Ten Ways AAFSW Can Help You Help Your Overseas Post Community
As an independent non-profit and peer-to-peer network, AAFSW has a lot to offer Community Liaison Office coordinators (CLOs) to help support and advise employees and family members at post. Here are some suggested ways to make good use of our networks and services!
1) Help get the word out that AAFSW exists. Have you heard someone say “There ought to be an independent organization for family members”? Tell them there is one—with a long history of achievement, such as advocating for the creation of the Family Liaison Office—and that we need their ideas and energy.
2) Make sure foreign-born spouses at post know about our Foreign-Born Spouses Group, both on Facebook and in-person in the Washington, DC area. The group provides valuable peer-to-peer support, especially during the often-challenging transition to Washington. (AAFSW membership is encouraged but not required.)
3) Refer Eligible Family Members (EFMs) who work independently to our online EFM Business Owners Group, EFM Business Directory and Real Business Owner Reports. A strong and extensive network will help everyone build strong businesses! (Please also encourage people at post to use the EFM Business Directory and “Shop EFM”!)
4) Refer people to our social media groups for members, including Global Connection on Facebook and the Livelines e-mail listserv at Yahoo Groups. Livelines is especially active as a housing marketplace—well worth the $40 AAFSW membership for those looking for housing during a transfer to the DC area or renting out their home.
5) Keep in mind that we are part of the advocacy system for EFMs, which includes the Family Liaison Office (FLO) inside the government, and AAFSW outside the government. Let us know about any concerns and how we can help!
6) For those transitioning to DC, remind them about our broad range of social, cultural and informational events which bring the Foreign Service community together in the DC area (sort of like a DC CLO!). They can check our website at aafsw.org to see what’s coming up, and subscribe to our Facebook page or RSS feed to receive updates.
8) Include our useful books aimed at the Foreign Service, Realities of Foreign Service Life (Vols 1 and 2), and The Foreign Service Companion: Moving Your Household Without Losing Your Mind in your CLO library at post. If you don’t have them, contact us at email@example.com to request a copy donated by one of our members. You can download a PDF flyer with information about all of our publications here to include in your post newsletter.
9) Take advantage of the financial and personal preparedness articles on our website to help the EFMs at your post avoid problems in case of emergency (evacuation, serious illness, separation). You might reprint an article or use it to help create a workshop or webinar. We’d be happy to help with that; contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10) AAFSW provides volunteer peer-to-peer support to people in crisis (medevac, post evacuation, marital separation) in the Washington DC area, by giving rides, lending winter clothing and baby equipment, getting people involved in social events, etc. Of course, for crises at post, especially evacuations, it is important that CLOs send their clients to FLO’s Crisis Management and Support team (FLOAskSupportServices@state.gov) so that affected employees and family members get the information they need to navigate the system, and FLO can coordinate specific requests with AAFSW.