In 2022, the International Confederation of Midwives reached a rare milestone – celebrating our 100th birthday. This was made possible because of the resilience and tenacity of midwives and midwives’ associations (MAs) all over the world that together, form the brilliant tapestry that is global midwifery and ICM.
Throughout the year, we celebrated through in-person and digital celebrations. We also grew considerably, launched a global advocacy campaign, worked with instructional learning designers, governments, and our members to improve midwifery education, initiated new programmes to improve the leadership skills of midwives and reformed ICM’s governance structure to ensure greater inclusivity and sustainability.
We are extremely proud of the legacy we are taking with us into the next one hundred years, one where our advocacy for midwives and midwifery, for women and gender diverse people, and their families.
Cheers to the next 100 years!
ICM envisions a world where every childbearing woman has access to a midwife's care for herself and her newborn.
To strengthen Midwives' Associations and to advance the profession of midwifery globally by promoting autonomous midwives as the most appropriate caregivers for childbearing women and in keeping birth normal, in order to enhance the reproductive health of women, their newborns and their families.
For the last 100 years, ICM has been the only international body working to support and strengthen the midwifery profession globally. ICM’s membership is diverse and global, and in 2022 consisted of 140 midwives’ associations from 119 countries across every continent. Through these members, ICM represents more than one million midwives globally.
ICM’s Strategic Priorities for the 2021-2023 triennium are:
Drive innovation and sustainability for the future of midwifery
Develop, strengthen, and support the rollout of a new professional framework for midwifery;
Foster a movement for midwifery, enabling and strengthening partnerships, advocacy, and communications for midwifery, with women’s voices at the centre
Throughout each of our priorities, we promote gender equality by employing a gender lens to all our work.
On September 20th, we brought our key partners and funders together in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to celebrate our Centennial. It was an evening celebrating the milestones, history and trajectory of ICM, midwives and midwifery.
Our message to funders, supporters and partners was clear: ICM and our midwives’ associations are well positioned to advance sustainable health systems, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and virtually every aspect of community, regional and national well-being.
The theme for this year’s International Day of the Midwife was 100 Years of Progress in celebration of ICM’s 100th anniversary.
In 2022, we developed two initiatives to support the inclusion of underrepresented voices on ICM’s communications platforms - the History of Midwifery and Pass the Mic.
The History of Midwifery has focused on profiling different elements of midwifery history globally, for example, the role of Black midwives in the history of the United States and their role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of Black families in modern times. Through the Pass the Mic series, ICM has showcased experts with knowledge and lived experience on a range of subjects related to identity, representation and challenges midwives face. The multimedia narrative series creates space and visibility for the underrepresented voices in our community, facilitates learning opportunities for both ICM and our member associations, and safeguards the trust women, gender diverse people and communities have in our organisation and in midwives.
In 2022 ICM’s Board continued to hold monthly electronic meetings, including a four-day governance training in April. The Finance, Audit, and Risk Committee (FAR) and the Governance Committee continued to meet regularly throughout the year. In October as international COVID-19 restrictions began to lift, our Board Members travelled to the ICM Head Office in the Hague to meet in person for the first time in their tenure.
In 2022 ICM established the Independent Election Committee (IEC), which leads the process for appointments, and ensure plans are in place for the orderly succession to the Board. The IEC is independent of the Board but is accountable to the Board Governance Committee to fulfil its role. Other governance changes, such as establishing, from June 2023, a new, smaller Board, also took effect in 2022. More information on these changes can be found in the full Annual Report at the end of this page.
In 2022, we developed and began implementing a Sustainability Plan that works together with the three-year strategic priorities and enables ICM to achieve our objectives with key stakeholders. This plan focuses on promoting midwifery as an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable model of care, supporting midwives to adapt to a changing world (e.g., climate change, limited access to clean water and sanitation, natural and human-made crises), and ensuring the long-term sustainability of ICM and our member associations.
We are aware of the responsibility and role we play in promoting cultural safety and the elimination of racial disparities and gender inequalities. We work every day to support midwives and MAs by advocating against inequalities and gender-based discrimination within health systems and addressing barriers at the systemic, policy, and programming levels. In 2022, ICM hired consulting company, Black Coconut to develop a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) and gender mainstreaming plan and roadmap for the organisation. In addition to the development of the plan and roadmap, both the Board and the staff attended JEDI workshops and more are being planned in 2023.
ICM and our partners are working to support Midwives’ Associations in Europe as they care for Ukrainian refugees and their children. This work has included procuring and distributing supplies such as food, hygiene and menstrual products, as well as bus and train tickets to women and children, placing families in accommodation and providing other vital services.
Adapting ICM’s work to the needs of MAs at the country level, and to the needs of working midwives has been a central thread of the fabric of ICM’s work since our inception, and it is closely intertwined with both ICM’s priorities around sustainability, gender equality, and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. In 2022, we made a steadfast commitment to clearly implementing localisation as a key component of our work.
The Midwifery Services Framework (MSF) for Developing Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health (SRMNH) Services by Midwives was created in 2015 by ICM, in close collaboration with UNFPA and the World Health Organization. It has been used since then to support the development and strengthening of midwifery services across 6 countries.
MSF in Zambia has helped the country to apply evidence, standards, and guidance to improve the policy and programming environment for implementing midwife-led services to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes.
In response to this work, the Permanent Secretary for Health, Professor Lackson Kasonka suggested having sites that pilot the midwifery-led model of care – a huge win for midwifery in Zambia.
