Member Spotlight: Women Together Ending Poverty (WTEP)

 
 
 

Women Together Ending Poverty – Associate Member (November 2018)

Interviewer: Jennah Martens-Forrester, CommunityWise

Interviewee: Erin Trout, WTEP

What is the name of your organization?

Women Together Ending Poverty

Can you summarize what your organization’s main objectives are? What are the mission/vision/values that guide your organization?

We are a small, diverse, grassroots group of women who strive to educate and empower ourselves and others to take action on the root causes of poverty. Our values are as follows:

  • We believe that to understand the root causes of poverty we need to need to examine our society from many different perspectives and that women with lived experience of poverty must be included and consulted in making change.
  • We believe in equity, which means we strive for programs such as, but not limited to universal childcare, a living wage for everyone, and affordable housing.

When was your organization founded / How long have you been doing this work?

In early 2008.

How has your organization changed over time?

We have kept working on our analysis of oppression and intersectionality and we are striving to become more inclusive.

What lead to the creation of this organization?

In late 2007 and early 2008, there was a project in Calgary called Poverty Talks. The project held discussion groups throughout the city to discuss issues of poverty. One of those groups was held at the Women’s Centre of Calgary and at the end of that session one of the participants said we shouldn’t end the discussion here, we should form a women’s group because poverty effects women differentially. Women who were interested kept meeting and together formed Women Together Ending Poverty.

What is it like to work with WTEP? What is a typical day for you?

For myself, working with WTEP is extremely inspiring. As a young woman, I feel lucky to work with such an amazing group of women that I can look up to. They have helped me learn about the intersectionality of poverty and have done so in a non-biased way. It is great working with a group of like-minded women who all hold the same goals towards ending social injustices. My day-to-day at the moment for WTEP includes checking and replying to emails for our organization and helping to create a program on meeting facilitation skills.

What are some challenges you encounter working with WTEP?

As members of WTEP, we are all very passionate about our work. With passion comes disagreements when we don’t all have the same opinions. This has been a challenge but we are all very dedicated to working well together so we have now started a program where a few of our members will be learning and then teaching meeting facilitation and consensus model building, as an ongoing process, to the rest of the group.

How has being a member of CommunityWise impacted the work done by your organization?

CommunityWise has provided great meeting space for workshops and for coalitions that we have been a part of. We have also used the space for special events which have allowed us to pull together different groups of people. Over the last few years, the existence of the Anti-Racism Organizational Change Project has really impacted our work and made us more conscious of the need to be more inclusive than we are.

Are there any new projects/initiatives you are working on at the moment?

One of our initiatives is to follow up on the Trans-inclusivity Workshop that we helped to organize in the spring. We are In the process of developing a trans-inclusive lens to help examine our work and organization. Another project we have been a part of is assisting with the formation of the Renters Action Movement and we continue to support RAM and its rent control campaign. We have also be involved in meeting with other organizations to form the Calgary Anti-Oppression Network.

Is your organization hosting any events or campaigns coming up soon that people might be interested in?

We encourage people to contact the Renters Action Movement and find out how they can support the Rent Control Campaign and tenants’ rights. We also encourage people to contact WTEP if they are interested in the Calgary Anti-Oppression Network.

What can the community do to best help support your organization and the work you do?

They can join WTEP, RAM, and/or the Calgary Anti-Oppression Network. They can also donate money or contribute ideas!

Where can people go for more information about your organization?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/womentep

Email: womentep@gmail.com

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