Making Voices Count works with city decision makers to create a city for all. It is driven by residents, the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres, City for All Women Initiative, and community partners. Making Voices Count builds on the momentum of the previous Making Votes Count project.
The Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa (CHRC) is a network of multi-service, community-based health and resource centres, which recognizes the importance of responding to the diversity of needs within local communities and pays particular attention to those members of the community who are most vulnerable and at risk.
CAWI (City for All Women Initiative) is a unique collaborative of women from diverse communities, organizations, and academia working with municipal decision makers to create a more inclusive city and promote gender equality.
HERE IS WHAT WE ARE DOING
- Municipal Elections - Five neighbourhood teams of women leaders were formed in its first year, expanding to ten in the second. These teams are supported by Community Developers of local CHRCs and receive training to become Civic Engagement Ambassadors. They:
- Identified barriers to voting and four civic engagement strategies to address them. See Making Votes Count Report, March 2014.
- Facilitated Making Votes Count Cafés to raise awareness of voting.
- Partnered with community organizations to implement civic engagement strategies within their communities.
- Civic Engagement Ambassadors engage their neighbours and friends in the elections with support from community health and resource centres in their area.
- On-going civic engagement - Now that the new City Council is formed, residents are bringing their concerns to their City Councillor.
- Federal Election - Many inspired and engaged residents are now taking their learning from the municipal election to the federal election, including raising issues with candidates, talking with neighbours, supporting a candidate of their choice, and planning creative ways to get people to vote.
- The status quo is changing - Candidates are discovering that listening to people from low-income communities informs their campaign and helps them to be better elected leaders.