Amplifying SDG 5 (Gender Equality) in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough

Photo provided by KWIC (From left to right: Ella (placement student), Bethan (Administration Coordinator) and Sarah (Program and Outreach Coordinator and Amplifying Gender Equality in Nogojiwanong | Peterborough Project Coordinator, at an outreach event on campus, Fall 2023).

The Amplifying Gender Equality Project 2023, led by the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), is a collaborative and community led initiative to advance and localize Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) Gender Equality. The project, spanning over a year, is supported and funded by various organizations, including the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, Community Foundations of Canada, the Equality Fund, and the Government of Canada. 

The project has a two-part approach, and initially began with Community Conversations in collaboration with five local organizations, focusing on diverse topics such as Indigenous Voices, Equal Leadership, Equal Pay and Opportunities, Unpaid Care and Domestic Work, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Gender-Based Violence. In its second phase, the project transitioned to Community Workshops and Outreach activities, engaging the wider community in important and relevant gender equality topics that matter the most to them.

KWIC has a deep commitment to raising awareness of the SDGs, and has a long history working with the local community on the SDGs. In the last 5- 7 years, KWIC has aligned much of its work to the SDGs framework. In 2019, KWIC’s Advancing the SDGs in Nogojiwanong | Peterborough and the Kawarthas Project focused on engaging the local community on several priority SDGs while bringing Indigenous Leadership to the forefront. The recent Amplifying Gender Equality Project builds on KWIC’s previous work on the SDGs. The project focused on accessibility and inclusion, offering food and providing honorarium to participants for sharing their invaluable time and knowledge.  Another crucial aspect of this project is the emphasis on providing safe spaces for community conversations. The project facilitated intergenerational dialogues, providing a platform for individuals to open up and share their lived experiences. As a result, participants expressed their gratitude on how important it is to have spaces for women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks to gather and share their experiences as a group.

KWIC’s Community Engagement and SDG 5 (Gender Equality)

Photo provided by KWIC (KWIC Team during  community conversation, Spring 2023).

The community engagement aspect of the Amplifying Gender Equality Project has been substantial, with over 40 participants joining in the Community Conversations and 156 participants in workshops and outreach activities. By adopting the participatory learning approach, KWIC shared relevant information about the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, ensuring participants left with a good understanding of SDG 5 (Gender Equality). The project also emphasized the connection between global and local experiences of gender equality, centering Indigenous perspectives, and highlighting success stories both locally and globally.

“Community Conversations require trust, trusting the process of where the conversations will go. I know that I as a facilitator have gone into a Community Conversation thinking that it will lead in one direction but participants have something completely different in mind for what we should spend our time chatting about.”

-Sam Rockbrune (She/her), Executive Director of KWIC 

KWIC’s focus on community involvement also extends to partnerships with 15 local organizations through their participation in the Project Steering Team, community conversation partners, and workshop hosts. This collaborative effort aims to bridge the gap between global goals and local experiences, showcasing the interconnectedness of gender equality issues. 

“Global to local is at the heart of KWIC’s work. First, bringing the SDGs to our local community is part of how we are making those connections. Through both parts of our project, we tie in global examples of gender equality, including specific examples related to the topics, such as Kakenya Centre for Excellence, in the remote Maasai villages of Enoosaen, Kenya that supports girls finishing their education and preventing FGM. For this example, we tied it back to sexual and reproductive health recognizing how vast of a topic it can be.”

-Sam Rockbrune (She/her), Executive Director of KWIC 

What’s Next for the KWIC?

KWIC’s efforts toward the SDGs cover a wide range of different activities, events and programming, including supporting youth climate activists through local rallies, launching the Stump Stories project in response to the May 2022 Derecho storm, and offering summer student positions. In essence, KWIC’s been actively involved in various SDG-related initiatives, and its commitment to this work remains ongoing.

While KWIC and many other Peterborough organizations have done considerable work to raise awareness, localize and advance the SDGs, through the Amplifying Gender Equality Project and others, a general lack of awareness of the SDGs still remains. KWIC has been actively involved in various projects and events to strengthen its social impact and SDG work and hope to do the same in the future. This includes continued collaboration with various partners and contributors, including the Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC), PARN, and Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, and many others, all aimed to advance the SDGs.  

These relationships help KWIC see diverse perspectives, connect with community members, and offer essential support in navigating complex issues related to SDG 5 (Gender Equality).

On March 8th, KWIC, in collaboration with KSAC and with the support of many local organizations, is hosting their annual International Women’s Day, which brings together the community to celebrate the strength and resilience of women. 

“Relationships are at the heart of the work we do. We could not do this work, especially the GE Project 2023 without our many community partners. Our partners and contributors brought new ideas and ensured communities weren’t being missed via our steering committee, connected us with many of our Community Conversation and workshop participants by opening up their networks, and ensured we aren’t missing vital information for how best to connect with the many communities we worked with.”

-Sam Rockbrune (She/her), Executive Director of KWIC 

KWIC’s work exemplifies the power of engaging the local community, creating partnerships, and enabling persistent efforts to advance the SDGs, particularly SDG 5 (Gender Equality). This contributes to both the local and global SDG agenda, while also drawing inspiration from and recognizing the resilience of individuals, groups and organizations within the community. 

A big thank you to Sam Rockbrune and everyone at KWIC for collaborating on this story.