COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES
Raising Awareness in Broader Community
- Program name:
Community Wellness Program
Equay-wuk Women's Group
Sioux Lookout, Ontario
- Target Group:
Everyone (in North-western First Nations communities).
- Contact Name:
Darlene Angeconeb, Project Coordinator
The Community Wellness Program has been in place since 1994. The Equay-wuk Women's Group was formed in 1989 by women from the north working in Sioux Lookout (hospital, school, tribal councils). When it began, most communities were fly-in; most are road accessible now. The organization was started because of a lack of services for women in the north. The organization began with a sewing circle to talk about family violence. The women would invite police and nurses to talk to them about safety. Over time, Equay-wuk women opened a shelter in Sioux Lookout.
- Goals & Objectives:
To provide culturally appropriate support services, resources, information and workshops with regard to the problem of family violence, to Aboriginal men, women, youth and families.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
This is a workshop based program that has a strong cultural component. Elders provide cultural teachings and direct traditional activities such as sweat-lodges, medicine picking and drumming. Some exercises during workshops involve a collection of natural items (i.e. moss) and its traditional uses are incorporated into the workshops. Traditional uses of foods are sometimes discussed.
- Components of program:
The program seeks to promote wellness to aid in overcoming the challenge of family violence in the community. It also strives to provide educational materials to clients and helps to establish culturally appropriate support services in the community to assist everyone.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided on site at the participating Aboriginal communities.
Funding is received from the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
Feedback is provided in the workshops that are completed. Usually, whenever a workshop is run, an evaluation is completed.
Sioux Lookout Area Management Board (partnership). Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (funds ECE programs, secondary, post-secondary schools); Shooniya-Wabitoong Area Management Board (partnership); Wawatay Native Communications Society – promoting programs; Nodin Counselling (resources and counselling).
- Other relationships:
The program also works with various First Nations; seeking out community contacts to set up and or run workshops.
Details of Program Evaluation
No evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured against attendance either meeting or exceeding expectations, receiving funding for projects, and client and board member evaluations of programs.
Successfully continuing operations without core funding. Women have become leaders and role models as a result of the program. Politically, one accomplishment was to get women's voices represented at the regional level of government. In 2002, council Chiefs agreed to have two women at the table representing the eastern and western communities. In 2004, the NAN Women's Council was created and is still in operation. Now women have a voice and have eight representatives.
Obtaining funding. This is a charitable organization but due to nature of work and lack of resources there is no time to fund raise. There is also difficulty in providing cultural teachings in a mainly non-traditional community.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. If a program is able to offer an Early Childhood Education program, where students stay in their own community and get training in their own communities and hand in assignments, this would be a positive replication.
Training allowances for staff wishing to be a part of the program would be beneficial.
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