Point of View (POV) Breakfasts

The Family of Woman Film Festival presented its inaugural Point of View (POV) Breakfast sessions in 2015.  This feature was created to give donors of $500 and above an opportunity to engage in informal conversations with unique leaders, who are making a difference in the lives of women and girls around the world.




The breakfast discussion will be presented by Bouwe-Jan Smeding, Senior Program Advisor in the UNFPA Humanitarian office. A native of the Netherlands, he has extensive experience in international cooperation.

Whenever and wherever disaster strikes around the world—whether natural or man-made, women and girls are the most effected. The threat of gender-based violence is constant, but there are other critical needs for women and girls, that are often overlooked in relief efforts: pregnancy, childbirth, and care for newborns and nursing mothers and basic
sanitary health.

UNFPA, the United Nations agency for reproductive health and rights, takes the lead in responding to these special needs. UNFPA is helping refugees from Syria and Rohinga refugees from Myanmar, as well as countless others from natural disasters. With his POV talk, Smeding will bring his on-the-ground perspective to the internal crisis in Yemen, where the lives of 2 million pregnant women and new mothers are threatened by famine.

Mr. Smeding has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in health sciences. Before joining UNFPA, he served as First Secretary of Health at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ethiopia for three years. In this previous post and with UNFPA, he has also served in Yemen for a total of six years, where he supported Yemeni health workers providing antenatal and postnatal care. He spent half his time in the field supervising staff in outreach clinics. He was forced to leave the country as a result of a security threat.

  “I keep hoping that one day I can enter the country where part of my heart remains and that I will be re-united with the people that call me brother.”

-Bouwe-Jan Smeding

Suzanne Bowles
Suzanne Bowles
Naima Dido
Naima Dido




The POV breakfast series talks and presentations will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 27, and Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Knob Hill Inn for donors $500 and above. The second speaker will be announced , and exact dates set.

Tostan, which means “breakthrough” in the Wolof language, has become a leading model for community-led change, implemented in 22 languages across six African countries: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. More than two million lives have been impacted since its founding in 1991. Participants share their knowledge of human rights and responsibilities to interconnected groups and social networks. Through this method, communities in the Tostan network have chosen to abandon female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices. More than half of the participants are women. Bowles POV presentation will focus on Tostan’s role ending FGM.

Bowles has a degree in Politics and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College, and is a graduate of the Tools for Change/Building Sustainable Local Economies at the E.F. Schumacher Society. She has presented at many international gatherings, such as the 2018 Girls Not Brides Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the 2017 Skoll Forum Ecosystem event on community driven development, and as a featured speaker at the 2012 Economic Democracy Conference in Madison Wisconsin on practicing models for alternative economic development.

Bowles will be joined by Naima Dido. Dido was born in Nairobi, Kenya, shortly after her parents fled there from Ethiopia as political refugees. A survivor of FGM herself, she has more than 20 years experience working with underprivileged refugee communities in the U.S. and Africa, and holds a BS in International Business. tostan.org