The supportive and sharing roles of sisters key in local pilot project
A relationship between sisters is important is so many ways, but for the facilitators of a recent local pilot project, a sister's role in supporting and sharing with her siblings is what's most important.
And that's why Volunteer Cowichan called its Status of Women Canada-funded undertaking the Thuyt-Shlhune’ (Prepare the Path) Sistering Project.
"We use the term 'sistering' rather than mentoring to highlight the specific nature of the sharing and support involved in relationships between women," the website for the project explains. "Sistering acknowledges the often-unrecognized ways women contribute to community and creates, supports, and facilitates relationships within and between a diversity of community members."
Thuyt-Shlhune’ (Prepare the Path) is a two year project that's currently wrapping up, said VC's Pam Alcorn and which will be showcased along with several Cowichan groups at a local International Women's Day event Friday at the Eagle's Hall.
"In April 2011, Volunteer Cowichan saw the call to create a mentorship program as a pilot project," said Alcorn, noting between now and then, the Sistering Project saw many workshops and gatherings form to start conversations and collect data on women's participation in the leadership of local community organizations.
VC received about $200,000 to facilitate the project.
"There were several aspects to the project," explained Alcorn. "Part of it was fostering individual relationships with women as well as inspiring community conversations."
Several workshops were held on topics including, Guide to Choosing an Organization, Consensus Decision-Making, Communication Skills for Participating on Committees, Advisory Groups, and Boards, Influence on Language in our Interactions, Gender and Politics, and Making Difficult Conversations.
One of the project's successes was matching women new to an organization's board with women who've sat around the table for many years.
"It worked out quite well," Alcorn said, especially in circumstances where long-time board members are looking to retire, having someone available following in their footsteps is a huge bonus, she added.
Alcorn and fellow coordinators are currently preparing a report with data collected from the two-year project and are busy planning an official wrap-up event with project participants March 27.
"There we will be presenting the report with the results as well as talking about next steps," Alcorn said.
Meanwhile, those involved with the Sistering Project have also helped plan Duncan's annual International Women's Day potluck dinner on March 8.
This year's celebration saw Cowichan Spirit of Women partner with the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society, Cowichan Intercultural Society, VC and its Sistering Project.
Doors to the Eagle's Hall open at 5 p.m. and dinner is served at 6 p.m.
For more information on Duncan's IWD event, call Beverly McKeen at 250-746-8686.