery, develop mentoring and leadership skills, and have an opportunity to share their skills and experience with each other. Following requests from the midwives and Hamlin, we will also be running a mini one-day Summit in mid-June for this year’s 25 graduates, as they will be going home ready to be deployed before the main summit in July.

It’s important for us to support and empower midwives not only as students but long term throughout their careers, building relationships with them as individuals and helping them maintain the support network they have from each other. The Hamlin Midwifery Alumni Network is a key way for us to do this. Learn more about the network and this year’s planned summit from Joanna Boyd in the Project Team, please read on….

“An alumni network – specifically for Hamlin qualified midwives, was just a GreenLamp idea until less than two years ago. Despite this the Hamlin Alumni Midwives Network (HAMN) quickly gained traction and support, not only from the Hamlin midwives but also from Hamlin Fistula senior management.

Be assured, it is not a party planning network, although promoting social networking is an important part of the mix, to encourage senior experienced midwives to mentor newly qualified midwives and help them adjust to life in rural Ethiopia. After living at the Hamlin College of Midwives in Addis Ababa for four years, these 22-year-old graduates are confronted with little or no power for lights or charging phones in their living accommodation (most do have access to solar power in the health centres thanks to the GreenLamp supplied Solar Suitcases), and highly restricted water supply, often delivered by donkey or truck, and no internet connection.

As a key part of the network, the annual summit provides the midwives with a safe space to discuss issues and problems with each other, and share ideas and solutions, as well as providing refresher training and opportunities to hear about new treatments or equipment.

Another objective of the network is to give the midwives “A Voice” so they have their opinions, issues and feedback heard by Hamlin, most importantly, at the level where it can have an impact and influence strategic decisions. As part of the network, the midwives now have elected regional representatives (five in total) who are invited by the senior management to attend the Hamlin Annual Review Meeting. Creating channels of communication for midwives is also important for GreenLamp, so we can hear first-hand feedback about our impact in the field, such as the Solar Suitcases, and get important ideas on how we can improve or expand.

This year there will be a mini-summit in mid-June for the 25 new graduates. The main summit will be a two-and-a-half-day event for over 60 midwives and will include discussion and adoption of the HMAN Framework, half-day training on the Danish maternal health app “Safe Delivery”, and facilitated discussion groups. In addition, the Hamlin Medical Director Dr Fekade and the CEO Ato Mamo Tesfaye will present Hamlin’s current strategy, and the Ethiopian Association of Midwives will also attend. Samson Tsegaye from the Solar Energy Foundation, our solar system maintenance partner and Solar Suitcase trainer, will teach the midwives all about how to use it and keep it fully charged as well as what to do when there is a problem.

We have a committed group of 7 volunteers, including a professional facilitator and some of our Board members, who will work during the Summit as facilitators.”