Our Current Project Work
We refer to our projects as ‘Programme Action’ and this is the core of Soroptimism, the lifeblood of the organisation.
It is the most important aspect of the organisation and should be the focus of all members.
Our projects are based on our Goals and initiatives fall into five Programme Areas:
Violence and Conflict Resolution
Food Security and Health
Members work through Awareness raising, Advocacy and Action Projects at local, national and international level – all aimed to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls.
Below you will be able to read about the projects being carried out by members of SI Chester.
Elimination of Violence Against Women – Working Locally
- 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner
- Only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care
- Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM)
- 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2012; while only 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances
- 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited
- Violence against women is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.
Soroptimist International is committed to end all form of violence which affects women and girls disproportionately. We believe gender-based violence to be a violation of human rights and that it affects the ability of women and girls to reach their full potential and participate in society.
The work of Chester Women’s Aid (CWA) includes raising awareness of issues surrounding domestic abuse, monitoring the provision of services and supporting the availability of good quality accommodation for women and girls who have experienced such abuse. They also provide grants to families where statutory sources cannot assist.
One of our members acts as a link between the Club and the organisations, and all members support activities which include:
Celebrating International Women’s Day (March 8th) and White Ribbon Day (25th November) when they raise awareness of domestic abuse and promote the involvement of men and boys in condemning such abuse, organised by CWA.
Taking part in Reclaim the Night march, organised by CSASS.
Like many Soroptimists we collect bags with toiletries which we donate to our nearest Women’s Refuge on a regular basis and we attend events put on by these organsiations to support their fundraising.
In 2018 we also worked with CSASS to raise awareness of the charity and their work with a Flash Mob held in the city centre of Chester.
Purple Community Fund
This fund offers a pathway out of poverty to children and families in the Philippines, many of whom try to make a living working on dumpsites and in cemeteries. Programmes managed by the Purple Community Fund (PCF – formerly the Philippine Community Fund) aim to protect the beneficiaries from trafficking, child labour and exploitation. PCF programmes improve the health, welfare and education of children and families as well as offering skills training which enables women to make a living.
Using recycled materials women make a beautiful range of products including handbags and purses made from ring pulls. Our club is helping the project by collecting ring pulls from drink cans and we are encouraging others in our community (Girl Guides and Students) to collect ring pulls for us.
At the Federation Conference in Cardiff (October, 2017) our President and members highlighted the work of PCF during a short presentation under the theme of ‘Violence against Women’ and we were able to make a formal presentation of ring pulls collected during the year to Jane Walker, CEO of the Purple Community Fund.
Working to End Modern Day Slavery
MODERN DAY SLAVERY IS THE:
Exploitation of Human Beings for Profit
Soroptimist International recognises that human trafficking and modern day slavery violates and impairs human rights and fundamental freedoms and continues to pose a serious challenge to humanity.
Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and as members of Soroptimist International we work to:
- Educate women and girls about human trafficking to assist in prevention efforts
- Empower victims/survivors to rebuild their lives, and, where possible, to become advocates working to end all forms of modern day slavery
- Enable increased victim identification in both visible and hidden settings through widespread community awareness campaigns
Members of SI Chester have been active in a number of ways.
- We have sought to educate ourselves by attending seminars and conferences on the subjects of Slavery and Trafficking
- Speakers have attended our Club Meetings
- A group of members have prepared a Power Point Presentation and are now able to offer this to other clubs and organisations within the community.
We have also been active in our community on Anti Slavery Day (18th October) and we support the Soroptimist Purple Teardrop Campaign. Through them we have lobbied our Local Authority to place ‘Help Me’ stickers in the public toilets in Chester, for the benefit of women who may be suffering from abuse and/or have been trafficked.
One of our members represents Soroptimist Clubs in Cheshire on the Cheshire Anti-Slavery Network, which further informs our work.
One of our on-going projects has been to provide funds via a peer-to-peer lending platform called Kiva.org.
We started in 2016 with 50 dollars and made loans to help 2 women in Indonesia improve sanitation for themselves and their families. As these loans have been repaid we have ‘recycled’ the money always focussing on the theme of women and water, and preferring Indonesia as that was where our friendship link, Bunbury WA, were making loans.
Recently the club agreed to add another 50 dollars and we made a loan to a woman in Cambodia to install a water filter in order to supply safe drinking water to her house.
For one week only Pepsi-co have donated matched funding! The loan above attracted a matched amount and we have loaned this to a refugee in the Lebanon (https://www.kiva.org/invitedby/anne6964/for/1848482&utm_source=social_share_link&utm_campaign=social_share_checkout) to help her renovate her accommodation. Can you imagine living without a toilet?
We have invested 100 dollars. We have made 6 loans totalling 150 dollars and we still have a balance of 38 dollars to re-loan!
Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive. More than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need.
It is done by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world. 100% of what is lent via Kiva goes to funding loans.
The club has chosen to focus on female recipients using the loans to improve their sanitation at home, in support of SDG6. Eventually the loans are re-paid and the funds are available for further lending.
Women, Water and Leadership
This project has been chosen as the new SI President’s Project for the 2017 – 2019 biennium. During this period Soroptimists from the four Federations will be united in their efforts to increase awareness of the vital role of women as equal partners at all levels of the water sector. This project is particularly relevant since inclusiveness of women and sustainability are essential components of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
Projects will be supported that educate, empower and enable women and girls to lead in water, and that embrace the UN SDG’s and the targets set out in SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation), SDG 4 (Education) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality).
The aim is to raise £350,000 over the two years and SI Chester members will be considering how we can contribute to this project.