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October 2010: Regional Meeting in Region 4 report by FAWCO Rep

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October 29-31,2010

Regional Meeting held for Region 4 hosted by AWC The Hague, in The Hague, Netherlands

Report submitted by AWC The Hague FAWCO Rep: Sara Crabtree

This year’s FAWCO Region 4 Meeting was hosted by AWC The Hague in their lovely old clubhouse in Scheveningen (the seaside suburb of The Hague). Twenty-five women attended the conference on October 29-31, travelling from within the region and beyond – including representatives from clubs as far away as Lagos, Nigeria.

 

Participants were welcomed on Friday evening, and enjoyed a delicious rijsttafel dinner together. Peter Regnault explained that this traditional buffet of Indonesian dishes was “invented” by Dutch colonists in Indonesia to showcase the colony’s varied and tasty fare.

 

On Saturday morning we got down to business, with Janelle Mason, FAWCO 2nd VP, providing an informative overview of FAWCO’s activities and the resources available to clubs. Melissa Mash, FAWCO Foundation President, described the foundation’s programs, including the Development Grant Program and Education Awards. She discussed plans for the FAWCO Foundation Night at the upcoming annual conference in Marrakesh. Have you bought your lottery ticket for the Cruise Lottery yet? You have a 1 in 250 chance of winning (if you buy a ticket, of course)! Anne van Oorschot gave a great summary of the three finalist projects nominated for the Water Target Program funding – complete with nice photos which made the projects come alive. In keeping with our focus on clean water, guest speaker Christine van Wijk-Sijbesma from the IRC provided an enlightening view of the sometimes complex relationships between water, sanitation and gender issues.

 

On Saturday afternoon Leslie Collingridge informed us about the global campaign to reach out to and empower Overseas Americans who are experiencing domestic violence. Eric Way with the American Club of Lyon gave an inspiring talk based on Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” – he encouraged us to pursue BHAG’s – “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” to turn our clubs’ visions into reality. We split into two groups for intimate workshops on “Finding Your Passion” and “Sharing Cultures through Food”.

 

The highlight of the weekend was the announcement of the “winning” Target Water Project. After much suspense, FAWCO president Kathleen Simon and Melissa Mash revealed the winner: Wells for Clean Water: Cambodia. FAWCO clubs will conduct multi-year fundraising to help the Tabitha Foundation of Cambodia drill wells to provide clean drinking water to rural communities whose wells were destroyed during the Pol-Pot regime. After the announcement, everyone started sharing ideas for getting their clubs involved in fundraising for this important cause.

 

On Saturday evening we walked to a local restaurant for a wonderful Moroccan dinner – just what we needed to get into the spirit of the upcoming annual conference in Marrakesh. The walk through the cold misty Dutch rain afterward convinced us all that Marrakesh in March is a great idea!

 

Sunday morning kicked off with an engaging workshop by two plugged-in women who taught us new ways to use simple web tools to promote our clubs, expand our online presence, and communicate with prospective and existing club members. The conference wrapped up with an enticing video of Marrakesh and details about the plans for the annual conference in March. Online registration is now available on the FAWCO website!

 

Our appreciation goes out to Elizabeth Kennedy and Rachel McNally who conceived and delivered this highly professional and successful conference while they were both “under the influence” of early motherhood. Baby Thomas Kennedy was much appreciated as a special guest throughout the weekend. The Region 4 meeting provided a wonderful atmosphere for learning, sharing, and strengthening relationships between new and old FAWCO friends.

 

 

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