The Routes to Solidarity project goal is to create a stronger black and minority ethnic (BME) women's sector, with increased strategic and influencing power, particularly in the North of England.
Routes to Solidarity supports BME women and their organisations to:
- Increase knowledge of their rights
- Exercise greater leadership
- Build confidence and the capacity to work together and to influence decisions
- Secure and develop links to help influence policymakers
The three-year project, ending in March 2012, is funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government and offers a unique opportunity for ethnic minority women and their organisations to collectively share their experiences, and to act on their needs and issues.
A second phase of the project is currently being planned. We are looking at ways to support our project partners in this tougher economic climate. This will include supporting plans for social enterprises, in order to become more sustainable.
The Routes to Solidarity project has also included work to support a community cohesion strategy that is pro-poor and anti-racism and improves and sustains ethnic minority services and communities. The project is currently the main strand of Oxfam's UK race equality programme.
We have already supported over 200 BME women, and over 70 BME women-led organisations to improve their knowledge and understanding of their rights, and to exercise greater leadership in economic, social and political spaces. As a result they will have a greater impact on the power relations around them - on both household and community levels.
This is achieved by working directly with the participants through training programmes, mentoring, and organising policy seminars, but also by supporting the women to develop networks and forums. We are also developing partnership projects with participants and their organisations. We hope to continue to provide support and mentoring to participants who seek a longer-term partnership with Oxfam and who want to inform and influence decisions that impact on the women's work and their service users, locally, regionally and nationally.
To find out more about the impact of the project, see the Routes to Solidarity project summary.
Developing relationships with policymakers
Participants are given support in building relationships with policymakers, via face-to-face meetings, as well as through producing policy papers and responding to government consultations, highlighting how to benefit BME communities. During the course of the project we will have introduced participants to over 60 policymakers at different levels. The results of this project will be used to develop best practice case studies, and as a basis for further lobbying activities.
To get involved - as an individual or as part of an organisation - in the campaigns run by our Routes to Solidarity partners or to receive support to champion BME women's issues and needs in the public arena, see our Resources, Campaigns & Support list. You can also find out more about the project, BME women empowerment and community cohesion in the same document.