Student Reflections ~ 10th Annual Manitoba CD/CED Gathering

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Manitoba CED Network is a branch of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network that believes in communities directing their economic and social development future in a sustainable manner. Their main objective is to strengthen communities by bringing people together to build and create opportunities for growth. CED annual gathering is an annual event which draws a wide section of participants ranging from policy makers, students, community organizations and advocates for economic development. The 2012 annual gathering held in Winnipeg titled Community Economies: Enough, For All, Forever featured Raj Patel as the keynote speaker. Raj is an award-winning writer, activist and academician whose interest is on global food system, poverty eradication in developing countries and the world economic system.


Gender Equality and Community Development

Presenters: Jennifer DeGroot and Lorie English

This session was facilitated by Jennifer DeGroot and Lorie English from the UN Platform for Action Committee (UNPAC). The UNPAC established in Canada in 1995 after the Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing, China. Their objective is to work through community organizations advocating a strong voice for women’s equality. The session’s main theme was to understand if gender equality can be achieved within the working milieu and within communities. The discussion focused on decision and equality in workplaces. To understand if gender equality exist in work places, participants were divided into subgroups to determine the following information related to their workplace: are women or men the decision makers; salaries between both genders; job security; ratio of men and women who are permanent and part time; and number of hours put in by both genders.

The conclusion was men are the decision makers in most organizations as well as CEOs, and permanent workers. The greatest quest is to advocate for equality between both genders irrespective of race. However, gender equality has been an ongoing fight which embodies a lot of component when assessing equality between both genders. Nevertheless, the question remains unanswered; can gender equality be achieve in a global economic system. ~ Fobete Dingha

Presenter: Heather Block United Way

The United Way of Winnipeg has been developing a project based upon a mixed method. This project is designed to inform Winnipeggers about the demographic data that represents their community while also telling the story of the people behind the numbers. They’ve developed A site that is interactive and attractive that showcases the plight and success of some Winnipeggers while at the same time providing a large quantity of raw data from multiple sources. This data can be organized into charts and graphs on the site to facilitate decision making. The site has multiple entry points, is beautifully designed and provides a new way to visualize old problems. ~ Matthew Grills


Workshop: Women Changing Lives

Presenter: Sharon McIlraith

The following report is a consolidation of my feedback and learning in the theme of empowerment generated in the workshop of “Women Changing Lives” The lessons learned and discussed could be adopted universally.

“Women Changing Lives” workshop aimed to build leadership of women in communities through interactive session. It used the knowledge and experience of women in the room to enhance self-advocacy, leadership, and their employability skills. Hence, empowering them to plan for and achieve increased economic security for themselves, their families and communities.

The theme of empowerment was emphasized first and foremost by identifying the global problems and injustices impacting women, their families and communities. Women’s inequality, inequity and poverty are among the barriers to economic security and sustainable livelihoods for women around the world, Canada inclusive.

This session had an exercise where participants were instructed to produce multiple sets of economic security cards. Each set of cards/ one card per idea. The ideas included:

  • Secure housing
  • Adequate income
  • Good job
  • Strong community
  • Savings
  • Emergency funds
  • Support network
  • Dignity
  • Assured standard of living
  • Resources to participate fully in my community
  • Social inclusion
  • Stable income
  • Financial literacy
  • Freedom from violence
  • Family support order
  • Sustainable livelihood
  • Adequate public/community services
  • Enough to buy healthy food

The groups of participants were asked to choose the three cards that best represent economic security to them or the three cards that are most important to them when thinking about economic security.
~ Immaculate Nabisere


Hey Ho, Let’s Go To St. Malo, for Social Inclusion- o!

Presenter: Lesley Gaudry, St Malo Chamber of Commerce and Gina Sylvestre, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Winnipeg.

Gina reported the findings of a study that was carried out by the Institute of Urban Studies on community transportation. Focusing on the issue of social exclusion in rural areas in Manitoba; the findings stated that transportation options are fewer or not available in some parts of the province and that disadvantaged people (children, disabled, and elderly) are systematically excluded from accessing certain life enhancing services which may not be in their immediate community. Gina explains the actions provincial government has taken to ameliorate the plight of such disadvantaged communities through funding provided by intergovernmental affairs through the Mobility and Disadvantaged Transportation Program (MDTP).

Lesley presented a case study on how St Malo a small community of one thousand people in rural Manitoba approached and solved the problem of social exclusion created by lack of public transportation. The community was able to recognise the need for public mobility but they could not attract the main stream transport companies because of the size of the community. The community uses different community organising strategies to bring people together; they were convinced of the need to unite and carry the disadvantaged along and they all immersed themselves in solving a common problem by providing transport service taking advantage of the province’s MDTP, using handy van as mode of mobility for the disadvantaged.

The core point of this presentation is the issue of social inclusion and exclusion in rural community viewing it from the perspective of transportation. Both of them observed that the lack of available transportation options act as a mechanism that increases disengagement and exclusion of the most disadvantaged in any community, especially in rural areas and the only way to foster or promote social community inclusion is to create a means of mobility for the community. ~ Yakub Adediran


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