2017 has been a special year for the MSIF movement.
In September, delegates from our member organisations across the world gathered in London to mark the 50th anniversary of MSIF. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to reflect on the progress that has been made over the past 50 years in bringing us closer to ending MS and improving the quality of life of people affected by MS. The meetings also enabled us to share learnings, experiences, and ideas and hopes for the future in a diverse range of hands-on workshops and engaging presentations.
2017 also saw the launch of MSIF’s new five-year strategy, unifying the whole MSIF movement behind one core principle: together, we’re stronger than MS. Guided by the five interconnected aims within the strategy, we’ve begun to expand existing international collaborations and develop exciting new global initiatives that can bring us closer to achieving MSIF’s ultimate vision: a world without MS.
World MS Day
This year’s World MS Day saw record levels of participation, with almost 200 organisations taking part in more than 600 events across 96 countries. Participation took many forms, including conferences, solidarity walks, flash mobs, concerts, and even progress towards advocacy goals. World MS Day is also bringing us closer to achieving one of the MSIF movement’s new strategic aims of creating a stronger, broader MSIF movement; this year, twelve organisations that are new to the MSIF movement marked the day, and there were events in seven countries that have not previously taken part.
Throughout 2017 as a whole, the MSIF movement has seen some fantastic achievements. The Israel MS Society shared a song and music video, “I am perfect just the way I am”, with the whole MSIF movement, for use as a fundraising and awareness-raising tool and to empower people affected by MS. The MENA region saw the launch of two new country-focussed programmes in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, whilst visits from the capacity-building team to members in Brazil and Uruguay strengthened relationships and forged ties between the organisations and new members of MSIF staff. MS Research Australia, meanwhile, became the first non-profit organisation to win a prestigious national award: the Telstra NSW Business of the Year. The German MS Society (DMSG) and Portuguese MS Society (SPEM) launched new support services to reach more people affected by MS than ever before, whilst MS Ireland published a landmark survey into the needs of people with MS, providing a valuable advocacy tool.
These are just a few examples of the incredible progress happening every day across the whole MSIF movement. We’ve come together to celebrate our successes this year and look forward to sharing more of your achievements in 2018!