What We Do
Our vision is a just and equal society for all women
Our mission is to support the empowerment of and advocate for women who experience disadvantage and marginalisation, and to promote social justice, women’s human rights and equality bringing about positive and sustainable changes to women’s lives and society.
NCCWN does this by using community development and feminist approaches, with an emphasis on policy informed by the direct experiences of women, and challenging structures, attitudes and behaviours that marginalise women. NCCWN has a strong focus on advocating for women to bring about positive and sustainable changes to women’s lives and society
Approach and principles
The NCCWN works from two core approaches – a feminist approach and a community development approach both of which are intrinsically linked. These approaches underpin all aspects of NCCWNs work and organisational structure.
The following values are at the core of NCCWN work:
- Feminism – the NCCWN is a feminist organisation that sees women as equal to men and promotes actions and strategies to realise this
- Gender Equality – NCCWN plays a key role in challenging gender inequality (particularly through its local structures) and monitoring the impact of policies, actions and programmes on women and seeking change when required
- Collective analysis, collective action and collective outcomes – The NCCWN was formed on the basis that working together secures better outcomes for women as a group rather than individuals
- Equality, human rights, anti-discrimination and recognition of diversity – supporting and promoting the human rights of women and challenging discrimination, especially under the nine grounds incorporated in Irish equality legislation – gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community
- Participation – We work to promote the equal and meaningful participation of women in the decision-making structures and processes that affect their lives
- Social Justice – We work to promote the equal distribution of power and resources in society and to challenge unequal power relationships and the unequal distribution of resources that lead to poverty, social exclusion and inequality
- Women’s empowerment – NCCWN works in a way that supports women to take leadership and make decisions on issues affecting them
- Community Education – working from the grassroots up, combining an adult education approach with community development principles
- Social Inclusion – working in an inclusive way with an anti-poverty focus
- Solidarity – recognising women’s experiences are not all shared and that some women encounter greater barriers and difficulties than others. The NCCWN is committed to recognising those diverse experiences and taking action to overcome the challenges that face the most marginalised women.
NCCWN seeks to promote the principles of community work in our activities, processes and policies and recognise community development as “A developmental activity comprised of both a task and a process. The task is social change to achieve equality, social justice and human rights, and the process is the application of principles of participation, empowerment and collective decision making in a structured and co-ordinated way”.
The experience of the NCCWN projects is that investing in women’s empowerment and community development has lasting impacts on the social and economic fabric of society, in sustaining and building community cohesion and inclusion, and the achievement of equality at a societal level. Working from a feminist perspective and social inclusion ethos, equality is consistent as the central goal of the NCCWN in recognition that women’s inequality is further compounded for disadvantaged women.
Community education has, and continues to be, one of the core tools used in women’s community development and has its roots in working class women’s activism to respond to women’s inequality and oppression. It has continued to be at the heart of the NCCWN’s activities and of the work of our local women’s projects.
NCCWN work involves the delivery of a Department of Justice and Equality funded Women’s Equality & Development Programme aimed at enhancing the social inclusion of women in communities and promoting equality for women. Under this Scheme, each of the 17 NCCWN women’s projects continues to provide a focal point for local women, women’s groups and activities. The four strategic priorities which form the basis of this work are: Engagement; Participation; Equality and Policy; Organisational Development and Sustainability.
The projects continue to be sustained by significant voluntary activity, through a local advisory committee for each project and up to three staff members. The NCCWN addresses a wide diversity of issues impacting on the most marginalised women and their families. Our work provides support for women living in poverty and disadvantage, older women, lone parents, women from the Traveller community, minority ethnic and migrant women, disabled women, lesbian and bisexual women, women living in rural areas and women experiencing domestic violence. The focus of the NCCWN is on facilitating women’s empowerments and capacity building to support them to reach their full potential and contribute to benefitting their lives and the lives of their families and local communities.
The services we provide include childcare centres, drop-in/information centres and affordable accessible counselling. Our main activities include:
- Community development, community education and community building
- Pre-development and training support to provide a pathway to education and training
- Awareness-raising on gender-based violence
- Promoting women’s equality, community leadership and empowerment
- Promoting and supporting women’s health and well-being
- Awareness-raising on disadvantaged women’s gender equality and human rights
- Facilitating access to local services and supports
- Networking and representation of women at local, regional, national and international levels.