Women's Integrated Network, WIN, Athy, was founded in
January, 2007 by Frances Soney-Ituen after nearly one year
of needs analysis mapping. WIN, Athy was launched to the
public during the 1st Celebrating Diversity in Athy, on 22nd
From then to date, WIN, Athy has recorded significant
successes in bridge building for positive integration.
It is our hope that we will continue on this path to positive
integration for the common good.
Below is the speech on WIN, Athy on the occasion of the public
launch, 22nd March, 2007.
ABOUT WOMEN’S INTEGRATED NETWORK (WIN)
My name is Soney-Ituen (I.F) Frances. I stand on behalf of
WIN, to give a flavour of what WIN is about and to solicit your
support for growth and excellence. However, before I continue,
may I thank Salome Mbugua Henry, Founder AkiDwA,
African Women’s Network Ireland and Phyllida Clarke,
CDP, Athy Project worker. These two people believed in me
and gave me the opportunity to bring forth this network, WIN.
Incidentally KAY and UNA who have been running with the
projection of WIN to the local community, media and general public from the onset are today unavoidably unavailable but called to confirm everything is still in motion.
Our thanks also go to CDP, Athy, Kildare County Council,
Kildare Community Partnership, RAPID and Anne Brennan,
Regional Co-ordinator Integrating Ireland for funding this event
and or for their support.
The Seventies saw the emergence of Women’s Movement in
Ireland and its attendant achievement towards the emancipation
of Irish Women and by all intents and purposes, the
‘New Irish Women’.
The Movement has metamorphosed into the present day
national umbrella organization called National Women Council
of Ireland (NWCI). NWCI champions in a coordinating way
the many issues facing women in present day Ireland and
adopts different strategies one of which is to encourage
the formation of local women’s networks/groups.
This local networks/groups, cater for the immediate issues/
concerns arising thereof and bring forth issues/concerns
requiring national attention to networks like NWCI, AkiDwA
etc and also highlight issues to local community, local services
etc. These groups provide good platform for networking.
Women's Integrated Network (WIN),
Women’s Integrated Network (WIN) got its name from the
vision statement of the network.
Literally speaking, WIN came into existence 30th January 2007.
This was possible because issues surrounding integration in Athy
and Co-Kildare were identified as great obstacles to the
development of full potential of both the Irish and the new
communities who have made these places home. In discussing
these issues, we were convinced that if women agreed to work
together, great in-roads will be made towards integration. We
therefore needed to create a level playing platform to encourage
shared ownership and allow for collective effort towards positive integration for common good. To this end, WIN was established and is officially launched today.
May I reiterate that when women work together, we could geometrically propel integration through availing of each other’s company, acquiring new skills/sharpening already acquired skills, collectively tackling issues and lobbying local and national politicians for better policies on integration.
This unity of purpose will foster growth, encourage integration,
empower all to strive to attain their full potential and allow for
sustainable development. We will in addition gain in knowledge,
prosper together, build relationships and achieve greater heights.
Together everyone achieves more (Team) and we are all winners
(Tá muid go léir buaiteoirí)
Furthermore, WIN is a forum where all women in Athy and
environs will work together and in unison with other relevant
networks to achieve identified and agreed goals for the common
WIN will encourage individual and collective development
through quality information, training, skills & knowledge acquisition, potential development, networking, social inclusion and human right issues from a gender perspective as these are vital components for positive integration in Athy, Co-Kildare and Ireland as a whole.
A well informed woman is a well integrated woman
Our vision is to develop a positively integrated community where
all citizens are equal, respected, appreciated, celebrated and
empowered to attain their full potential for the common good.
Every organization needs adequate funding to start off, execute
its projects, achieve its goals, establish and excel. We will therefore need funding on an ongoing basis from Athy Town Council, Kildare County Council, Kildare Community Partnership, public funds and philanthropies.
We will also work towards internal support by organizing
paid trainings for external participants, soliciting sponsorships for mapped out projects, round table Quiz, cake sales, mini marathon etc.
Some issues/concerns currently identified include:
A] Reception of new communities by the long established local
B] Integration into the local community by the new Communities
resulting to the NEW ATHY
C] Collaboration by citizens/inhabitants and participation of
women from ethnic minorities in the ‘new Athy’
D] Employment opportunities for women in the ‘new Athy’
E] Positively managing diversity by harnessing potentials within
and outside the ‘new Athy’
F] Childcare for women in training/volunteers
G] Social life for the ‘new Athy’
I] Training and re-training
We propose to address these issues/concerns by:
1] Hosting monthly meetings in the first instance and thereafter
quarterly and Annual General Meetings (AGM).
2] Raising awareness through road shows on Cultural Diversity
plus experiences of ethnic minority women.
3] Organizing workshops, conferences, trainings/courses on
integration, diversity and other relevant topics on an ongoing basis.
4] Information and training on issues, rights, entitlements etc
5] Engaging in arts and crafts sessions to acquire new skills and
6] Vigorously lobby for employment slots to be allocated to
7] Liaise with funders & Government to ensure annual funding is
set aside for the network to facilitate delivery of projects and
realization of dreams/aspirations
8] Organize family day or week with the aim of getting families
together and further encourage integration and BridgeBuilding
9] Networking with other relevant groups to ensure synergy
10] Continuously seek out improved and better ways of delivering agreed goals
11] Carry out periodic activity and financial audits to ensure compliance, compatibility and relevance
12] Develop a one stop shop for Information/Drop-In-Service coordinated by a Co-ordinator/Manager, Administration / Reception, Membership supervisor and Finance staff.
The ISSUES AND SUGGESTED APPROACH TOWARDS ADDRESSING THESE ARE neither cast in stone nor exhaustive and so will be regularly reviewed and updated.
We shall endeavour to create and adopt workable ground rules
for all meetings such as reaching agreements by consensus, time
keeping, collective effort to achieve agreed goals etc. These
and others make up our constitution. We hope that acceptance
will confer a sense of responsibility and so ensure compliance.
May I use this opportunity to call on all women to sign up as
members (individual or group membership). Please may I also
use this opportunity to appeal for donations. We would like to
say that EVERY DONATION IS APPRECIATED because
DROPLETS OF WATER MAKE AN OCEAN. If you would
like the MC to announce your contribution, please write your
name and amount and put it in the box now being placed on
May I share this saying from my Dad, Francis, with you
‘TRAIN UP A GIRL CHILD AND YOU TRAIN A NATION, IGNORE THIS AND YOU MAY REAP DOOM’
Finally, WIN is still at the developmental stage and all hands need
to be on deck to ensure it is a success. Please consider the words in dark print below as food for thought:.....
I Need To Ensure Group Rules(+Rights+Responsibilities+Regulations) Are Totally
Once more, thanks for your contribution and or time. Please
enjoy the rest of the program.
Frances Soney-Ituen (WIN) 22.03.07