Written by Jannine Ebenso, Head of Quality Assurance, The Leprosy Mission International
One week to go!
Once a year, leaders from all over The Leprosy Mission Global Fellowship meet together for our Members Meeting. The venue varies: sometimes it is in the UK, not far from our International Office in London, and at other times it is in a country where we have leprosy. In the past we have met in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Delhi, London and High Wycombe. For many years we have wanted to meet on the African continent and this is the year; we are meeting in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, from 19-23 September.
Bringing together the TLM Country Leaders (and, where they exist, Chairs) from 28 countries offers the opportunity to discuss at strategic level, debate current issues, make global level decisions and be accountable to one another. Over five days, the Global Fellowship will meet for discussion, debate and decision-making; all under the banner of our faith in Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and our call to serve people affected by leprosy.
This year’s meeting will have strategy at its heart as we meet to discuss our new global strategy 2019-2023. Since we started our current strategy in 2014, many things have changed in the leprosy world and the TLM world:
Our new strategy will take into account these changes and others and will take us forwards as we continue to aim for Leprosy Defeated, Lives Transformed. With our ambitious target of no new cases by 2035, we have renewed motivation and drive to achieve much to end the causes and consequences of leprosy.
The highlight for many of us will be the Wellesley Bailey Award Gala Night which is being held on Friday 21st September. Created in 1999 to celebrate the life and work of Mr Wellesley Bailey, founder of The Leprosy Mission, the Wellesley Bailey Awards honour those who have made extraordinary contributions to society through overcoming the social stigma and physical challenges of leprosy. This year’s winners have been chosen, but will be kept under wraps until the day itself.
Every four years we open up the doors of our Global Fellowship meetings to the wider leprosy, disability and NTD world in our Global Forum. This year’s theme is Pathways to well-being for people affected by leprosy and NTDs: critical issues and we are pleased to have expert speakers from many parts of the world to present the latest on issues related to disability and discrimination. Leprosy-related disability and discrimination continue to be present at alarming levels. We know a lot about how to tackle both, but putting it into practice is sometimes a challenge.
You can follow real time updates from the meetings in Addis by following us on Twitter @Leprosymissint or through Jannine’s own account @JannineTLM. Tweets will use the hashtag #TLMglobal
Jannine Ebenso is Head of Quality Assurance at The Leprosy Mission International. She joined the Mission in 1991, living and working as a physiotherapist in Nigeria for 16 years before returning to the UK in 2008. In addition to her Physiotherapy qualifications, Jannine holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Biblical and Cross-cultural Studies and a Master of Arts in Disability Studies. She tweets as @JannineTLM and can be contacted at email@example.com.