Networking/Policy Development

The mission of the Waterford Women's Centre is to be a positive force in effecting change in the lives of women in Waterford City and County. The Centre will meet this challenge by developing structures and networks and influencing policies at local, regional and national level

Capacity-building of groups takes place at a number of levels. The first enables women to participate in the development and management of the Centre. The second enables women's voices to be heard in local, regional and national fora in order to bring about social change. Progression onto further community activism is enabled through women being supported to take on representation roles at local, regional and national level in the areas of policy that affect them: childcare, health, education & training, domestic violence, community development and lone parenting

Creative approaches to highlighting issues were used, for example, the community arts approach used in the design and performance of 'The Barriers' drama that was originally designed to highlight community education has now been adapted to express issues around domestic violence and the status problems experienced by women refugees and asylum-seekers. It has been performed at the request of a number of national and local organisations; it was performed by members of the Tramore Women's Group and the Time for Me group to launch the sixteen days of actions on violence against women in Dungarvan County Waterford , for the National Women's Council "In from the Margins" conference In Dublin - to demonstrate the effects of women's community education and at the Cultural Awards Ceremony in WIT by members of the Cultural Awareness group in order to demonstrate the way community development can be used to combat racism and foster integration and cooperation .

The Policy working group was re-established in 2004 and through consultation with groups in the Centre, identified the need to meet with local politicians. A meeting with local election candidates was organised and the groups were supported to highlight key issues that affect their lives. The groups found this to be a very positive experience because their voices were heard.