The European Board organized the second ”Sharing and Caring” zoom call event on 7th July. This time participants came from various YWCAs around Europe: Sweden, Poland, Greek, England and Rhodes Island.
Participants shared about the diverse ways YWCA´s in Europe had responded to the needs of their society and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. YWCAs had worked with different groups of women and different topics – from children’s summer camps to working with older women, refugee women, single mothers and women in prison.
Participants noted how in some countries things seemed to get back to normal (easing of rules) whereas in others the pandemic was still at its peak. Different governments had chosen different treatments and rules. That meant that not all European YWCAs had been at the same stage regarding the possibilities of working, moving etc.
Continuing to offer services especially when people were not used to using online platforms was found difficult. Immediate need was noted for training and familiarization. This requires planning ”easy to follow” digital programs. Ideas shared included webinars on women’s rights, women’s health, book reading groups, empowering young women, and creating safe places for women to share and care.
Members had noticed also positive issues arising from COVID19: New working methods, technology that we used to ignore coming to our lives, and respecting of what we currently have – since things change more rapidly today.
Communication was found as the key for all – communication keeps us in touch with each other and reduces the sense of isolation.
The uncertainty of the future made members feel the need to live one day at a time. They felt worries about the uncertain ”next day”. This was seen effecting the way of leadership, too. The Malta Model of Leadership (presented at our first Share and Care -event) was found to be a very useful tool.
Zoom meetings between members at the European YWCA were also seen very useful. Participants suggested to further develop this method towards Topic Based sharing meetings. The first topic suggested was ”violence against women”, since violence has, unfortunately, increased everywhere in Europe during lock down.