By Tonya Kubo
California Breastfeeding Coalition
Each quarter, leaders and members from local and cultural coalitions gather from throughout the state to discuss initiatives and celebrate successes.
The fourth-quarter meeting took place last week on Zoom and the primary topic of discussion was capacity building.
One key aspect of the CBC’s strategic plan is for all local and cultural coalitions to be active, thriving, well-funded, and sustainable, with coalition members who are culturally representative of the communities you serve.
“We want to develop resources and create opportunities for coalitions to collaborate and expand on the amazing work they are doing throughout the state,” said Executive Director Jasmine Pettis Marquez.
To accomplish that goal, Marquez facilitated a discussion among attendees on what being active and thriving would mean for their organizations. A couple of thoughts that came up repeatedly included:
- Internal and external communication — Making sure that coalition members are all on the same page in terms of priorities and initiatives, and that external audiences know about their local coalition and the resources or services it can provide to the community.
- Collaborative participation — Whether an organization is large or small doesn’t matter nearly as much as having a core group of participants who have a sense of ownership over the organization’s goals and actively partner to achieve the goals so the work doesn’t fall to a single individual.
Aside from funding, the top challenge expressed was that of competing priorities. There is no shortage of work that coalitions could be doing, but to do anything well, prioritization is required. Further, most coalition members lead full lives between work, family and personal obligations. Most coalition members are passionate about supporting lactation and human milk feeding in their communities but aren’t always able to be consistently involved.
“This is important information to hear,” Marquez said. “As a statewide coalition, we make the biggest impact through the work of local and cultural coalitions with direct access to the communities they serve. As the CBC plans for 2024, building up capacity among coalitions throughout the state will be a top priority.”
The Quarterly Coalitions Meetings take place the first Friday in the following months:
All coalition leaders and members are welcome to attend. Click here to register for the 2024 meetings.