SIGBI Programme Director’s Blog May 2017

Barbara Dixon

April for me started with a Skype meeting with all the APD’s discussing aspects of programme that will promote our organisation and help clubs develop their project work.

Work on the cluster groups for countries outside the UK is progressing slowly, but I know that the APD’s will persist and hopefully this will help us to communicate better with other parts of our Federation and help them to input the all-important Programme Focus Report Forms that we need for data. This can be used by our United Nations Representatives when asked for information on what we are doing to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and for discussion panels and shadow reports.

On 6th April I attended our club installation dinner when we thanked our last President Jan Walker for her successful year and wished the same success to our new President Michelle Phillips.

The following day I went to the National Memorial Arboretum to see the Soroptimist’s plot. It is beautifully maintained and in a very prominent position, but could do with a bit of replanting. The Soroptimist’s flag flies 24/7 all year round and needs replacing every year. Next year is the Centenary of the end of WWI and it would be fitting if we could refurbish the plot, in conjunction with the Arboretum’s guidelines to ensure this unique area is a tribute to all we work for.

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April the 8th saw me at our Regional President’s Day. It was a very full day with speakers from Tomorrow’s Women Wirral giving moving testimonies of their journey from domestic violence, through prison to rehabilitation. Many UK clubs have worked on the Prison Reform Trust projects developed through UKPAC and the stories told by these women confirmed the benefit of rehabilitation over incarceration.

Like many Regions we have stalls at the meeting, often supporting club charities, but on this occasion most of them were dedicated to the Meru Project. To date I am not sure how much was made, but I am sure it will be well applied.

The Meru project has now taken in the first tranche of women for the education project and there are monthly discussions between the ambassadors and the team from Child.Org on the ground in Kenya.

On the 12th April I finally got on a plane for a break in Greece – not undisturbed of course as e-mails need answering every day, documents need reading and responding to and papers need to be downloaded for the FMB meeting on 28th – straight off the plane to the meeting!

So it has been quite a quiet month but still productive.

Most Clubs will now have new Presidents and perhaps a new Programme Team and I wish you all well for the future. There are so many projects to work on, so many charities to help, so much inequality and violence, but we DO make a difference, slowly, quietly and consistently and I thank you all for your work.

We are living in difficult times with a lot of civil, religious and political unrest. It was apparent at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York that there is a tendency towards a backward slide on women’s rights and we have to make sure that does not happen.

So whatever you plan to do, helping one individual or a community I wish you well – someone, somewhere will feel the benefit of your work.

Yours in friendship

Barbara Dixon
Programme Director

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