Twinning Project is a unique collaboration between the Tanzania Association of Midwives (TAMA) and Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM).The objectives of this Project include strengthening Tanzanian and Canadian midwifery associations through capacity building and knowledge exchange; collaboration on midwifery research and education; and establishment of peer-to-peer mentorship involving twenty-five midwife pairs and fourteen student-midwife pairs.
Through the UMOJA Twinning Project, both the CAM and TAMA have seen remarkable results in terms of increased visibility, as well as capacity to both serve members, and to advocate for the needs of women and newborns.
The relationship has provided opportunities for international knowledge sharing, collaborative research, and continuing education; strengthened health profession leadership, and promotion of best practice supporting higher quality midwifery services in Tanzania and Canada.
As a direct result of our collaboration.
• TAMA has reported increased visibility and recognition as the face of midwifery in the country
• As well as strengthened linkages with Government, NGOs, and other primary health care providers.
• Indeed, the collaborative efforts have piqued the interest of several international funders and development organizations who are now actively seeking TAMA’s expertise as leaders in the provision of quality MNCH care.
In October, 2013 with the generous support of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, CAM and TAMA embarked on the three-year, “Improved Service Delivery for Safe Motherhood” project within the framework of our established Twinning. Highlighting the development of a harmonized version of Canadian and Tanzanian Emergency Skills programs, the new in-service training program will be co-delivered by Tanzanian-Canadian midwife pairs across six districts of Tanzania.
It is envisaged that as a result of these collaborative efforts TAMA and its member midwives will be better equipped to negotiate with government policy makers, and to advocate for strengthened comprehensive midwifery services in Tanzania, including pro-midwifery policies that will have been informed by the outcomes of UMOJA.
Further, we believe that this project will continue to foster the establishment of long-term networks and strategic partnerships; available funding sources and technical collaborations; and international knowledge exchange opportunities designed to support and strengthen midwifery in Tanzania – resulting in improved health outcomes for the country’s mothers and babies
Benefits of Twinning
Twinning creates and presents opportunities for all involved:
• Capacity building: Twinning strengthens the organizations involved through a transfer of skills, technologies and knowledge.
• Exchange of best practices: Twinning provides opportunities to identify successful policies, techniques and interventions and to promote them between the Twinning partners as well as other stakeholders.
• Effectiveness: Twinning that involves collaborating on a specific initiative results in stronger and more effective programmes.
• Relationship building: Twinning can help build stronger relationships and friendships enhancing unity among midwives and their respective associations.
Networking: Twinning contributes to greater networking i.e. both associations are exposed to each other’s existing local, regional and international networks.
• Solidarity: Twinning helps to create a feeling of belonging to a larger community. Associations involved in Twinning are often inspired by the work of their partners
Twinning presents special and unique challenges to the participants.
• Cultural differences: Mind-sets, social expectations, colonial leftovers. When they are not recognized for what they are, they can cause confusion.
• Technical divide: One twin might have access to more advanced technology than the other. When sharing documents and when setting up virtual meetings with such communication mediums as Skype and video conferencing. Most of these methods of communication require broadband Internet to function well. Unfortunately not every country has reliable broadband access, and connectivity may be low in some places. Many midwives don’t have easy access to a computer, which affects the promptness of initiating or responding to email contact
• Economic divide: Consideration needs to be given to this as the project moves forward. Midwives from one Twin association may be able to fund themselves for travel and carry out some activities while the midwives from the other Twin association
Peer to peer twinning is a powerful connection that surpasses borders and recognizes the part that each of us can play in improving MNCH outcomes globally. It also recognizes how much more we can accomplish when we work together.