Dr amanda wise & dr jan ali commonwealth of Australia 2008

Initiative Title: Southampton Women’s Network

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Initiative Title: Southampton Women’s Network

Organised by: Southampton City Council

Contact Details: Lepsa Stojkovic, Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, Southampton SO147LY
Ph: 023 80223855
Email: lepsa.stojkovic@southampton.gov.uk

Funded by: Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) grant through the Government Office South East.

Time Period of Initiative: Established in December 2006; nine different events with a range of different activities took place between December 2006 and the end of March 2007.

Number of participants involved: In total, more than 900 women

Target Group: Women from various communities within the Council region.

Project Description: The Southampton Women’s Network project brings together women’s groups from different backgrounds to increase understanding between communities, increase capacity, and address shared concerns. The group first met in December 2006 to deliver a series of activities leading up to celebrating International Women’s Day in March 2007. Over 900 women took part in these activities and more events are planned for 2007/8.

Following two consultation exercises with women from new and established Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, Southampton City Council found that women in the inner city wanted to promote dialogue between different communities; develop projects to promote education, health, and safety awareness; and gain resources to develop their own projects; and gain a greater understanding of services available.

Some of the activities organised included:

  • Two Safety Awareness sessions were held with seventy women attending (50% from a BME background).

  • A Cookery Exchange Programme brought participants together to teach one another how to cook their own national or family dish. Six sessions were held and participants came from English, Persian, Somali, Afghani, German, Spanish, Polish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and African-Caribbean backgrounds.

  • An Inspirational Women / Diversity social event was held where women from different communities said which women influenced their lives the most.

  • A Women’s Health and Well-Being Day was held at a local sports centre where over ninety women attended. Agency stalls providing information on health awareness, breastfeeding, CV writing, and setting up your own business. There were also free taster sessions in wall climbing, yoga, aerobics, and hip-hop lessons. The most popular stand offered full body health checks.

  • A Women’s Rights and Issues Day was attended by forty women. Stallholders offered information on employment, support to victims of sexual crimes, domestic violence, children’s rights, counselling and therapy, housing issues, and sports development.

  • International Women’s Day celebrations were launched at the Civic Centre with a series of activities including poetry reading, Chinese and Afghani dancing, drumming, gallery tours and Persian Calligraphy workshops.

Successes and Challenges: Wide range of activities attracted tremendous response from women from diverse backgrounds. The contact and rapport developing between women from white, established BME, and new communities is the most valuable result from the celebrations and forum meetings, and will underlie future work.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: Primarily via attendance sheets and feedback forms. Also via anecdotal evidence from participants’ comments.

Initiative Title: The Islam Project

Organised by: Active Voice

Contact Details: 2601, Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Ph: (415) 553-2841
Email: info@activevoice.net

Funded by: Carnegie Corporation of New York, The James Irvine Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and the Hasan Family Foundation.

Time Period of Initiative: Ongoing campaign since 2002.

Number of participants involved: Hundreds of participants across ten cities in the US.

Target Group: Non-Muslim teenagers and adults in educational and corporate and organisations.

Project Description: The Islam Project is a multimedia effort aimed at schools, communities, and individuals who want a clearer understanding of this institution: complex, diverse, historically and spiritually rich, and—to many—mysterious and even forbidding. The project comprises two PBS documentaries, a vibrant community engagement campaign, and an ambitious educational effort.

The project involves a national community engagement campaign to raise public awareness, build community bridges, support dialogue, offer educational resources, and explore workplace issues as they relate to Muslims. The Islam Project is partnering with interfaith and other community-based organisations to focus attention on issues facing Muslims in America and throughout the world. The campaign includes a range of tools— both video and print—for use by community organisations, educators, civil rights leaders, policymakers, journalists, employers, and those in the general public who want to learn more about Muslims and Islam.

Communities in ten cities—Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Wichita, Kansas—have launched campaigns based on the tools of the Islam Project. These campaigns are flexible, educational, and strategic; designed to allow communities to tailor their efforts to their particular concerns.

Successes and Challenges: The project has helped raise public awareness in promoting understanding and knowledge of Islam, helping decrease prejudice and discrimination; built bridges in creating new alliances between Muslim and non-Muslim groups, as well as supported dialogue and offered new educational resources about Islam.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: Feedback from participant surveys indicated substantial support for the project.

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