Women at the heart of Community Transformation

Date published: 26 April 2018

Nearly 500 women attended a special graduation event tonight, Thursday 26 April, to celebrate successfully completing the first stage of the Women Involved in Community Transformation programme.

The programme which is aimed at increasing the participation and influence of women in community development, was established by the Department for Communities as part of the Executive Action Plan to Tackle Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime.

Over the past six months, the participants, who come from across Northern Ireland, have been taking part in a number of training modules, including Leadership and Mentoring, Women in the Justice System; Women in Peace-building; Citizenship and Personal Development and Health/Well-being as part of the programme and tonight was their opportunity to celebrate their achievements at the special black-tie event at Titanic, Belfast.

Addressing the participants at the event, Ian Snowden, Deputy Secretary for the Department for Communities, said: “This programme is helping women and the communities where they live to develop a vision for positive change.  It helps women develop the skills to work in their communities, enables them to make new connections with community and voluntary groups and supports them to become involved in positive community activity. It also supports the development of influential relationships for women to build participation in our political structures and grow civic leadership from the neighbourhood level upwards.

“The programme has been a great success.  I am certain that the transformational impact we wish to achieve for our communities through the programme will become a reality for all the participants.”

The programme has been delivered in 26 locations across Northern Ireland by the Women’s Intervention Partnership (WIP), a consortium which includes Training for Women Network, Co-operation Ireland, Intercomm and Foyle Women’s Information Network.

Norma Shearer, Chief Executive of The Women’s Network, said: “This programme has been an amazing success with around 500 women from across Northern Ireland completing it.  These women are the future, and in their hands, the future is secure”

The programme is one of 38 commitments within the Executive Action Plan and falls under the theme of “Building Capacity to Support Transition” which recognises the vital role that women can play in helping to move communities away from paramilitarism.

Tonight’s event marks the end of phase one of the programme. Phase two, which starts later this month and will run until March 2019, will consolidate the participants’ learning via five pathways: Social Innovation; Community Leadership programme; Women in Civil Society; Communication and Engagement; Co-design/Bespoke.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photos from the event will be sent directly to news desks.
  2. For more information, please contact Debra Whyte, Communications and Engagement Manager for the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme, on 02890 378674, mobile: 07825 013917 or via email: debra.whyte@justice-ni.x.gsi.gov.uk
  3. Further information on the Executive Action Plan is available 
  4. We are also on Twitter

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