Refugee and Immigrant Women for Change
WISE was proud to participate in RIWC and the creation of the RIWC Gender Equity Toolkit.
Who We Are
We have come together across multiple ethnic identities to leverage our strengths and build a movement for social change that addresses systemic issues facing all refugee and immigrant women and girls. We believe strongly that attitudes and institutions can and must change in order for all our communities to thrive. As a coalition, we seek to advance gender equity through leadership development and community organizing for civic engagement. In addition to WISE, the members of the coalition are CAPI, African Health Action Corps, SEWA AIFW, Centro, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota, and Liberian Women's Initiative.
What We Do
Our goal is to build the capacity and leadership of the RIWC organizations to plan, design, and implement programs to achieve gender equality for refugee and immigrant women with everyone enjoying equal access and opportunities, including delayed early marriage, reduced domestic violence, improved access to health care and life-skills training, increased opportunities to continue school, and income generating opportunities. CAPI’s Impact & Innovation manager will lead, coordinate, and manage all efforts for the RIWC employing these approaches:
• Voiced-based community engagement, leadership development, and organizing to build gender equality advocates.
• Public education & awareness to build community support and momentum for change.
• Prevention & response to add immigrant and refugee women’s perspective to policies and issues that affect our communities.
• Action learning to improve service delivery and refine programs strategies that promote gender-responsive accountability.
Build the capacity and leadership of the RIWC organizations to plan, design, and implement programs to achieve gender equality for refugee and immigrant women.
Refugee and immigrant women and our communities thrive in a gender equitable world where they have:
1) Violence-Free homes and communities
2) Access to education, health care and life-skills training
3) Economic independence and vitality
Goals & Strategies
GOAL 1: Review and assess the refugee/immigrant context related to gender equality and women’s empowerment to identify gaps of knowledge and cultural rooted barriers.
1. Conduct an in-depth analysis, using culturally appropriate methodologies and involving all key stakeholders, men and women, of the ways in which gender inequality is perpetuated, including the influence of gender relations, roles, status, inequalities and discrimination in access to and control of resources in each respective refugee & immigrant community of the RIWC.
2. All data gathered is sex-disaggregated.
3. Critical capacity gaps are identified in the area of the promotion of gender equality for each community and organization.
GOAL 2: Organize community workshops to raise public awareness on the status, conditions, and rights of refugee and immigrant women.
1. Foster a bottom-up dialogue on the importance of gender equality by providing safe spaces to men and women in the communities to openly discuss issues and to identify solutions for them to build acceptance for change.
2. Provide counseling, coaching, mentoring opportunities to raise awareness on rights and responsibilities to men & women and boys & girls as they relate to gender equity.
3. Provide peer-learning spaces with other refugee & immigrant women, outside of their ethnic groups, to encourage learning experiences as well as a social support for the empowerment process.
4. Create and support refugee & immigrant women support groups.
GOAL 3: Build and develop the human capital of staff, participants, and partners to incorporate gender and cultural issues to enable women to realize basic rights.
1. Provide capacity and leadership training development to the RIWC to develop knowledge and understanding of gender issues and gender analysis for all staff to incorporate into their programs and services.
2. Create learning spaces within organizations to incorporate values, principles, and approaches to promote gender equity in their work, including dialogues on the effects of gender inequalities as the root causes of program issues.
3. Cultivate leadership at all levels of the organizations, using the gender lens to analyze every day decision making, to promote gender equity.