Pathways to Prosperity – A Community Response to Poverty

The 2014 curriculum workshop “Building & Using Evidence for Social Justice” will work with a case study from Women’s Network PEI on women and poverty in Prince Edward Island.

Women’s Network PEI (WNPEI) is a social justice organization whose mandate is to increase the status of women on PEI. In 2010, WNPEI began Trade HERizons, a project to provide career exploration and college prep for women interested in exploring trades and technology careers. Trade HERizons was built upon a model of supporting women to transition from poverty to a sustainable livelihood using non-traditional trade’s occupations as the vehicle.

Working directly with women living in poverty, WNPEI staff saw the daily struggles they face to simply survive and try to make ends meet. We were inspired by their dedication to making positive changes in their lives in the face of incredible barriers. We also saw that, with support, women could and did change their lives for the better. In two years of Trade HERizons, we saw a 68% reduction in attachment to Income Support for program participants. Many women went on to study at Holland College and get good paying jobs in trades and technology occupations.

Many times over the past four years, we’ve supported women as they’ve faced lots of the challenges identified in this report. We also heard from other women who want to make positive changes in their lives, but don’t necessarily want to be welders or carpenters. So when we were able to apply for project funding to develop and implement a Community Response to Poverty, we jumped at the chance to broaden the scope of our Trade HERizons work.

The Paths to Prosperity project started in March 2012 with funding from Status of Women Canada. The goal of this project is to develop a community response to poverty on PEI by involving community members to find and implement solutions.

 Intrigued by this case study? Register now for the “Building & Using Evidence for Social Justice” workshop at ASI 2014!