What We Do
Our vision is an Ireland where women in all our diversity are flourishing.
Our mission is to support grassroots women through collective and practical actions to achieve their full human rights and true equality.
Women’s Collective Ireland supports grassroots women through women’s community development locally and nationally.
Women’s Collective Ireland’s work on the ground is central and fundamental. It shapes all our collective actions. The national work derives from and advances the work of our community development projects supporting grassroots women’s empowerment.
The Women’s Collective 17 local Projects are best placed to identify and respond to the specific needs of grassroots women in their communities and each of them have developed a unique programme of work with women.
Our work continues to evolve in response to the needs identified by grassroots women.
We work to make real connections in order to ensure voice and visibility of grassroots women.
OUR GUIDING VALUES
Our values guide our work. When we speak or act, we are:
We actively reach out to, include and develop relationships with the diverse women in our communities.
We are feminist in our thinking and in our actions.
We seek to be supportive of and are energised by the women we meet and work with.
We create spaces for women to get together safely, be themselves, learn, share experiences, have their say and get involved.
Our words and deeds are grounded in the lives and experiences of the grassroots women we meet and work with.
ABOUT CHANGING THE WORLD
We actively listen and hear women’s voices supporting transformation. We speak out about the barriers to women’s equality and participation, and campaign for positive change.
APPROACH AND PRINCIPLES
Women’s Collective Ireland works from two core approaches – a feminist approach and a community development approach both of which are intrinsically linked. These approaches underpin all aspects of WCI’s work.
The services we provide include childcare centres, drop-in/information centres and affordable accessible counselling. Our main activities include:
- Community development, community education and community building
- Pre-development and training support to provide a pathway to education and training
- Awareness-raising on gender-based violence
- Promoting women’s equality, community leadership and empowerment
- Promoting and supporting women’s health and well-being
- Awareness-raising on disadvantaged women’s gender equality and human rights
- Facilitating access to local services and supports
- Networking and representation of women at local, regional, national and international levels.
WCI seeks to promote the principles of community work in our activities, processes and policies and recognise community development as “A developmental activity comprised of both a task and a process. The task is social change to achieve equality, social justice and human rights, and the process is the application of principles of participation, empowerment and collective decision making in a structured and co-ordinated way”.
The experience of the WCI projects is that investing in women’s empowerment and community development has lasting impacts on the social and economic fabric of society, in sustaining and building community cohesion and inclusion, and the achievement of equality at a societal level. Working from a feminist perspective and social inclusion ethos, equality is consistent as the central goal of the WCI in recognition that women’s inequality is further compounded for disadvantaged women.
Community education has, and continues to be, one of the core tools used in women’s community development and has its roots in working class women’s activism to respond to women’s inequality and oppression. It has continued to be at the heart of the WCI’s activities and of the work of our local women’s projects.
WCI work involves the delivery of a Department of Justice and Equality funded Women’s Equality & Development Programme aimed at enhancing the social inclusion of women in communities and promoting equality for women. Under this Scheme, each of the 17 WCI women’s projects continues to provide a focal point for local women, women’s groups and activities. The four strategic priorities which form the basis of this work are: Engagement; Participation; Equality and Policy; Organisational Development and Sustainability.
The projects continue to be sustained by significant voluntary activity, through a local advisory committee for each project and up to three staff members. The WCI addresses a wide diversity of issues impacting on the most marginalised women and their families. Our work provides support for women living in poverty and disadvantage, older women, lone parents, women from the Traveller community, minority ethnic and migrant women, disabled women, lesbian and bisexual women, women living in rural areas and women experiencing domestic violence. The focus of the WCI is on facilitating women’s empowerments and capacity building to support them to reach their full potential and contribute to benefitting their lives and the lives of their families and local communities.