Based on the findings of our pilot project, we designed the Women’s Groups Project to continue engagement with our AIR communities in Kent. One of the strongest requests coming out of the focus groups was that the women deeply want an opportunity to continue to gather and organize together. Mother Africa is now facilitating this by offering two follow-up women’s group meetings for each of the 7 communities we connected with through the pilot project. This project meets the needs addressed above by offering infrastructure and support to our communities, allowing us to continue to address the barriers to access that we have identified. These barriers include, among others, the need for childcare at any meeting so the women are able to leave home for events, and transportation funding to get to and from the location.
We strongly believe in utilizing evidence-based approaches. Based on our findings from the pilot project, we have identified that each of our communities prioritize different needs. Our goal in this Women’s Group Project is to partner with each of the 7 communities to meet two times to identify key issues that pertain to their group, and then develop a seed project in partnership with Mother Africa to address this key need. This approach allows each community to focus on the priority that most specifically interests them, with support and program planning technical assistance from Mother Africa.
Based on our initial findings, some potential themes identified could include (but not limited to) accessing healthcare- a training session on the new Affordable Care Act, information sharing on job search tips and tricks, or a conversation around how to formally organize the women into a registered community organization. We have secured seed funding of $500 for each of the 7 groups to help them launch their targeted project, through funding from the Seattle Foundation and UW Evans School Giving Project.[/retinaiconbox]
There are two key outcomes projected for the Women’s Groups Project:
- Build on our momentum from the pilot project to continue to engage African communities through women’s groups. These two follow-up meetings will offer infrastructure to our populations, allowing them to focus on their most pressing issues with formal support. As needed, we will bring in speakers to offer information on specific topics, allow for information sharing amongst group members, and create a space for social support amongst the women, all of which were priorities identified in our pilot project.
- Through continued meetings and organizing, African refugee and immigrant women in Kent will develop a collective voice to advocate for themselves, which Mother Africa will then promote and continue to advocate for within the greater Kent community.