Stemming from our focus on localisation, we have delved deeper into our regions and countries over the last two years. The decision of the ICM Council to move to six regions led us to establish six regional Head Office Teams (HORTs). These teams work closely with member associations and regional Board Member(s) to build relationships and share knowledge and understanding through regular regional meetings and workshops. In 2022, we formed Regional Professional Committees (RPCs) to support ICM’s work to strengthen the midwifery profession regionally and globally and in alignment with the ICM Professional Framework.
In 2022, ICM held three regional meetings where 544 midwives from 112 member associations participated. Each meeting was followed by a 1.5-hour workshop run by ICM staff. The first workshop was on ICM's professional framework, the second was preparation for the upcoming council meeting, and the third on the implementation of ICM's new Independent Election Committee in ICM's 2023 Board election process. The regional meetings are a valuable opportunity for us to share new tools and information with MAs in each region.
In 2021 and continuing into 2022, we had an exciting opportunity to continue supporting More Happy Birthdays in Rwanda through support from Latter-day Saint Charities. This project provided refresher trainings for midwives and other health workers on Helping Mothers Survive and Helping Babies Survive suite of training resources and via short and repeated low-dose, high-frequency practice sessions. Building on the lessons from the 50,000 Happy Birthdays project (2018-2020), we added a focus on member association strengthening through improved governance and leadership. This work also focused on financial capacity strengthening. An MEL system was developed, including a logical framework, qualitative surveys to assess progress, and regular reporting using local capacity.
This year, with support from ICM, the Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS), successfully conducted an Advocacy Needs Assessment (ANA) exercise. Workshops enabled BMS to explore and assess the association’s skills, resources, knowledge, and practices specific to advocacy. This exercise guided a strategy and package of resources to support BMS to advocate for a stronger midwifery that can improve health outcomes for women, newborns, and families in Bangladesh. The ANA Workshop Final Report outlines the key challenges, successes, and recommendations for the way forward, such as a policy analysis to better the current policy landscape for midwifery in Bangladesh. We also provided a small fund to BMS to create a network and advocate for the midwifery profession to the local authorities. From this support, BMS organized five advocacy programmes with local level leaders and stakeholders in December 2022.
Stemming from Member Association requests for mentorship and partnership and with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ICM officially launched the first-ever Twin to Win pilot project – a two-year initiative where member associations from similar contexts are matched and supported to develop and deliver shared and individual projects. For more info, visit our Twin to Win project page.
In December 2022, our Twin countries met for the first time in Casablanca, Morocco and held an amazing kick-off meeting.
As a group of 30 partners, including ICM, the work of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts for Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health + Nutrition (STAGE) involves providing strategic and technical guidance to the Director General of the World Health Organization. This year, STAGE established a Working Group on Midwifery to develop a guidance document for countries that are actively planning to transition to a midwifery model of care. ICM 's CEO co-chairs the Midwifery Working Group and ICM midwives are also part of the membership of the sub-committees, one as cochair.
Established last year by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), ICM, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), along with other partners, including Laerdal, the Alliance for Improving Midwifery Education (AIME) is an initiative focused on improving quality sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent (SRMNCAH) services by prioritising the training, education, and professionalisation of midwives.
This year, the first regional workshop was held in Nairobi, Kenya and brought together 75 people from 23 countries, including African partners and Steering Group members (ICM, WHO, UNFPA), to deliver on the framework of action. Through the creation of AIME, we can facilitate greater dissemination and implementation of ICM's standards and competencies into pre-service and inservice midwifery education globally.
2022 was an exciting year for the new cohort of Young Midwife Leaders (YMLs). It was also the first full year of the Executive Midwife Leaders (EMLs) programme, which focuses on pairing one elected, more senior leader from a member association with a YML based in the same country. The YMLs and EMLs work together on a joint project, complete trainings both in-person and through e-learning platforms, and engage in mentorship and support with each other, building and strengthening the member association. There are currently 15 YMLs and 5 EMLs involved. Ten of them are paired together as a YML/EML partnership and ten are not.
Alongside the 77th United Nations General Assembly, we brought together a room of iconic gender equality activists to formally launch the PUSH Campaign – a decade-long, global campaign that centres midwives to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, advance reproductive justice, and shift underlying gender norms that undervalue women’s rights, lives, and work.
PUSH has developed five policy asks:
In 2022, PUSH hired two regional coordinators and launched regional work across South Asia and East Africa. In July, two regional digital forums were held with over 80 people in attendance. For more in-depth information on progress made this year, please see the PUSH Campaign section in the full annual report.
ICM serves as a convenor, connector, and catalyst, both within the midwifery sector and outside – representing the interests of member associations and midwives across new sectors, allies outside of the midwifery space, decision-makers, and non-traditional partners, and expanding the recognition and support midwives receive. This year, ICM worked in partnership with WHO, UNFPA, Laerdal Global Health, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (PMNCH), Direct Relief, and White Ribbon Alliance. In addition, we have been working closely with government organisations, such as Sida, and other non-governmental organisations, such as The Maternity Foundation, Rotary International, and Latter-day Saint Charities. ICM is also a member of FP2030, where we elevate the voices of midwives and the women they serve to advance access to family planning.
International Confederation of Midwives
La Confédération internationale des sages-femmes
Confederación Interacional de Matronas
The Hague 2514 AE
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