Iqaluit’s YWCA Agvvik plans leadership program for young Inuit women
“Many women in Iqaluit have goals, but some of them don’t have the means to get there"
The YWCA Agvvik in Iqaluit has received money to help create leadership opportunities for young Inuit women in Iqaluit.
The federal government announced earlier this week that it would give $199,993 to a project addressing the challenges that these young women under the age of 24 face in becoming leaders.
“The YWCA is an organization with a role to empower women, and that’s exactly what this program will do,” Suny Jacob, executive director of the YMCA Agvvik, told Nunatsiaq News.
The YWCA Agvvik Nunavut offers services to women across the Baffin region, including a women’s emergency shelter and a homeless shelter in Iqaluit.
“We realized that this kind of program was extremely needed,” Jacob said. “Many women in Iqaluit have goals, but some of them don’t have the means to get there.”
During the 24-month-long project, Agvvik will partner young women with mentors to identify barriers to their participation in civic, political and community life.
The project will work with young women from three age groups: 10 to 12 years old, 13 to 18 years old and 19 to 24 years old.
Participants will also take leadership training, present their findings to community members and lead their own projects.
“Suppose someone wants to be an entrepreneur — we’ll help them achieve that goal,” Jacobs said. “If someone wants to get into politics, that’s where we’ll encourage her.”
The leadership program already has a coordinator, who will organize information sessions around Iqaluit next month (dates yet to be announced).
Jacob said the federal money should allow 15 girls from each age category to take part.
“Our government is committed to supporting and strengthening leadership skills of young women and girls living in northern communities,” said Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, on behalf of Status of Women Canada, in a Sept. 17 release. “Strong leaders are a key to economic development and it benefits not just the local communities, but Canadian society as a whole.”
The new project is being funded under Status of Women Canada’s “setting the stage for girls and young women to succeed” program.
The money was announced the same day that Canada’s justice minister, Peter MacKay, visited Iqaluit to get a Nunavut perspective for the government’s planned victims bill of rights.