Together we CAN DO IT!

The European YWCAs Representatives Meeting (ERM) and Young Women’s Summit took place 1-4 November 2012, hosted by the YWCA of Czech Republic in Celakovice. Below two participants share their impressions:

By Olga Mineeva, International Coordinator from the YWCA of Belarus

Olga Mineeva

This was the first ERM I have ever attended in my life.  It was an awesome event welcoming the YWCA women from all over Europe and a special guest Jacque Koroi from the YWCA of Fiji. The ERM provided a unique possibility to see how big and forwarding we are as a regional body. There were many different workshops to participate in on such important issues as women’s leadership or violence against women, strategic planning or fundraising, you could drop into a specialised session of your particular interest to find the answers, debate and take part in decision making. The ERM has contributed to strengthening and empowering our ideas, efforts and strategies. My philosophy is “Together we CAN DO IT! So, LET’S DO IT!”

ERM 2012, November 1-4

By Zhenni Matshkalyan, from the YWCA of Armenia

I am a young delegate from Armenia.  For me it was my first ERM participation. During the Young Women’s Summit and ERM there were many interesting discussions, topics and also some different ideas being debated. This kind of meeting teaches me and exposes me to different ways of thinking. Different angles and answers appeared during discussions.

During this meeting I met many intelligent, interesting, and experienced women from different countries. 0n 31stof October we had a welcome dinner and engaged in fun activities as a way of getting to know each other better and for creating a warm atmosphere between the young women.

Zhenni Matshkalyan

The main activities of European Young Women’s Summit were on the 1st of November. During the summit we spoke about transformative leadership, about participants’ dreams and aspirations for future including personal dreams within the YWCA. There were many discussions about young women’s leadership and also we did group work to identify priorities for young women’s leadership in European YWCAs. As part of the preparation for the ERM an outcome document was drafted by 25 young women from 14 member associations, during the Young Women’s Summit. The next day the document was presented to the participants of ERM.

The second day consisted of concluding the young women’s summit and starting the ERM. There was a group discussion about leadership and partnership exchange among YWCAs. Some participants of the Summit shared their leadership experiences and shared how they become leaders. During a group discussion we also talked about “shared leadership”. The day was filled with different activities: panel discussion for women and young women, young people in Europe, speeches and discussion about World YWCA opportunities for engagement. Then in the evening we enjoyed the welcome event of YWCA of Czech Republic.

On the 3rd of November, the ERM Business Meeting was officially opened. During the session “Programme and Partnership exchange”, I participated in group work about young women’s leadership. Firstly we have discussed what shared leadership is, than there were presentations about YWCA Young Women programmes and we had an interesting discussion.

Armenian delegates were observers which meant that we were more watching and listening than participating in the actual business meeting and voting process. For me it was interesting to see how the voting process is done. European YWCAs voted for some amendments to the European constitution, also four new committee members and President were elected. There were many discussions during the voting process and in my opinion there were also some omissions and difficulties during the voting process.  However we had a good, interesting voting session. In the closing the new President formally invited delegates to ERM 2014 which will take place in Germany. The ERM formally was closed.

That evening we had a cultural night, which was a fun way to end the week.

Overall, the Young Women’s Summit and the ERM was a very interesting training with lots of information and it was great to meet other European YWCA’s.