The SWP ambassadors had two working sessions at SWP President Siew Yong’s office. Firstly, Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam gave a clear, enlightening and informative presentation on the SI-U.N. Connection. When we only look at club or region level, Soroptimists may not be aware of the powerful standing Soroptimist International has at the United Nations and the potential to make a difference.
SI has General Consultative Status with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which provides us with the opportunity to make statements and to discuss global issues. We can request agenda items, submit written statements for circulation to all members of the council, make oral statements at meetings, and contribute to other U.N. gatherings and seminars. Soroptimist representatives are volunteers and work in one of the four U.N. centres in New York City, Paris, Vienna or Geneva. There, Soroptimist representatives can advocate for the Soroptimist mission of improving the lives of women and girls.
Dato’ Anusha giving her presentation
Next was a session on membership, by Beh Suat Pheng. Prior to the membership session, Suat Pheng had sent all ambassadors a questionnaire and she had collated the results. The top three reasons that most ambassadors had joined was firstly, the wish to do community service, secondly, sisterhood and friendship and thirdly, the wish to help women and children. The top three reasons why we stayed as Soroptimists were firstly, we love what we do, secondly, the potential to make a difference and thirdly, personal satisfaction. There were several ideas on how to increase membership and retain them. These included having good sustainable projects and publicising them, and creating awareness programmes. We should also promote and emphasise SI’s internationality and association with the U.N.. We should also learn to talk about SI to everyone, and promote SI in schools and colleges. We should conduct regular recruitment exercises; membership drives must be fun and informative and we should encourage members to get new members. In addition, we should print business cards for awareness and branding.
Beh Suat Pheng
These two sessions with these experienced and knowledgeable SI ladies were invaluable and enriching.
The last group photo before we dispersed to our different countries.