Before our study tour kicks off in Copenhagen, Denmark, we wanted to say a few words about why we’re going to Women Deliver, why these tours matter, and our plans for the future.
This study tour is a bit different from our usual ones – we typically bring congressional staffers, or delegates, to the “field” to visit clinics and meet with local government officials. However, this time, we are attending the Women Deliver 2016 conference. Women Deliver is the world’s largest global convening that focuses on the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. The conference brings together thousands of policymakers, donors, activists, and more, to review progress, discuss challenges, and push for new and ambitious commitments toward improving the lives of girls and women. The conference offers our delegates a unique opportunity to learn the latest happenings in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and engage with thought leaders from the highest levels to the grassroots.
Our study tour not only aims to provide a comprehensive RMNCAH education but will enhance the delegates’ storytelling skills. They will leave Copenhagen with the ability to tell stories about the impact of reducing maternal mortality on women, families, communities, and local economies. They will return to Washington better equipped to tell the stories of women and girls around the world to target audiences.
The delegates have a packed schedule each day. Their tour starts out with three, in-depth RMNCAH briefings to prep them for the conference discussions, meetings, and dinners they will attend throughout the week. They will meet with government, NGO, and private sector leaders from all over the world; project implementers from the field; and US and international journalists and communications staff. Each day, the staffers will partake in discussions on topics such as the role of faith communities, how youth are leading in RMNCAH, and effective communication strategies.
Learning tours like this one are key for global health advocacy: they educate and engage Congress on global health issues and provide staffers with the opportunity to connect with thought leaders and tell the story of international development successes.