On 4 March 2020, the Social Strategy Support Programme (Pass) held the second International Women’s Mutualist Day in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) with the theme ‘Women in decision-making positions in mutuals, an asset for the development of African mutuality’. It was an opportunity for the organisation and participants to assess the recommendations of the first edition and to present the digital tools developed to enable these engaged women to meet around common issues by breaking down geographical barriers.
Participants at the International Women’s Mutualist Day, March 4, 2020, Abidjan
The main objective of this day was to reinforce the advocacy started last year on strengthening the position of women in the decision-making bodies of mutuals, based on the following objectives:
- Building a network of elected and employed female mutualist leaders to exchange and share information and best practices;
- Creation of a database containing useful tools for the involvement of women in the governance of mutuals;
- Regular dissemination of information to maintain a contact and constant mobilisation
From Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, France, Germany or even Belgium, Togo, Guinea Conakry, Niger and the Ivory Coast (host country), more than 120 women mutualists came together to honour the female leaders of mutuals.
After visiting on 3 March, several Ivorian mutualist and para-mutualist structures (AIMRS, MAGDI and the medical service of MUGEF-CI), the delegations participated in a day organised around several highlights.
Presentations and workshops on the theme ‘Presence of women in decision-making positions in mutuals, an asset for the development of African mutuality’
After speeches from Sibylle Reichert (Director-General of the International Mutual Association), Clarisse Mahi (Secretary-General of African Mutual Association) and Dr Solange Amethier (representative of the Ministry of Women, Family and Children’s Affairs) commending the importance of this meeting, two studies on the representation of women in the decision-making bodies of mutuals were presented in order to emphasise the theme of the day.
The first one by Florence Condamin and Fatoumata Diallo from the NGO Essentiel, was a diagnosis of women’s participation in the decision-making bodies of mutuals in Guinea. The second, looked at the Ivory Coast case and was presented by Aïchatou Ouattara from the PASS.
Brigitte Tury, Vice-President of MGEFI (France), Arame Coumba Fall, member of the board of directors and communication officer at MSAE (Senegal) and Hélène Dollo, President of the board of directors of AMAT-CI (Ivory Coast) spoke on the day’s topic. Each of them presented their backgrounds, their organisations and shared the reasons for their engagement. They also highlighted the challenges that they’ve had to overcome as women in their respective organisations and raised awareness on the need for women to take over mutualist leadership.
.RIFES presentation and brainstorming workshops
The participants were invited to identify together the guidelines required to promote the involvement of more women in the governance of solidarity-based health systems. Thus, after agreeing on the need to build a network, they were able to:
- Provide content to be shared on the tools developed for the women’s network;
- Define the specific training needs of female mutualist leaders;
- Identify national advocacy strategies for the promotion of women in decision-making positions in mutuals.
In order to support its resolutions, the PASS was able to develop digital platforms to maintain the link and share quickly and easily on the work in progress:
- The website: interactive, it allows mutualists to access information resources, share information, activities and concerns through a direct chat, a forum and a resource centre. It also helps them find the network’s past and future activities and is accessible at www.rifes.net.
- Mobile app: named RIFES and dedicated to real-time discussions between mutualists, this app is available on various app stores for Android and iPhone smartphones.