There are always excellent speakers at conference. Below I have highlighted the key messages from each.
Ellie Bird Lenawarungu spoke about her work in Africa. Ellie was a Police Office in West Midlands, Area Commander in Scotland and the first woman to be a Chief Superintendent. She retired from the Police force in 2014 and moved to live with her husband in Kenya. She has set up a charity to help women and girls. She spoke about how young women are being sexually exploited for sanitary towels. Ellie’s message was; to empower others we often need to empower ourselves first, we may have to learn a new skill, do something tough, really understand the issue before we can empower others.
Sally Kettle – Ocean Rower
Sally gave an excellent and entertaining presentation, demonstrating how determination got her through the tough times. Sally and her mother became the first woman crew to undertake and complete the challenge. They took their time and saw the beauty along the way.
Professor Helen Pankhurst
Helen spoke about how the Pankhurst family had been working to change the cultural norms, what is valued by society, the role of women. Currently 32% of the members in the House of Common are women. It is not just a numbers game, but attitude. In 1994 male Police officers were issued with fire arms, women officers were issued with a handbag!
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
This was an excellent and witty presentation of his trials and tribulations. He has been exploring for 48years and has a backup team of 52 people, these people are all invaluable to help him do what he does, he couldn’t do it alone. How a person is motivated is key for being a part of the team. He has raised over 4.2million for Multiple Sclerosis charities.
Examples of the excellent programme action that clubs are doing was highlighted throughout the day.
Tadpole Swimming Club – SI East Grinstead
Hilary, Angela and Janet gave a presentation about their work raising funds to support the Tadpole swimming club for children with learning and physical difficulties.
Meru update – a review of the recent study trip to Meru from the perspective of a new member. People notice how we speak and behave, we must embody the vision and mission, not just espouse it.
Tomorrow’s Wirral Women – SI Heswall
A former school has been converted into a centre where women can have counselling, get training for interviews, clothes etc all with the aim of keeping them out of the criminal justice system. The club have been instrumental in getting the centre up and running.
Best Practice for Advocacy Award – San Fernando – for their work in reducing the amount of single use plastic.
In India it is culturally expected that women will only go to the toilet at night on the edge of the village/compound, therefore many women do not eat or drink much during the day. At night many women and girls are raped when going to the toilet. The project aims to build toilets and teach better health and hygiene. Toilets in people’s homes and villages provide dignity and privacy.
19 November is World Toilet day. Clubs are meeting on the steps of St Pauls to raise awareness.
25 countries have Toilet Twining activities with clubs raising funds.
It is essential that we complete the Programme forms – these are used to judge the Best Practice Awards and to secure our UN consultative Status – SI must demonstrate that we make substantial and sustained contribution. Now that SI is a charity we must demonstrate the public benefit of our work. SI has 19 UN reps across the following offices; New York, Vienna, Geneva, Nairobi, Rome, Paris, Vienna and Bangkok.
Next Federation conference will be in Bournemouth October 2019.