New Summit Dates Announced

June 8, 2020

Dear Summit Community, 

We hope this finds you safe and well wherever you may be in these uncertain and unprecedented times. 

I'm sure like those of us on the Secretariat, you are all closely following the COVID-19 pandemic both locally and globally. I imagine as well, many of you are directly involved in the emergency response in your respective countries. And of course, all while coping with the many challenges of living through a pandemic: ensuring you, your families and staff are safe, your organizations are economically secure and your communities are standing together. 

As we consider where we are now with COVID-19, the Secretariat has come to the difficult conclusion that we should further postpone the International SBCC Summit event from the current dates of October 19-23, 2020. In reaching this decision we have considered many factors, including:

  • WHO Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Recommendations which consider factors such as host Government policy; crowd density; nature of contact; age of participants; and, event duration, among others
  • How other event organizers are shifting, with many postponing until the 3rd quarter of 2021 (International Social Marketing Conference, International Conference on Family Planning, etc.) 
  • Required travel (90+ countries at different points in pandemic) 
  • Logistical and financial commitment issues 
  • The potential for vaccine development and availability 
  • The advantages and challenges with moving to a virtual event 


Taking the above into account and our commitment to hosting a safe event for participants, the Secretariat is planning to move forward with a face to face event in Marrakech, but shifting it to September 20-24, 2021.We believe by this time, travel will be feasible and that the value of the in-person connections for the community outweighs the value of holding a virtual event earlier. 

Clearly, we have additional planning and coordination needs ahead as we think about the program content in the context of COVID-19 and the delay of the original event by over a year. But given the current situation and timeline, we wanted to communicate our current plans to you as soon as possible. 

Moving the event to next year poses a number of challenges, not the least of which is the logistical and financial reality of the venue booked, registration fees paid, and sponsorship packages in place. We have considered a variety of options on how to handle the registration fees, as we know this is top of mind for many people and are happy to share with you the available options: 

  • Roll Over Your Current Registration Fee to 2021: We hope many, if not all, of you will still be able to join us in Marrakech in 2021. In this event, we simply ask you to keep your registration fee with us which we will apply to your participation in 2021. The registration fee will remain the same for anyone who chooses this option. 
  • Designate a Substitute: If you are personally unable to attend, you can designate a substitute to attend using your existing registration fee. The registration fee will remain the same for this option as well. 
  • Request a Refund: If, for personal or institutional reasons, you are not able to roll over your registration for yourself or someone else, we will provide a refund less a 15% processing payment. We regret that we cannot provide a 100% refund. The processing fee is covering unrecoupable costs for the planned event in 2020, including upfront expenses and processing fees. 
  • Contribute your Registration Fee to Support the Youth Scholarship Fund: As you know, we are eager to ensure our younger colleagues have the opportunity to join us at the Summit. We would be very grateful if you are able to contribute your registration fees so that we can help support more of the next generation of SBCC professionals to join us in Morocco. 


Additional details on these options will be posted to the Summit website by June 15, 2020. We appreciate your continued support and enthusiasm for the SBCC Summit and hope we can count on your continued interest as we navigate these challenging times. We are looking forward to continuing to engage with you through on-line opportunities in the coming year leading up to the Summit (more details to follow). 

As always, we are grateful to be part of this incredible community that is playing such a critical role in the COVID-19 response, as well as to the SBCC field in general. 

Stay well. 


March 12, 2020

Let us begin by thanking you again for your understanding regarding the postponement of the 2020 International SBCC Summit in Marrakech, Morocco. We are so grateful to you all for your overwhelmingly positive support of this decision.

Since our announcement last week, we've been working diligently with our contacts in Marrakech to shift our venue booking and hotel reservations to an alternative date. Based on the availability of the Palais des Congrès venue, we have been able to lock in October 19-23, 2020 as the new dates for the Summit. The Mövenpick, along with the other hotels, have been very helpful in accommodating this shift and we are appreciative of their ability to prioritize our event in October.

Below is some additional logistical information to ensure your planning for the new dates proceeds smoothly: 

Hotels

  • If you booked your hotel through the Summit website, your reservation will be automatically transferred over to the new dates. You or whoever in your organization made the payment should receive confirmation of this change by email by March 25. If you do not receive a confirmation by then, please let us know by contacting info@sbccsummit.org and we will follow up.
  • If you made the booking outside of the Summit website, you will need to rebook the reservation yourself. We trust the Summit's postponement notification will help to justify the shift should it be needed.


Registration

  • Your existing registration will be automatically transferred to the new dates. In the event you cannot attend on these new dates, we are unable to provide a refund, but invite you to transfer your registration to a colleague. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions on the Summit website on how to do this. 


Travel 

  • We are hopeful that you will be able to easily shift your airline reservations to the new dates. It is important to rebook your initial plane tickets prior to your intended date of departure. Please connect with your travel agent as soon as you can. In doing some quick checking on the new dates, it appears some flights are coming in at lower prices. 
  • Again, we encourage you to consider travel insurance as you make new reservations based on your situation and the available options. 
  • We do understand that there may be some expenses incurred that are non-refundable, such as visas. We sincerely regret this inconvenience. 


General

  • We will continue to be in touch as the Secretariat, International Steering Committee, our subcommittees and the National Subcommittee in Morocco work to shift toward the October date. We are working on a process to confirm with registered participants and presenters their intention and availability to attend.
  • Many of the questions we've received have been posted in the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Summit website. Please check that page first; if your question remains unanswered, the info@sbccsummit.org email is available for further questions.


We recognize that in the context of the uncharted territory of COVID-19 there is still a possibility that the dates would need to shift again. At this point, though, we believe we are all best served by planning for these new dates. We will, along with the rest of you, be monitoring the situation closely and will continue to consult with the Moroccan government and follow their national guidance as planning moves forward.

We've also been thinking about how we might come together virtually as a community the week we would have been together in Marrakech. To this end, we are planning two webinars connecting the current COVID-19 situation to some of our Summit themes. 

Please save the dates:

Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 – 8:45 am EDT

Thursday, April 2, 7:30 – 8:45 am EDT

We'll send out additional information on these shortly and will record the sessions for those of you who can't join in at these times.

Thank you once again for your understanding, your support and for being part of this amazing SBCC community. We look forward to seeing all of you in Marrakech in October!