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Report from the Board: Update from the LLLI Board of Directors

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 39 No. 2, April-May 2003, pp. 26, 47.

Following every meeting of the LLLI Board of Directors, a report of the actions taken is distributed. The complete report is available on the LLLI Web site at www.lalecheleague.org/BOD/BOD.html/

Renewal Initiative

Over the last year, Board members have been hearing many different views about the Renewal Initiative. We are aware of unease among a number of Leaders, as well as conflicts between some Leaders that have emerged in discussions about the renewal. We’re also aware that other Leaders are excited about the ideas proposed as part of the initiative. We believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from the renewal so far; at the same time we are concerned about energy being diverted from our primary focus of helping mothers breastfeed their babies. In discussions about the renewal, we hope that all Leaders will join us to focus on the heart of La Leche League—our shared commitment to LLLI philosophy and the richness that it brings to us as individuals and as an organization.

At the meeting, the Board took the following actions to study the purpose statement further, to adopt the principles for our own use on the Board, and to explore a voluntary learning framework for experimentation without risk to the larger organization. More information will be included in an upcoming renewal update.

Good board practices mean reexamining organizational purpose from time to time. The LLLI Board of Directors postpones for a year any vote on an organizational purpose statement. During this year, the LLLI Board will hold the current LLLI purpose (as stated in the Bylaws) and the draft purpose statement (developed by the Drafting Team) side by side in its work.

Before we make any decisions about the purpose statement, we want to assess more fully how the proposed purpose would impact LLLI work. We plan to try it out alongside the current purpose statement, looking at each and using both for a year. During this time, we welcome comments from Leaders about purpose statements, especially as they could affect day-to-day LLL work.

To guide its activities for the coming year, the LLLI Board of Directors is committed to working with the set of organizational principles (produced by the Drafting Team) within the context of LLLI philosophy, Bylaws, and policies. The Board acknowledges that some wordings may need to be revised before the set of principles can be considered for adoption as policy.

Applying the draft set of principles to our work will help us to understand their implications more fully and to see how well they fit LLL. We hope Leaders will communicate with us and share their experiences, both positive and negative, about their work with the principles.

LLLI Board of Directors intends to establish a temporary voluntary learning framework within which Leaders can engage in activities in accord with LLLI philosophy, purpose, and draft set of organizational principles. This framework for creative activities will include communication, accountability, and respect for existing policies.

The Board’s intent is to provide an "area" in which Leaders are encouraged to undertake activities—new activities and activities done in innovative ways—based on LLLI philosophy, purpose, and draft organizational principles, to pursue purpose without putting the organization at risk. Our aim is to foster learning among Leaders, administrators, and others to discover advantages and disadvantages of working in this way. Therefore, Leaders who participate in the temporary voluntary learning framework are expected to communicate and connect with one another, including the LLLI Board of Directors. The Board will form a task force to design basic elements of the framework.

Finance Committee, Budget Subcommittee

The LLLI Board of Directors approves the proposed balanced budget for fiscal year 2003-04 that reflects the prioritized activities established in the budget planning process.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the effective management of resources to allow the organization to fulfill its purpose. LLLI finances continue to be very tight, and we commend the diligent work of staff in developing a prioritized, balanced budget. We invite all in the LLLI community to join with us in working to strengthen the financial health of LLLI.

Planning

The LLLI Board of Directors is responsible for the global organization. In planning for the future, the Board intends to study the more effective distribution of resources and responsibilities for programs and services. The outcome of this study will begin to be reflected in the LLLI budget for the 2004-2005 fiscal year. We encourage all LLL Leaders and entities, including those in the United States, to take increasing responsibility for their programs and services.

Some of the activities reflected in the LLLI budget are global in nature. Some are more specific to La Leche League in the USA. This action encourages a better understanding of the distinction between them.

LLLI Helps the World’s Children

Leader Gisèle Laviolle represented LLLI at a technical consultation on the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, February 10-12, 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Every year, the health ministers (or their representatives) of every member state of the World Health Organization (WHO) meet together in Geneva. Together, they form the World Health Assembly, with power to make recommendations affecting the health of everyone in the world. Every member state is expected to put these recommendations into practice, as law, in their country.

The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) was developed after a two year participatory process involving the governments of all WHO member states, international and intergovernmental agencies, health professionals, and nongovernmental organizations. LLL had input into the drafting process. In May 2002, the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the Global Strategy as Resolution WHA55.25. The Strategy addresses the promotion of appropriate feeding for infants and young children, particularly exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and sustained breastfeeding with appropriate complementary food for 2 years and beyond, amongst many other issues. Currently, complementary feeding is a very important topic, as the transition from exclusive breastfeeding to sustained breastfeeding with adequate complementary food is very poorly practiced in many parts of the world, reports Gisèle.

Gisèle gave a short presentation of LLL’s ongoing grass-roots work to the 51 participants from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. She distributed a two-page summary of LLLI’s contributions to the aims of the Global Strategy and information about LLLI including the ten concepts of our philosophy. Since we have valuable expertise in helping mother-to-mother with the start of appropriate local foods and continuing breastfeeding for two years or longer as the World Health Organization recommends, LLL can give vital input to the implementation of the Global Strategy worldwide.

Helping Mothers and Babies Have More Time Together

Employed mothers gained the right to longer maternity leave and paid nursing breaks, according to the International Labour Organization convention passed in the year 2000. These recommendations will help mothers and babies to have longer together, to enjoy each others’ company more often if the mother is employed, and facilitate breastfeeding. A training course is being developed by the interagency Maternity Protection Coalition. Leaders who are interested in this work can find more information on the LLLI Web site on the advocacy pages. If you would like to get involved, please use the Cooperative Action Guidelines, Appendix 10 of the Policies and Standing Rules.

Election of Officers

The Board elected the following slate of officers for the 2003-2004 year:

Lynne Coates, Chairman
Marcia Lutostanski, 1st Vice Chairman
Heidi BK Sloss, 2nd Vice Chairman
Trudy Hartt, Secretary
Sharon Matuszek, Treasurer
Susan Deo, Member-At-Large to the
Executive Committee
Nominating Committee
The following members were elected to the Board Nominating Committee for the year 2003-2004:
Nan Jolly, Chairman
Donna Cookson-Martin
Susan Deo
Rachel O’Leary
Sharon Vines

The LLLI Board welcomes your comments and questions. Please write to LLLIBOD at llli.org (email), or Trudy Hartt, Board Secretary, 302 Acadia Drive, Beaconsfield, Quebec CANADA H9W 2K2.

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