A month ago, 28th of May, the European YWCA Board had a Zoom call with member associations: participants came from Greece, Malta and Italy.

We talked about how Covid-19 had affected us and our organizations, and we shared the diverse responses we had encountered in different countries. We noticed how the pandemic had brought to surface e.g. Cyber bullying in Switzerland, and women’s rights and violence against women all over the Europe.

YWCA´s around Europe had been forced to change and develop new ways of working. Business models had to be diversified. Difficulties were faced when trying to keep up with finances, funding’s and income in general that lead to great deal of anxiety and stress.

At the same time, new ideas and ways emerged. Cooperation increased with other social welfare organizations locally and resources were shared. Focus was set with resources available, accepting the limits of possibilities for today and tomorrow. Tangible actions and small and practical actions took place and lead the way forward.

COVID19 is teaching us to take small steps to continue and develop to serve our purpose and survive

These new ways of responding are likely to lead to new ways of thinking about strategic planning and leadership – a different leadership approach may emerge. Smaller and shorter term action plans are grounded in the new reality where strategy and leadership cannot be disconnected from the reality of pain and suffering.

Possibility of European YWCA´s coming together, networking and exchanging ideas was very much welcomed. We noticed our similar experiences, realities and challenges.

We acknowledged  that we are not alone. We empowered one another. We shared and cared for one another.