Soroptimist International President 2017-2019 – Mariet Verhoef-Cohen

A new President to the crowd, a new crowd to the President! She had to make herself known to us as a new leader to the organisation and that is exactly what she did. She shared who she was, what her thoughts were and what her vision for her tenure was, already delving into the plans she had set in motion since she began.

She wants to lead the way to a modern Soroptimist International with some structural changes. It had been 21 years since the dues were increased and it was decided that that would happen January 2019, with a 2 GBP increase. She spoke about global advocacy and communication and strategic leadership where she plans to collaborate with other likeminded organisations to work together as women.

She said that SI would concentrate on the SDG’s 4, 5 and 6 as current priorities. The President’s appeal –water- is to concentrate on how women can play a stronger role in the water sector. Water management she said was technology driven and technology is not considered a women’s job. So she wants to change that thinking. She pointed out that only 17% of jobs in the water sector are filled by women, though women and girls are burdened with the fetching of water, resulting in loss of income for women and schooling for girls.

Her aim is to raise 35,000 GBP with her appeal and bring about changes with five projects in five continents with vocational training for 500 women and 100 leaders so women will be empowered in all phases of water. She hopes to bring public awareness regarding the importance of women as decision makers regarding water. She also spoke about commercial farming.

She shared the good news of the UN secretary general has launching 2019 as the UN year devoted to water and women. She hopes to celebrate this at the SI Convention in 2019.

Her appeal to all clubs was to communicate with SI on such projects where fund raising can be done and awareness spread through media.

A joyous end to the conference day was the birth of her second grandson. We wish you well with full support President Mariet.

Zarreen Babu – SIGBI Friendship Link Coordinator