IWS Today: Moving Forward

IWS Today: Moving Forward

IWS remains a grassroots women’s organization that is committed to the empowerment and advancement of newcomer, immigrant and refugee women and their families. Notably, our Organization has evolved over the years in the effort to respond more effectively to the changing needs of the diverse groups of clients who access our services. We appreciate the fact that the Settlement/Integration Sector is a dynamic sector and so we have, as a matter of organizational culture and practice, committed to being dynamic, flexible, proactive and also responsive, by adopting such principles as: collaboration, coordination and cooperation vis-à-vis client services, community stakeholder engagement, relationship building with funders, inter-cultural connections and inter-sectoral networking.

We understand the significance of partnerships in achieving effective client outcomes and so having our clients at the centre of our strategic goals and implementation strategies helps to keep us aligned with the overall mandate of the Organization. Furthermore, we have continued to conduct focus group meetings for the purposes of needs assessment and community engagements. Our annual Board Retreat ensures that our Board of Directors has the opportunity to enhance its knowledge of policy, governance and programming measures that strengthen our position as the voice of newcomer/ immigrant/refugee women in Saskatoon and area. Our Organizational capacity building initiatives including strategic planning and visioning processes have enabled our staff, clients and the general membership to actively participate and contribute to the dialogue. We have also enhanced our networking strategy to include the use of social media tools for a broader engagement of the Saskatoon citizenry.

We know that even as we strive to enhance the settlement experiences and the integration efforts of many new Canadians choosing to make Saskatoon their new home, without a Buy-in from their neighbours from the non-immigrant communities, the progress would be slow and the impact would be less than effective for the clients. Hence, we have committed to working with members of the Aboriginal community, either independently or in collaborative partnership with our sister agencies under the SAISIA Umbrella to further this goal.

Finally, we have taken practical steps to implement one of the critical decisions that we made in 2005 when we decided to expand our mandate to include serving women and their families. In so doing, we have introduced programs that are geared toward supporting the unique needs of men; we also actively seek the perspective of young and adult men in dialogues on issues of domestic violence because we believe that many of them could be agents of positive change vis -à-vis the epidemic of intimate partner violence; we have also introduced empowerment summer programs for our children and young people as leaders of tomorrow. All these efforts are geared toward positioning IWS as a strong advocate and champion for the women and the families that we serve.

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