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84th Federation Conference Liverpool 25-27 October 2018

The 84th SIGBI Federation Conference took place in Liverpool from the 25- 27 October 2018. The Theme of the Conference was ‘Empower Today Enable Tomorrow’. The Federation President, Susan Biggs opened the Conference and received the Flags of the Countries of the Federation. The Flags were carried by members of the SI North West England, Isle of Man and South Lancashire Regions and accompanied by a member from each country. Patricia Braiden, SI Athlone accompanied the Irish Flag.
After the Role Call delegates were entertained by the ‘ Brothers of Swing’ from Lancashire.

The following two days 26/27 Oct were filled with Programme Action Projects, inspirational Speakers and the Annual General meeting
Programme project;

  • The Kori project, Si Thames Valley - reducing FGM
  • FGM, montage from Clubs – 10 clubs involved
  • STEM – SI Bournemouth
  • Water – SI Madurai – purifying water suing rice husks
  • Tomorrows Women Wirral – SI Heswall – Prison Trust
  • Tadpole swimming pool – SI East Grinstead – swimming for the disabled
  • 100 years of the vote – SI Plymouth and SI Durham
  • Meru Garden Project – Si Chester
  • Toilet Twinning –SI Bridgend

SIGBI Best Practice Awards
3 Clubs presented in each of the following 6 categories and the winners were;

  • Advocacy – Si San Fernando – Reusing plastic bags
  • Economic Empowerment – SI Manchester – Heal Malawi
  • Education – SI Cannock – Your Body Your Rules
  • Environment – Si Madurai – Water purification
  • Health and food – SI Bilston and District – Cardiac Screening for the Young
  • Violence Against Women – SI Yaounde – Child Bride

Overall winner Best Practice Award; SI San Fernando – Reusing Plastic Bags

Annual General Meeting

The AGM was chaired by president Susan Biggs,
The President outlined the benefits of having achieved Charitable Status and how this affect the structure of the new Federation Board;
The board will be skill based,
The role of the president and  the chair person will be separate ( The President changes annually).

The President outlined the 3 year Strategic Plan for moving the organisation forward. She highlighted the decline in membership. She spoke strongly about members behaviour and respect.

SIGBI Trading Company Ltd is set up and running. It has 5 directors and is a skills based board.

The Annual Accounts were presented by the Treasurer, Judith Lewis and were passed by a 98.2% vote.

Programme Resolutions (75% Vote required)
Resolution 1 & 2 were carried
Resolution 3, membership fees, Bands 1,2 and 3 - lost 58.2% vote
Resolution 4 membership fees Band 4 – lost 74.2% vote ( This resolution was subsequently carried by the Board and fees increased form £43 to £48)

Federation Projects

  • Empowering Girls in Nepal – SI Bridgend and District Partnering with Chora Chori in India
  • Heal Mayuge – SI  Manchester – Act 4 Africa – Empowering adolescent mothers  
  • Think Pink for Sri Lanka – SI Middlesbrough – Women Driving for Women
  • Women into STEM – SI Federation

Winner Federation Project 2019/ 2021, Empowering Girls in Nepal

Emily Rose Yates; Accessibility Consultant, Travel Writer and TV Presenter.
Emily brought the audience on her personal journey of an adventurous wheelchair user from cage diving with sharks to being the first disabled women to cross the Sinai Desert.

Terry Waite CBE – Former Hostage, Writer, Lecturer and Humanitarian.
While in solitary confinement as a hostage in Beirut, he mentally wrote his autobiography. After his release in 1992 he wrote his compelling memoir ‘Taken On Trust’. He works for many charities today.

Anne Marie Wilson – Phycologist,
Anne Marie first came across FGM in 2005 while working in refugee camps in Sudan. After hearing heart rending stories about a practice that affect 140 million girls and women world wide, she dedicated herself to working against FGM. In 2010 she founded ‘28 Too Many’, an anti FGM charity working across 28 countries in Africa and the UK.

International President Mariet Verhoef Cohen – President Mariet is an expert in the topic of Water and how it impacts on the lives of women. She gave and update on the presidents Appeal for 2017/2019 ‘Women, Water and Leadership’. Her goal is to raise £350,000 over 2 years.

Ellie Bird Lenawarungu – Ex Police Officer,
Ellie became involved in a national project, ‘Gender Agenda’ – a strategy to maximise the contribution of women in policing. Ellie has worked in Rwanda, Uganda , Egypt and Kenya, advising on sexual and gender based violence and the role of women in piece making.


Sally Kettle – Adventurer, Author and Speaker,
Sally was the first women to row the Atlantic Ocean twice from east to west, once with her mother. She is an ambassador for the Girl Guides. Her personal story intrigued the audience.


Dr Helen Pankhurst – Grand Daughter of Sylvia Pankhurst (Suffragettes)
Women’s rights Activist and senior advisor to CARE International ( based in the UK and Ethiopia) focusing on the international needs of women and girls. She has worked in many organisations primarily in Ethiopia. Her focus has been on Programme and Policy in Urban Rural development, water hygiene and sanitation and women’s rights.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, OBE
Sir Ranulph is the only man alive to have travelled the surface of the worlds Polar Axis, and has led 22 major expeditions to remote parts of the world. At 65, he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. He is recognised as the worlds greatest living explore. His slideshow gave us an insight into the injuries and diseases he endured and survived.

SI Convention July 2019 in Kuala Lumpur
Federation president, Anusha Santhirasthipam, SI South West Pacific issued an invitation to all members of Soroptimists and friends to attend this conference in Malaysia.

Change of Insignia and Closing Ceremony
Out going President Susan Biggs presented the chain of office to incoming President, Sue Williams. President Sue introduced her Federation Management board 2018-2019. She then installed Region, National Association and Network Presidents 2018-2019. Incoming President ROI Darina Dolan received the chain from out going President Teresa Irwin.

Federation President Sue spoke on her theme for the year, ‘Think On It’.
SIGBI 85th Federation Conference will take place in Bournemouth, 24t -26th  October 2019.

The conference closed with entertainment from the group ‘Slidin’About’, a quartet of talented trombone players.


Margaret Geraghty – FCC ROI