We were all welcomed to our meeting on 10th March on Zoom by our President, Sarah Pennington. It was lovely to meet up again and we agreed that for many of us zoom has become a lifeline.
Sarah then introduced our speaker for the evening, Maureen Levenson, who had at one time been Chairman of the Hampshire Federation. Maureen proved a quite inspirational speaker as she described the work of the charity “The Associated Country Women of the World” generally known as “A.C.W.W.” This charity is supported by nine million members and is under the auspices of the United Nations. It was started at the beginning of the twentieth century to support women living in impoverished rural areas throughout the world. Most of the money donated goes to small projects specifically aimed at helping women but from which the whole community often benefits. Administrative costs are kept to a minimum as members pay their own expenses when attending conferences worldwide, the permanent staff is limited to six and projects undertaken are monitored locally.
These projects often involve providing public toilets for women, improving water supplies or giving medical support.. One project in particular caught our attention. A group of women were given money to buy seeds and when the crop was harvested they kept a quarter of the seeds to sow the following year, ate a quarter, sold a quarter and gave a quarter to the women in a neighbouring village. The neighbouring village also divided their crop in the same way the following year and so on until a whole area benefitted.
We were all interested in the work of the charity and asked many questions. Finally Sarah thanked Maureen for her excellent talk and we all hoped she would be able to come and speak to us again in the Hall.
In addition to the usual business it was agreed that we would hold another Coffee Morning on zoom the following Wednesday. Before the meeting closed, Louise showed us a photograph of a cake she had made for Annemarie’s 90th birthday, all iced in blue and yellow, the colours of the Swedish flag. Annemarie had had a lovely day with lots of flowers and cards, many from W.I. members.