|Research Report for "Literacy for Women on the Streets"||Capilano College – November 2003|
There were definitely some discussions that required broader input from women before we felt comfortable making a WAG decision. We developed a method of collaborative decision-making by recording the discussion on flipcharts and letting people know exactly when we would make the final decision. For example, when we wrote a Learners-Talking-to-Learners Grant, we brainstormed ideas for two weeks (six evenings), then researched ideas for three more weeks (obtaining information about costs, and other critical details) before making the final selection about the activities we wanted to pursue and writing the grant. This permitted more women a chance to be part of the process and we ended up making decisions with much more information. Once a decision was made, we all tried to respect it and move on to the next step.
Although the establishment of the WAG was part of the WISH Board's strategic plan, implementing a process to collect, review and respond to women's input had its ups and downs. We all worked to improve the flow of information back and forth. At one point, women at the WAG refused to comment on an issue until they had heard back from the Board on their other suggestions. This has resulted in the minutes being emailed to all Board members, the WISH newsletter being handed out at all Board meetings and the Executive Director responding in person with the Board's response to WAG suggestions. Women had found their voice; they wanted to make sure it was being heard.
The initiatives women chose to develop provided many opportunities for women to affirm their skills or learn new ones. The following three examples provide a description of how skill development was woven into action.
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