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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.