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”Creating Safer Communities for Marginalized Women and Everyone”
was a project funded by Status of Women Canada and implemented by
Women in Cities International (WICI) over a three-year period (2007 –
2010). The project was implemented locally in four Canadian cities by
community-based organizations. Each organization worked with a target
group: Aboriginal women, elderly women, women with disabilities, and
immigrant and visible minority women. This project aimed to build
partnerships between local organizations working with groups of women
whose views are often marginalized and their municipalities. Partnerships
were formed through the joint implementation of safety approaches to
create communities that are more considerate of and responsive to the
needs of women and girls.
Women in each of the cities took part in a 14-hour intensive training
session led by an expert consultant on the development and execution
of women’s safety audits (WSA). As the various phases of the WSA were
implemented, WICI provided more targeted training to the groups on
such topics as organizing press conferences, building local partnerships,
and presenting their recommendations.
The four groups then implemented three women’s safety audits walks in
their respective cities and worked to raise awareness about the project
and about the use of safety approaches for women-led community
improvements. Specific complementary activities included the organiza -
tion of workshops with women, press conferences, meetings with local
stakeholders, poster campaigns, and community forums. The groups were
also given the opportunity to meet with one another at least once a year.
The peer learning allowed the women to exchange ideas and to be
inspired by the experiences of the others. This was particularly important
when discussing the challenges the various groups have faced and how
they had worked to overcome them. Knowing that the project is pan-
Canadian and that they are not alone always helped to reinvigorate the
process and instill a sense of resolve among participants.